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Australia multicultural country

A new report has found Australia is one of the most multicultural countries in the world, but the skills of many migrants are being wasted.

The report commissioned by AMP shows that most of Australia's migrants come from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and China.

It says Australia is the second most multicultural nation in the world, tied with Switzerland behind table-leader Luxembourg.

The report says skilled migrants account for 62 per cent of arrivals.

Report author Riyana Miranti, of Canberra University, says migrants make up a quarter of Australia's population.

"Compared to the oeCD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) average, which is only 11 per cent, and in comparison to other countries, this is almost double that of the United States and more than twice that of the United Kingdom, " she said.

Dr Miranti says only 8 per cent of migrants are refugees admitted under Australia's humanitarian program.

She says refugees make up only 10 in 10, 000 people living in Australia.

"Other countries take more refugees ... for example, Sweden take 87 refugees per 10, 000 head of population, " she said.

Highly trained

The report says most migrants are highly educated, with their qualifications tending to match or exceed those born in Australia.

But Dr Miranti says 38 per cent of university graduates from non-English speaking countries are working in low- or medium-skilled occupations.

"The most common reasons that they identify is their lack of Australian experience and reference, language difficulties, lack of local contacts and networks and then having skills and qualifications not recognised, " she said.

Dr Miranti says the majority of migrants feel satisfied that they are part of the local community.

Topics: immigration, business-economics-and-finance, community-and-society, work, education, australia

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