There were more than 10,000 illegal British and American immigrants in Australia on June 30 2004, about a fifth of all people who overstayed their visas and remained in the country unlawfully.

Another 3,900 Chinese illegal immigrants remained in Australia last year, along with 3,000 Indonesians and 2,800 South Koreans.

Afghans do not rate a mention, while there were less than 200 illegal Iranians in Australia in June.

The new figures on illegal immigration were revealed in a report on immigration trends released by Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone.

The report said that while visitors from the UK and the US have accounted for the highest number of visa over-stayers, they are rated as low risk because the number is small as a percentage of the total number of Britons and Americans entering the country.
Around 15,000 illegal immigrants have been in the country for more than 10 years, however many of the 51,000 unlawful visitors only stayed for a few days after their visa expired.

“Many people who are recorded as over-stayers are simply extending a short stay in Australia by a few days or weeks and leave of their own accord within a short period,” said the report.

Australia’s population reached 20.1 million at the end of June last year.

The population growth in the 12 months to June 2004 was made up of 121,000 so-called natural increases — births less deaths — and 117,600 in net overseas migration.

Most migrants continue to come from the UK, followed by New Zealand.

The brain drain once again affected Australia, with the country losing almost 29,000 skilled workers, most of them young, through permanent emigration last year.

However, more than 44,000 skilled workers settled in Australia.

In total, 59,078 people left Australia permanently in 2003-04, the highest ever number.

The report found a quarter of Australia’s workforce was born overseas, with computer professionals, accountants and managers/administrators the top three occupations of migrants prior to coming to Australia.

Humanitarian visas were granted to 788 people already in Australia last year, down from 897 the previous year.

The report predicted Australia’s population would swell to around 26 million to 27 million by the middle of this century.