Migration is an essential element in the success of Australia. In an economic sense, young skilled migrants help manage our otherwise ageing population, fill critical skills and labour shortages, and bring new ideas and international connections to help power the frontier elements of our economy. For every 1,000 migrants, there is a $124 million economic dividend each year to Australia. But migration delivers more than just economic benefits, it also enriches our diversity and helps us become a more outward looking nation.
Australia is a multicultural success story, and most Australians largely agree that well managed migration is beneficial to the nation.
At face value, Australia is currently experiencing a large increase in migration. But the numbers presented do not tell the full story. In fact, the migration numbers currently recorded by the nation simply reflect a rebalancing after the pandemic border closures in 2020 and 2021. Australia’s updated population forecasts are below the pre-pandemic forecasts made in 2019; that is, Australia’s population is expected to be smaller than previously forecast irrespective of the current catch-up period of migration. The narrative that there is currently a ‘big Australia’ policy in play is a myth.
If the nation intends to continue to be competitive in attracting global talent, the migration system needs to be reformed. Australia is competing against other countries for the best and brightest; and slow or complex migration systems, which do not provide appropriate levels of certainty for someone looking to uproot their lives to move internationally, puts the nation at a disadvantage.