Almost 30,000 people who were married or engaged to Australians settled here last year, says an Immigration Department report.

This was 80 per cent of the total family migrant intake.

A further 10,000 permanent visas were granted to applicants already living here with their partners.

By comparison, only 4118 parents and 2083 dependent children arrived from overseas to join family in Australia, according to the report, Settler Arrivals 2007-08.

The size of the spouse intake is huge when it is noted that the total number of marriages held in Australia each year is just over 100,000.

The biggest source country for spouses and fiances is Britain, with 4121 arriving in 2007-08.

Next is China (3652), then India (3278) and the Philippines (1476).