A deeper dive on Australia’s high migration trends

Who are Australia’s migrants?

In his article in The New Daily, leading demographer Simon Kuestenmacher discussed the likelihood of future Australian governments maintaining our high migration approach.

So, let’s delve deeper into the makeup of these migrants and the implications of our current immigration policy..

Understanding the migration pattern

Let’s look at an average year of migration over the past decade, focusing on visa types rather than origins.

According to Kuestenmacher, while news often highlights net overseas migration, the real story is more nuanced.

Australia typically sees more arrivals than departures, contributing significantly to population growth—about two-thirds, in fact.

The reported average of 215,000 new migrants annually doesn’t fully capture the whole picture.

Typically, 485,000 people arrive in Australia each year, with about 270,000 heading in the opposite direction.

This results in a net growth of 215,000 migrants.

The chart here illustrates this well.

Migrant Arrivals And Departures From 2004 To 2023

Source: The New Daily

Notice the uptick in arrivals post-pandemic, peaking at 737,000 in 2022/23.

This spike, often discussed controversially, was driven primarily by a surge in international education demands.

Kuestenmacher said that there was a notable increase in student visas—118,000 more than pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, a special pandemic-era bridging visa, now discontinued, contributed to about 33,000 extra migrants, predominantly students.

These are temporary residents and will eventually reflect as departures.

So who’s coming to Australia?

Excluding tourists, about 15% of our annual migration intake comprises Australians returning from abroad, and another 6% are New Zealanders.

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