Building a new life in Australia: The Longitudinal Survey of Humanitarian Migrants

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship is funding and developing a new longitudinal survey of humanitarian migrants to trace the settlement journey from arrival in Australia through to eligibility for citizenship. The survey will commence in 2013 and is planned to run through to 2017-18.

The survey will recruit and follow a large group of new humanitarian migrants on the course of their settlement journey, checking in on them at different stages along the way. The findings are intended to build the evidence base on the factors that aid successful settlement and lead to improved policies and program delivery.

Initial steps

Since 2010 detailed survey development work has occurred, starting with the Following Migrants Forward workshop held at the ANU in September. The papers presented at that workshop have been compiled and are available on the DIAC website.


In 2011 a Survey Reference Group was established comprising Commonwealth government officials and external stakeholders and experts. The group is chaired by Dr Wendy Southern PSM, Deputy Secretary. The group is meeting at regular intervals during development of the survey and will meet annually thereafter.

A Technical Advisory Group, comprising experts in refugee resettlement and longitudinal survey methods and analysis, is assisting the Survey Reference Group. This group will provide advice and recommendations on technical matters.

Two background papers were also commissioned to guide the survey’s development.

  • Dr Siew-Ean Khoo of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at ANU prepared a paper examining key issues on which the survey should focus.
  • Prof. Matthew Gray, Prof. Adam Graycar and Dr Lucous Nicolou of the Research School of Social Sciences at ANU outlined design options for the survey in their paper.
  • See:

A position paper discussing methodological and technical issues was prepared by DIAC’s Economic Analysis Unit with input from the Survey Reference and Technical Advisory groups.


Current Status

The Australian Institute of Family Studies has been appointed to manage and implement the survey on behalf of the Department. Data collection will be conducted by Colmar Brunton.

It is expected that the first wave of data collection will commence in October 2013 following a pilot survey earlier that year. Future data collection waves will occur approximately annually until 2017.

The fact sheet Building a new life in Australia: Introducing the longitudinal survey of humanitarian migrants gives more information on the development of the survey.


Getting involved

We want this survey to be of the highest possible standard and to be widely used by policy-makers and researchers. To achieve this, we are on the look-out for good ideas from a wide range of sources. If you have an interest in research and a good knowledge of refugee settlement issues, please contact us on the email below.


Updates on the development and progress of the survey and survey results (when available), will be made available on this page.

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