Overseas migration

It is little surprise that many are calling for fewer overseas migrants.

This is what happens when over 400,000 people arrive in Australian in one year from overseas.  This is especially the case after a lockdown when the country lost 85,000 residents during 2021.

Chart 1 shows the rise and fall in net overseas migration to Australia from 1864 to 2034.

Some are calling for an annual net intake around 120,000 per annum.  Others want an even lower yearly target.  I think these limits are based on the longer term average, which frankly is never going to fly.  See chart 2.

The Federal government, in their latest budget papers plus their Centre of Population and Intergeneration Report mouthpieces, are forecasting an annual net migration result ranging between 235,000 and 316,000 between fiscal 2024 and 2034.

As shown in chart 2, this decade range, averages about 250,000 people per annum.

Yet, if the trend line between 1995 and 2019 were to continue – Covid impacts aside – we would likely see some 300,000 new migrants settle in Oz each year over the next decade.

Two of the largest diasporas to Australia are from China and India these days.  Also, of note are increasing number of migrants coming from The Middle East and African nations.

Most new migrants settle in, or around, Sydney and Melbourne. There is some spill over in southeast Queensland, Adelaide and Perth.

From a real estate viewpoint, these diasporas buy property and are often repeat housing investors.  Which is good news for some – like sellers and property orientated businesses.  Maybe not so much, at present, for buyers or renters given the current circumstances.

Whilst there is an increasing complaint about increasing traffic; too few dwellings; overcrowding; rising prices; longer queues and so on – many of them upfront and personal – I cannot help but think that there is more than a just a bit of xenophobia at play here too.

We have complained about such things in the past.

It wasn’t that long ago that Americans in Australia (and the UK) during the WW2 were described as ‘overpaid, overdressed, oversexed and over here’.

And maybe the immigration impact on the current housing market isn’t as bad as many are making out.  My table this post shows that most overseas migrants to Australia are on student visas.

The majority of these visa holders undertake tertiary studies in Oz and many live in apartments, some of which are purposed built for them and a lot were left empty during the Covid period as students returned home.

Overseas student’s parents – especially in the case of Asian parentages – frequently own such apartments.

As I mentioned last week there are strong economic and geopolitical reasons why Australia is likely to continue to invite (and attract) a high level of overseas migration.

To many moving here our cities – racial intimidation aside – are bliss when compared to where they have come from.

I believe we are likely to see an overseas net intake between 250,000 and 300,000 per year.  This means Australia is likely to increase by one million people every two and half to three years.

We can hold this intake.  We need to do so.  We also need to spend public monies better.

It’s time to dismiss the ‘bread and circuses’ and start focusing our spend on infrastructure, water supply, food production and security, intelligent energy provision, select manufacturing and relevant technologies.

Moreover, a rigorous discussion about our population shape is needed with the Australian public.

This is needed now before we find ourselves up shit creek via a Brexit like referendum and a similar result.



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