Immigration is a constantly changing field. It is sometimes controversial and intimately linked to the politics of Australia and its relationship with the world. For example, recently the Department of Immigration and Citizenship undertook a survey of new Family and Skill stream migrants from 2009 to 2011. The surveys collected data on newly-arrived family and skilled migrants, and their experiences in the Australian labour market, issues regarding housing satisfaction and affordability, and their access to and use of community and government services.
Over this period there were nine separate surveys involving five different cohorts of migrants. For each cohort of migrants two surveys were conducted – a baseline survey and a follow-up survey six months later (except for cohort 5 for which only a baseline was conducted).
The information collected from these migrants has provided the department and other Commonwealth and State agencies with an evidence base to test whether current policy is meeting its objectives and to fine-tune policy parameters where necessary.
The CSAM is designed to provide timely information on the labour market outcomes of
recent migrants and can give insight into the following:
• how migrants are faring in today’s labour market, their unemployment rates,
participation rates and earnings over time;
• how outcomes change over time and how they compare with the general Australian
• if skilled migrants are working in skilled jobs
• how migrants perform relative to each other, for example, if sponsored migrants
perform better than unsponsored migrants.
The survey also collects information on migrant qualifications and the assessment of these
qualifications. This information can tell us:
• whether migrants are generally satisfied with the assessment process, the areas
where the assessment process is not satisfactory and whether there are any problems
• what skills recent migrants bring with them
• how overseas qualified migrants perform compared to Australian qualified migrants
• the likelihood of migrants working in their nominated occupation
• how many migrants are undertaking further study in Australia.
The ability to communicate in English is an important settlement factor. The CSAM thus
collects information on:
• the association between English proficiency and labour market outcomes
• how English proficiency varies for different migrant categories
• the gap in English proficiency between the Primary Applicant and their spouse.