Taiwan-born people were first counted separately in the Australian census
in 1976, and continued to be counted, despite the disputed issue of Taiwan’s sovereignty.
In 1976, the Taiwan-born community in Victoria numbered only 83, but increased rapidly over next 15 years, driven by changing conditions in Taiwan. During the 1980s, increasing wages, a soaring Taiwanese dollar and loosening political controls prompted more Taiwanese to both travel and seek international investment opportunities. Economic and Business Migration Programs during the late 1980s and early 1990s encouraged Taiwanese to migrate to Australia.
Within Victoria, the Taiwan-born population rose six-fold in ten years, from 595 in 1986 to 3,559 in 1996. By 2006, 4,814 Taiwan-born people lived in Victoria.
Today, more than half of the Taiwan-born community are aged under 30, reflecting the significance of family and student migration. A high percentage of individuals hold bachelor degrees. Over half of those employed work in professional positions, particularly within the financial, insurance and business sectors; a quarter more work in clerical, sales and service positions. A relatively high proportion of this community is not in the workforce, as many are supported by overseas business investments, savings and or income from real estate. Others receive support from family members who have returned to Taiwan for work.
The majority of Taiwan-born people in Victoria live in the local government areas of Boroondara, Manningham, Monash, Melbourne and Whitehorse. Almost 40% of the community are Buddhist; 19% are Christian. These religious communities provide vital support to the growing Taiwanese community.