Melbourne: Indians have become the largest source of permanent migrants who chose to make Australia their home, comprising over 15 per cent of the intake under the country's migration programme this year.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, who is also Citizenship minister, released new official data which showed Indians taking the top spot.

Indian migrants comprised a total of 29,018 places or 15.7 per cent of the total migration programme of 185,000 places under the 2011-12 permanent migration programme.

"For some time, India has been a source of increasing numbers of new migrants to our country and it is now our largest source of permanent migrants," Bowen said in an official statement.

"The Indian community has made a valuable contribution to economic, social and cultural life in Australia, and I know this will continue with more Indians choosing to make their home here," he said.

China and the United Kingdom were Australia's second and third largest sources of permanent migrants, with 25,509 and 25,274 places respectively.

Seven of the top 10 source countries in Australia's 2011-12 migration programme are from Asia: India, China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.

The family stream had a final outcome of 58,604 places, representing 31.7 per cent of the total migration programme.

"The family stream is an essential component of our migration programme, as it allows Australians to unite with their loved ones, particularly with their partners and children," Bowen said.

"I am pleased that the government will help even more families to reunite under this programme next year, as I increased family places from 58,600 to 60,185 in this year's Budget," he said.

Skilled migration accounted for over two-thirds of Australia's total migration programme, with a 2011-12 skill stream outcome of 125 755 places.


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