October’s federal budget projected that net overseas migration (NOM) into Australia would turn negative over the next two years, declining by -71,600 in 2020-21 and -21,600 in 2021-22:
If true, this negative NOM would be a stunning turnaround from the prior 15 year’s explosive growth, which saw Australia’s NOM average a whopping 217,000 a year:
Already we are beginning to see these forecasts come to fruition, with annual net permanent and long-term arrivals plummeting to only 93,400 in calendar year 2020, which portends big falls in Australia’s NOM:
New data from the Department of Home Affairs helps to explain why NOM is set to turn negative, with the number of temporary visa holders in Australia declining by around 600,000 in 2020, falling to levels not seen since 2013:
The next table summarises the movements by temporary visa category:
The key drivers of the decline in temporary visa holders were Visitors (-577,323) and Working Holiday Makers (-91,600).
Curiously, the number of Student visas only fell by 30,611 in 2020 and remained the second highest count in Australia’s history. The number of Graduate visas also ballooned to a record 104,629 in 2020 – more than five times the number recorded in 2014.
So, despite the incessant bleating from the education industry, Australia’s international student trade is yet to collapse. The numbers of Student visas on issue remains at extreme levels never seen prior to 2019.