By Alexandra Hansen
Indians are now the largest migrant group making Australia their home, according to figures released yesterday by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.
Eclipsing China and Britain in 2011-12 permanent migration from India reached 29,018; 15.7% of the total number of people in Australia's migrant program.
In 2010-11, China was Australia's number one source of permanent migrants with 29,547 visas. The year before was Britain, with 25,738 migrants. Britain had until then held the top spot since current records began.
Director of the Australia India Institute Professor Amitabh Mattoo says that there are a multitude of reasons why so many Indian people call Australia home; including shared values and language, and the fact that Australia is a "fantastic country, with great natural resources, a great work environment, and great infrastructure".
Prof Mattoo says that despite incidents in the past, Australia has always ranked highly within the Indian imagination as a preferred destination for tourism, business, and higher education.
"In our Task Force report we now have new evidence that suggests Australia ranks amongst the top ten [destinations].
"I think the fact that India and Australia have so much in common by way of values and interests; the English language, democracy, federalism, multiculturalism, means that Australia is seen almost as a second home."
He says the relative youth of India means that more and more people are willing to work internationally, and Australia is a preferred country.
"India is among the youngest countries in the world in terms of its demographic profile. You have 500 million young people under the age of 25, while the rest of the world is aging, including China." He also points to the adaptability and accepting nature of Indian people who "accept the universal values which are fundamental to that country, while retaining their 'Indianness' which is not a source of conflict and does not cause offence to other identities".
Ashok Malik, an Emerging Leader Fellow of AII discusses the rise of Indian Migrants in Australia with Sky News.