Australia lost 600,000 temporary visa holders in 2020

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.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Unfortunately, a droplet in the ocean… and there is nothing to indicate that post covod passport Aus will not be an immigration black hole sucking and moping up every available immigrant on the Earth

    • Well there are good migrants and bad migrants..

      You can have an intake of educated skilled assimilating migrants that follow our laws & contribute to our society.

      Or as per the topic here – you can have 3 quarters of a million third world unskilled migrants on very long stay semi permanent foreign student faux visas, doing pretext education, who are only here to steal from and degrade our society.

      Unfortunately our border controls and corrupted visa system is set for the later.

      Foreign students are on at least 4 different categories to mask the real number – students, partners, graduate & the DFAT scholarship not shown in the article tanks.

      Here is the correct data for January 2021.

      684,000 foreign students on primary visas by country of origin. (190,000 Chinese communist Hukuo underclass, 115,000 Indians, 52,000 from Nepal..)

      Plus another 65,000 so called partners on secondary partner visas
      So it’s a total of 749,000..
      Three quarters of a million…

      Foreign Students migrant quality.

      The so called ‘Foreign student & partners‘ numbers have not reduced.

      Despite the fact that this intake are dominated by unskilled mature adult third world migrants on faux visas only here to live & work illegally.

      On fake funds.
      Almost all arrive in debt to their foreign agent criminal traffickers.

      Most did not attend classes at all in 2020 – and now as online the fakery & fraud in pretending to attend a nonsense ‘English, business studies, early childhood education’ etc like course is amplified.
      No checks.
      👉🏾Online courses mean the chance to work illegally more than ever before. Over 75% were working illegally in visa & COe breach before the virus imoact. Now the ratio would be much higher.

      And they are NOT an export.
      They are a massive social & economic liability to Australia costing some $35 billion.

      The foreign students & partners enter on falsely self declared or checked funds.

      They only pay a first semester, usually borrowed from the agent trafficker.

      Their documents and health checks (overseas agent Doctor) are invariably false.

      The courses are nonsense – up to 4 years for what is a 14 year old 1 term business studies course with faux certificates or diplomas that have zero industry or international recognition.

      The progression rate for a foreign student to have a professional vocation with a higher than average income in Australia or their home country is only 3.6% (Migrant Pathways A Decade On report)

      That’s right – 96% fail to be anything other than a useless third world unskilled migrant who paid for pretext education so they could work illegally in a western country and repay agent procurer debt & send back remittances. (And hoping to snag a PR in visa churn)

      All their living costs & ongoing fees are paid from money earned in Australia.

      And given they are unskilled, useless, third world & no English – then it’s by working illegally.

      Over 75% work illegally on top of so called limited work rights (Sydney Uni / UTS study)

      🔻Stealing over 600,000 Australian’s jobs.

      That alone costs Australian taxpayers over $19 billion in unemployed Australian Centrelink benefits – 2 x the foreign student so called fees paid (from money earned here anyway) for the fake visa alibi.

      🔻Lowering wages for all other Australians costing tens of billions more.

      🔻Occupying over 120,000 modest ex Australian residential dwellings in migrant run cash in hand bunk slum share.
      While we have 116,000 Australian permanent homeless & 340,000 seeking affordable housing. Costing the Australian taxpayers over $4 billion.

      🔻The foreign students are the epicentre of foreign run criminal activity, black market labor rings, at least 50,000 trafficked in as the stock in trade for the Asian run vice industry, drug cartels, money laundering mules & other such criminal activity.
      Billions more.

      🔻Congestion, filth, squalor, infrastructure and public services overload.
      Billions more.

      🔻And they have destroyed our education.
      Australian Education has fallen 10 places in the global rankings.

      When our Education system was allowed to prostitute itself as a migrant guestworker visa alibi, it stopped being an entitlement for our youth and become unaffordable.
      Costing our society tens of billions more.

      Each and every foreign student allowed in is a liability to our country.

      Some very basic questions here Djenka..

      👉🏾Why aren’t visa COe being enforced?

      👉🏾Why aren’t their funds being checked?

      👉🏾If they are doing online courses.. why do they have to be in Australia?

      • …assimilating migrants that follow our laws & contribute to our society…

        about two weeks ago we had a public holiday celebrating exactly that: NON assimilation of immigrants whom introduced their own law and contributed negatively to exiting society. This custom is old about 233 years now.

        I love your determinism to peddle numbers with fancy little icons and 1000 TL;DR words, it is truly legendary!
        One day they should make a film about your effort…. Mad Mike II – Beyond Numberwang* and featuring original soundtrack “We don’t Need Another Immo” sung by Hauline Panson.

        (* I thought of a better name: “Magic Mike” but it was taken already)

        • Just the facts on the TR & foreign students.
          Calmly and with links as evidence.
          Because the same answers and facts apply.

          Your replies are quite funny – like the mad lady out of Monty Python “I thought we were living in autonomous collective!” (See the link)

          You seriously deny we have a common national law or societal standards? Australia Day isn’t about that anymore hey. Funny.

          And did European conquest and settlement of Australia 233 years ago really impose a negative outcome on Torres Strait Islanders or Aboriginals?
          Compared to say the French, Spanish, Portuguese or Germans, or Japanese. Or if say no immigrants or invasion at all and just the original population preserved.
          How do you think that would have worked out?

