More than 123,000 migrants settled in Australia in 2004-05, one of the highest intakes of the past 20 years and the biggest since the Howard government came to power.
New Immigration Department figures show 123,424 people decided to call Australia home last financial year, the highest number since the 145,316 recorded in 1988-89.
The 2004-05 intake was up by more than 11,000 on the previous year.
Almost 45,000 people, or 36 per cent of the total, settled in New South Wales, and Victoria was the next most popular state with 30,581 migrants.
The Northern Territory attracted the smallest number, with just 592 people settling in the Top End.
Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said the figures showed a steady rise in the migrant intake over the past decade, with arrivals increasing by 40 per cent since 1994-95.
“Australia has a wonderfully rich and diverse society as a result, with nearly one in four of Australia’s 20 million people born overseas,” she said.
“On top of these figures are the growing numbers of people becoming permanent residents after arriving in Australia, such as overseas students who apply for skilled migration onshore.”
A total of 13,235 people arrived on humanitarian visas last year, 5,000 of them refugees—the highest number in a decade.
Skilled migrants accounted for the biggest number—over 53,000—more than double the figure recorded in 1994-95.
The United Kingdom provided the biggest number of migrants in 2004-05, with 18,220 Britons settling in Australia.
More than 25,000 people settled from Europe, including the UK, over 33,000 came from Asia and some 24,000 from Africa and the Middle East.
About 21,000 people settled from the Oceania region, more than 17,000 of them from New Zealand.
Some 2,000 North Americans also settled in Australia last year, and a similar number from South and Central America.