Australia has been a different place in recent months. Not only due to the catastrophe caused by the Wuhan coronavirus. But the closure of the international air borders has halted immigration for the time being.

However, Australian migration statistics continues to undergo revision as more accurate accounts of the migration intake are produced. The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) results shows Australia is in the midst of a full-blown Australian Asia Pacific Migration Program (AAPMP).[1]

Australia’s Asian Pacific Region Migration Program.

In the early 1990’s a momentous shift in Australia’s migration policy direction took hold, planned and implemented by both Federal labor and Liberal parties. In retreating from large-scale immigration from the UK and Europe – their goal was to foster ‘greater integration’ and migration with the Asia Pacific Region.[2]

By 2020 the migration vision for Australia is in full turbo mode. In 2018-19, six out of the top ten countries permanent arrivals are from the Asia Pacific Region.[3] A measure of the change in Australian demographics is that for the March quarter 2020 there were over 1 million Asian temporary work visa holders in Australia (nearly 50% of the total temporary visas).[4] There was 628,279 foreign students in Australia (Jan-April 2020), 13 out of the top 15 nationalities are from the Asia Pacific Region.[5]

The latest feature of the ABS migration discloses overseas born people from the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have moved into the No. 10 position. Replacing the number of people born in Scotland residing in Australia.

In terms of transferable skills and standards, Sri Lanka sits well behind Australia in the United Nation’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranked No 71, Australia is ranked No. 6.[6] Scotland is ranked No. 15 demonstrating much higher skill and education levels than Sri Lanka which has a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita at $US 4,067. Scotland’s GNI per capita is $US41,790 which is more than ten times that of Sri Lanka. Australia’s GNI is US$53,250.[7]

Closing Remarks.

In the early 1990’s Australian politicians and bureaucrats planned for a revolution in Australian immigration. Turning away from similar cultures and standards in the UK and Europe in preference for Developing countries in the Asia Pacific Region. Most of these counties have inferior economies, skills training, education and public health standards. In this context, is it still feasible to still call Australia’s migration program “high skilled”?


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘3412.0 – Migration, Australia, 2018-19’ (c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020) <> [accessed 30 June 2020].

[2] Peter Mares, Not Quite Australian: How Temporary Migration Is Changing The Nation (The Text Publishing Company, 22 William Street, Melbourne, Australia, 2016).

[3] Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, ‘2018 –19 Migration Program Report, Program Year to 30 June 2019’, 2019 <> [accessed 29 June 2020].

[4] Australian Government, ‘BP0019 Number of Temporary Visa Holders in Australia Pivot Table | Resources | Data.Gov.Au – Beta’, 2020 <> [accessed 1 July 2020].

[5] Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment, ‘Data Visualisations’, 2020 <> [accessed 3 July 2020].

[6] United Nations, ‘Human Development Index (HDI) | Human Development Reports’, 2020 <> [accessed 1 July 2020].

[7] The World Bank, ‘World Development Indicators | DataBank’, 2020 <> [accessed 12 April 2020].

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