          You do realise the ancestors of the Australian aborigine once occupied India, Asia & Indonesia and were conquered & displaced or outbred, with surviving pockets only in Australia (and perhaps Sri Lanka).

          Only raised sea levels prevented the Australia aborigines from that invasion & further conquest until European conquest & settlement.

          Here let the ABC explain it to you.

          “Australia’s Aboriginal culture represents the oldest surviving culture in the world, with the use of stone tool technology and painting with red ochre pigment dating to at least 50,000 years ago.

          Australian aborigines never developed an “iron age”, “bronze age”, or pottery, and the terms “palaeolithic” (old stone age) and “neolithic” (new stone age) are not used in Australia, because stone technology did not progress in Australia the same way as the rest of the world.

          Aboriginal men sharpening stone axes on flat rock. PH 416/43, ABC TV Collection.
          Humankind’s most ancient stone tool technology, the percussion method of chipping away at the edge of a rock to make a sharp edge for cutting, dates back 2.5 million years, and was still practiced by Aborigines until the 1960s and later.
          Many stone choppers and flake scrapers commonly made until the last few decades are similar to these earliest tools.
          These flaked tools are used to shape wooden weapons and implements.
          The manufacture and use of ground edge axes, still occasionally made today, date back over 20,000 years on the northern mainland, and back to 40,000 years in Papua New Guinea, once attached to present day Australia.
          However, on present evidence, it appears that the manufacture of ground edge axes spread slowly south, dating back only 4,500 years in southern Australia, and not being used in Tasmania, which was cut off from the mainland by rising seas about 11,000 years ago.

          A new technology, creating stone blades, was developed about 5,000 to 6,000 years ago and led to the addition of stone spear points, small stone spear barbs, and blade shaped stone knives and scrapers.
          Wandjina(s) are the Ancestral Beings of the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Photo: David M. Welch.

          Modern Man (homo sapiens) began with the arrival of Cro-Magnon man in Europe about 40,000 years ago.

          Based on archaeological finds and genetic studies of mutations of mitochondrial DNA in populations of different people of the world, man evolved in Africa about 190,000 years ago, moved into the Middle East by 120,000 years ago, then into Asia, and on to Australia only 50,000 years ago.

          This was at a time when Neanderthal Man was the dominant hominid in parts of Europe.

          Modern Man moved into Europe 40,000 years ago and into the American continent about 14,000 years ago.

          While other world cultures developed and changed, the earlier generation of Australian aborigines remained r isolated on their island continent.

          Still more isolated were the Tasmanian Australians, left alone from the other Australians 11,000 years ago when the seas rose and created the island of Tasmania in Australia’s south.

          The Aborigines who has once colonised Asia and Indonesia were displaced by later waves of people who have developed into the modern-day Chinese, Indonesian, and the many other cultures of those regions.”

          • It is an interesting argument to say that abos should feel lucky that the genocide on them was not committed by any other power than thee crown. It does have some merit though but makes no higher moral ground.
            Would they be better off without 233 yo immigration that failed to assimilate, became hostile to the host nation and introduced own laws? Before you answer, ask yourself how’d you feel if say Saudis came to Aus tomorrow having more weapons introduced Sharia law, enforced their own culture and started hunting Aussies for sport – but gave everyone free petrol for life?

  2. The Traveling Wilbur

    To lose one temporary-visa holder, Mr Economist, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose 600,000 looks like carelessness.

    • Tyrells did come out and say they didn’t think Australia should be pushed around by China in relation to the trade issues we’ve been having so I’m not surprised to read that type of article about them

  3. Arthur Schopenhauer

    It’s a shame no Australian media are capable of doing a ‘Planet Money’ style story on the economics of farm harvest.

    The entire non-mining sector of the Aussie economy is looking more and more like a giant scam on wage earners. Thanks to Covid for making that clear.

  4. What is a visitor? A tourist? The unis have always been bleating because it was the forward years they knew were stuffed. we’ll have to see the March figures. Still it’s a good point, barely lost any students. Why does the Dept of Education have a website saying they have circa 750,000 students here? I haven’t looked for a while.

  5. Mr SquiggleMEMBER

    To me it looks like the small drop in student visas has been partially picked up by the temporary graduate visa. It looks like we are desperately trying to hold on to them

    All up, 1.8 m visa holders. All of them about to get a free vaccination on the tax payer coin.

    • I suspect many students are staying as they can’t afford a flight home & it’s safer here than in their home countries.

  6. Something doesn’t add up here. If international student numbers have hardly dropped then why are there so many vacant rentals near uni’s.
    In the last 12 months vacancy rates have gone through the roof in these uni suburbs

    Clayton 3.9% – 10 %
    Burwood 8.9%-12.1%
    Hawthorn 3.4%-8.9%
    Melbourne 4.1%-8.7%
    Footscray 2.4%-5.4%
    Caulfield 1.9%-5.3%
    Carlton 4.5%- 8.9%

  7. Great news. The rest of the media would have you believe that all the overseas students have left, when numbers are at record highs. Australians need to be made more aware that they are competing with more and more overseas students for graduate jobs.