Australian immigration rockets back


Recall that Australia’s net overseas migration (NOM) hit its highest ever level in the March quarter, with a record 96,200 net migrants arriving:

Net overseas migration

Highest ever NOM in March quarter.

Now the ABS has released permanent and long-term arrivals data for August, which revealed that annual arrivals have surged to 121,270.

The below chart tracks this series against the official quarterly NOM and suggests that immigration has continued to surge:

Australian net immigration

Australian immigration surging.

The Albanese Government used last month’s Jobs & Skills Summit as a trojan horse to turbo-charge immigration via:

  • Lifting Australia’s permanent non-humanitarian migrant intake by 35,000 to a record high 195,000;
  • Lifting temporary migration to record levels by:
    • Expanding work rights for international students via:
      • Uncapping the number of hours international students can work while studying for another year; and
      • Extending the length of post-study work visas by two years.
    • Committing to clear the ‘backlog’ of “nearly one million” visas awaiting approval.

In turn, Australia is staring down the barrel of record immigration flows next year, which will make Australia’s rental crisis worse and make it impossible to meet Australia’s 43% emissions reduction target.

The major concern is that the planned record immigration will arrive as the economy hits the brakes on the back of the Reserve Bank’s aggressive monetary tightening.

This time next year, concerns around “skills shortages” will likely have vanished, replaced with concerns around low growth and rising unemployment.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.