Albo delivers record temporary visa numbers in Q1


Australia’s population officially grew by a record 660,000 people in the year to September, driven by record net overseas migration of 549,000:

Australian population change

Earlier this month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released net permanent and long-term arrivals numbers for February, which broke records on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.

An historic 105,460 net permanent and long-term arrivals landed in Australia in February, with a record 173,370 also arriving over the quarter:

Quarterly arrivals

In the year to February, there were 1,136,770 permanent and long-term arrivals in Australia, offset by 638,500 departures:

Arrivals versus departures

Newly released data from the Department of Home Affairs shows that there were a record 2,826,042 temporary migrants in Australia at the end of March, or 2,421,526 excluding visitors:

Temporary visas on issue in Australia

The total number of temporary visas in Australia as at March 2024 increased by 366,600 over the year and was up 515,400 from the pre-pandemic peak in 2019:


Excluding visitors, temporary visas rose by 309,400 over the year an were 460,000 higher than the pre-pandemic peak in 2019:


There were a record 671,400 temporary student visas on issue at the end of March 2024, up 58,500 from the 2019 pre-pandemic peak:

There were also a record 199,900 temporary graduate visas on issue at the end of March 2024, more than double the pre-pandemic peak:


This means that one in every 30 people in Australia in March 2024 was on either a student visa or a graduate visa.

There were a record 183,700 temporary working holiday maker visas on issue in March 2024:


There were also a record 325,000 temporary employment visas on issue in March 2024:


The only major temporary visa category where records were not broken was Bridging visas, with 286,300 on issue in March 2024, down from the pandemic peak of 373,100. However, bridging visas numbers appear to be back on the rise:

The December Mid-Year Fiscal and Economic Outlook (MYEFO) projected that Australia’s net overseas migration would fall to 375,000 this financial year.

NOM projection

The most recent arrivals and visa data have clearly destroyed Labor’s projection. Net overseas migration remains stuck at or near record highs.

The incompetent Albanese government, which had previously promised to reduce immigration before the election, purposefully increased immigration into a housing market with limited supply.

Albo immigration lies 1 Albo immigration lies 2

As a result, Australian renters are being driven into deep financial stress, are being forced to live in group housing, or are becoming homeless.

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.