Australia’s net overseas migration continues to underpin very high population growth.

Australia’s population growth continues to gather pace. Before the 2019 Federal election, Scott Morrison made a strong pitch to Australian voters concerned about immigration: “The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full. The schools are taking no more enrolments. I hear what you are saying. I hear you loud and clear.”[1] But was he really listening? Australian has ended with more of the same as net overseas migration and population growth figures continue to shoot upwards with an increase of 388,800 people since 31 March 2018. And the main contributor is NOM (64.2%) than from natural increase (35.8%). In other words net overseas migration increased by 4.9% (249,700 people) for the year ended March 2019.[2]

PM Morrison gets it wrong – it’s foreign students which are behind Australia’s rapid population growth.

The Federal government main action to lower immigration was to cut the permanent migration intake from 190,000 to 160,000 (2019-20).[3] However this did not amount to much of a cut in real numbers compared to the preceding migration program, which only reached 162,400 (2017-18) due to integrity issues with thousands of fraudulent visa applications being refused. And this figure did not make a dent on rising NOM or population growth. Why is this? Most people are concerned with the scale and speed of migration. Clogged roads, house price increases, substituting local workers etc. So reducing or increasing the permanent program is only window dressing. It’s the overall number of migrants that matter. For this, NOM is the best indicator. And, over recent years, the contribution of overseas students to NOM has been much more important than that coming from the permanent migration program.[4] This is not hard to fathom when the numbers are on full view – the permanent migration program has a target of 160,000 visas for 2019-20. Minute in comparison to the foreign student/workers program at 30 June 2019, there were 553,139 student visa holders in Australia. Almost half of these visa holders were from China (22.3 per cent), India (17.1 per cent) and Nepal (10. 2 per cent).[5] But will Mr Morrison ever address the foreign student/workers visa problem. It is only going to get worse the more the Federal Liberal /Coalition dismisses the genuine concerns of Australian people.

[1] Bevan Shields, ‘Enough, Enough, Enough’: Scott Morrison Says He Will Cut Australia’s Migration Intake <> [accessed 21 November 2018].

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘3101.0 – Australian Demographic Statistics, Mar 2019’, 2019 <> [accessed 27 September 2019].

[3] Harriet Spinks and Henry Sherrell, ‘Immigration’, 2019 <> [accessed 3 October 2019].

[4] Bob Birrell, ‘Overseas Students Are Driving Australia’s Net Overseas Migration Tide’, The Australian Population Research Institute, 2019 <> [accessed 8 July 2019].

[5] Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, ‘Student Visa and Temporary Graduate Visa Program Report at 30 June 2019’, 2019 <> [accessed 28 September 2019].

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