Brazilians in Australia – international students, entrepreneurs and highly qualified immigrants: doors are open for doing business in Australia.

The number of Brazilians in Australia has been increasing considerably in the last 5 to 10 years.

It is estimated that there are approximately 80,000 Brazilians in Australia on student, tourist, work, parent, partner visas plus Australian permanent residents and citizens.

In accordance with the Australian 2016 Census, there are 48,414 Portuguese speakers living in Australia, representing 1.8% of immigration stats that year.

From those, 56.1% of Portuguese speakers were Australian citizens and 48.2% were born in Brazil followed by 24.4% born in Portugal.

Nowadays, it is common for you to go around Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Gold Coast and hear common expressions in Portuguese.

For example, it makes us feel comfortable when we go to a restaurant and a fellow Brazilian comes to assist us.

There are currently approximately 30,000 Brazilians on a student visa in Australia. This is why you see many Brazilians working in the informal economy such as hospitality and cleaning.

Those two sectors have been the entry door for a steady and safe income in Australian currency.

It is a (temporary) win-win situation where the students  (who most may be, nonetheless, highly qualified professionals in Brazil) can improve their English whilst studying to improve their academia and professional experience in Australia.

In addition to those two “traditional” sectors, there is now an increasing number of Brazilians working for the “Gig Economy”.

This is, basically, the contemporary economy where people work as “independent contractors” through online platforms to provide services for on-demand companies such as Uber, Deliveroo, TaskRabbit, Airtasker among others.

Brazil ranked in the 4º position for Students Visas category and the 19º position for Temporary Work (Skilled) (as at 2017/2018 on the  Australian Migration Program – country ranking)

The figures below were extracted from the Australian Department of Education and Training as at year to date, and provide the following breakdown of a number of students by State and Sector:


Breakdown: State
ACT 45
New South Wales 17,081
Northern Territory 26
Queensland 10,168
South Australia 292
Tasmania 30
Victoria 3,483
Western Australia 2,473
Total 33,598
Breakdown: Sector
Higher Education 1,601
VET 15,135
ELICOS 16,405
Schools 229
Others 228
Total 33,598


Further, figures extracted from the  Australian Bureau of Statistics Census of Population
and Housing demonstrate that Brazil is well ranked amongst the countries which have the highest number of nationals currently living in and/or migrating to Australia.

Brazil ranked in the 12º position for the Permanent Migration Employer Sponsored category


The Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Education and Training provide further information in relation to the visa holders which can be divided as follows:


Subclass Brazil
457 Visa 2,656
Students 33,598
Family 620
Visitors 27,742
Total 64,616


As anticipated, Brazilians who live in Australia are highly qualified professionals.

In short, the Brazilian population is well balanced between 50% male and 50% female, ranging between 25 to 35 years old.

Many are highly qualified and experienced professionals in their respective fields who came to Australia to learn or improve their English skills and attempt to obtain further professional experiences and qualifications.

In accordance with a research conducted by Dr Eduardo Picanço Cruz, from Universidade Fluminense in Brazil, “Brazilians are the migrant group with the most university degrees in Australia“.

This is a relevant aspect of many Brazilians students’ profiles.

The students seem to take full advantage of the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) and keep undertaking courses in a progressive and continued manner in order to further qualify their academic and professional capabilities within their chosen profession.

That strategy is well served to match the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) which may allow them to become eligible for a further stay and work and/or a permanent residence visa.

Most importantly, Brazilians have a very entrepreneurial mindset.

It is common to see students while living in Australia, starting a business in their spare time and achieving great levels of success in their ventures.

We are also seeing Brazilian students being able to find work in their professional sectors in Australia such as engineering and architecture as well as entrepreneurs who venture in the IT, food, security, finance, cleaning and many other industries.

Small businesses and family enterprises account for almost 98% of businesses in Australia.

Small business means enterprises with less than 20 employees.

Small businesses account for 35% of Australia’s gross domestic profit and employ 44% of Australia’s workforce. Circa 4.8 million people work for or on small businesses.

Since 2013, the number of small business employees has increased by 197,000 or 4.3 per cent.

Brazilians entrepreneurs have also contributed to this growth.

Hence, if you are a Brazilian business entrepreneur or work for a company in Australia, we always ask that you support your community by connecting a fellow Brazilian professional when an opportunity arises.

You never know where this simple gesture may lead to.

As we all know,  small businesses are the back bone of the economy and there are many Brazilians supporting the local Australian economy.

It is always possible to find great opportunities and services providers while assisting a fellow Brazilian who has just arrived and is seeking to establish and grow an enterprise in Australia.

And while you live through it, don’t forget to really enjoy the journey!

Yours sincerely,

Valmor Morais

Adviser to the AUBRBC Board