The Indian community in Australia has multiplied in the last six years, surpassing Italians and topping the chart of biggest migrant community on fourth rank.
According to 'The Age' report, the country now had more Indians than Italians which had doubled in just six years. Quoting new data, the report said the immigration department estimated in 2007-08 the stock of migrants from India grew more than any other country, even Britain or New Zealand.
It estimated that Indian-born population rose from 110,563 in mid-2002 to 239,295 in mid-2008, overtaking Italians to become fourth-biggest migrant community.
In 2007-08 alone, the number of Indian-born people living in Australia grew by 39,529. Some were skilled migrants while overseas students who also contributed to the figures were hoping to stay on as workers.
Meanwhile, China was the second-biggest source, Chinese-born population growing by 32,563. New Zealand (31,248) dropped to third place, while Britain (17,397) was a distant fourth, as arrivals were offset by the deaths or return of settlers. Indian population would have risen faster still in 2008-09, when the number of Indians in temporary residence here grew by 40,000 or 40 per cent.
But that would have been its peak, with the department estimating that total net migration in 2009-10 would be down by more than 50,000.
In 2008-09, for the seventh year in a row, India was the biggest source of permanent settlers in Victoria. The figures show a net growth of 9004 permanent residents from India, 8034 from China, 5023 from Britain, 4472 from New Zealand and 2569 from Sri Lanka.
The British are still the biggest migrant community, with 1.166 million forming almost 6 per cent of our population and New Zealanders (494,579) were the second-biggest group in mid-2008.
The Italian-born population shrank by 3427, mainly due to the deaths of postwar migrants. Italian immigration dried up in the early 1970s, but the 2006 census found 852,000 Australians claim Italian ancestry.