Australia's stalled migrant boom derails golden economic run
Australia's three decades of uninterrupted prosperity are coming to an abrupt end as the global coronavirus pandemic crashes one of its most lucrative sources of income – immigration.
The country has been successful in managing the outbreak and reopening its A$2 trillion ($1.33 trillion) economy, thanks in part to an early closure of its borders.
But the policy has led to a halt in mass immigration - a key source of consumer demand, labour and growth - in an economy which is facing its first recession since the early 1990s.
Net immigration, including international students and those on skilled worker visas, is expected to fall 85% in the fiscal year to June 2021, curbing demand for everything from cars and property to education and wedding rings.
So critical is migration to Australia that analysts reckon the economy would have slipped into a recession last year without new arrivals to boost population growth.
AMP Capital Chief Economist Shane Oliver estimates that population growth in recent years has boosted the economy by about one percentage point per year.
But as migration stalls, education, housing and tourism sectors are seen among the worst hit.
That has prompted urgent calls for solutions from some businesses and political leaders.
The premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, is lobbying her federal counterparts to allow international students in to rescue universities, which contribute A$13 billion to the economy of the country's most populous state.
Australia's government is also working with New Zealand to establish a "Trans-Tasman bubble" that would re-open the movement of people between the two closely integrated economies.
New Zealand is a large source of labour for Australia, home to about 600,000 kiwi expatriates.
To be sure, Australia still enjoys its "lucky country" status, benefiting from resilient global demand for some commodities and having been able to re-open large parts of the economy sooner than many other advanced economies.
But even though Australia's central bank expects the economy to expand 6% next year after a projected 6% contraction in 2020, analysts and businesses warn a sustained recovery is unlikely without the full resumption of immigration.
6 April 2020
Coronavirus visa decision helps backpackers as farmers receive unprecedented Job applications!
Backpackers fleeing the capital cities for work on the land are reconnecting with former employers in a bid to stay safe and healthy while remaining in Australia to see out their visas.
Many have welcomed the Federal Government's announcement that any who commit to working in critical industries, such as food supply and healthcare, will be able to extend their visas beyond the expected coronavirus peak.
French working visa holders Yoann Tahet and Anthony Martorell and Briton, Alex Butler, worked on a pineapple farm north of Townsville, in north Queensland last picking season and returned after losing their city jobs in hospitality when Australia's restaurants and bars closed.
"Luckily I could still get work," Mr Butler said. Under the Government's new scheme, working holidaymakers, as well as visa holders under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme, can now extend their stay for up to 12 months to work for approved employers, to ensure food security during the coronavirus pandemic.
13 February 2020
The Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) between the Philippines and Australia will Remain
The Status of Visiting Forces Agreement (SOVFA) between the Philippines and Australia will remain untouched since there is no reason to terminate it, Malacañang said Thursday.
“The existing ones will be there because there is no reason to terminate it,” Palace spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Thursday in an interview on ANC when asked if the VFA with Australia will be terminated.
The Philippine-Australia SOVFA was signed in 2007 and ratified in 2012. It also covers the conduct of Australian troops who take part in military exercises in the Philippines.
Panelo’s statement came on the heels of the abrogation of the VFA between the Philippines and the U.S.
Panelo reiterated that the pact was terminated after the U.S. repeatedly meddled with the Philippines’ internal affairs – such as the initiative of several American to push for the release of detained opposition Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration who is facing drug-related charges.
“ For one, the President feels that the U.S. insofar as Senate is concerned, the US Senate, as well as the executive department have assaulted our sovereignty,” Panelo said. He added that this is “not only of disrespect to our judicial system but an assault to our sovereignty.”
6 January 2020
Australian Government Rules Out Visa-Free Travel betweeen Australia and the UK
The Morrison government has baulked at expanding a new post-Brexit trade pact to include visa-free work and travel between Australia and the United Kingdom, arguing any special deal that circumvented existing immigration caps could be deeply unpopular in both countries.
“We're not into full negotiating mode and we will have to see what the UK aspires to, but noting that work rights and movement of people in the UK has been a big part of the European Union debate, I would be surprised if complete liberalisation around migration and labour rights was on their agenda,” Senator Birmingham said during an interview in London.
Australia already has a free movement deal with New Zealand but Senator Birmingham said the Morrison government would not use the Brexit trade talks to propose a similar scheme allowing British citizens to work and live in Australia visa-free, and vice-versa.
A largely foreign concept in Australia, free movement could unleash significant economic and social consequences, including a possible exodus of highly trained workers to the UK and influx of unskilled Brits to Sydney and Melbourne.
While Australians can visit the UK for less than six months without a visa, British tourists need one to enter Australia. Some 636,000 UK nationals were granted tourist, business or temporary work visas last financial year.
Unrestricted European migration was a major factor behind the push for Brexit. The Coalition has also moved to ease fears over congestion and employment in Australia by cutting the permanent migration cap from 190,000 to 160,000 a year.
The UK is Australia’s eighth-largest trading partner, with two-way trade valued at $26.9 billion in 2018. Britain is also the second-largest source of total foreign investment in Australia.
Britain will formally leave the EU on January 31 but the existing economic, customs and migration relationship will remain in place for one more year while the two parties thrash out a new trading and security pact.
2 December 2019
New Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) statistics show migrants’ strong contribution to economy
New statistics released by the ABS today reveal the strong contribution migrants in Australia make to the national economy.
The statistics show that the median employee income of all migrant taxpayers in 2016-17 was $49,438, slightly higher than the median employee income for all Australian taxpayers, which is $49,412.
Skilled migrants had a median employee income of $59,304, well above the median income for all Australians, while humanitarian migrants had a median employee income of $32,792.
FECCA Chairperson Mary Patetsos said the statistics demonstrate how essential migrants are to a healthy economy.
“These statistics released by the ABS today confirm just how strong a contribution migrants make to the Australian economy,” she said.
“The figures also dispel the pervasive myth that migrants are a drain on the economy and government services.
“In fact, the median income for migrants is slightly higher than it is for all Australians, which means that the tax paid by migrants to help fund our hospitals, schools and other services is also likely to be about the same or slightly higher than the median for all Australians.
“These statistics do reveal, however, that migrants in the humanitarian stream need greater levels of support as they transition to the workforce in Australia.
“That improved support should include more flexible English language training and better employment services – both of which were identified in the recently released Shergold Report.
“We look forward to following the implementation of the Government’s response to the Shergold Report with the aim of improving employment and other outcomes for recently arrived migrants.
4 November 2019
Global Talent Programme to Fast-track Highly Skilled Migrants
First announced in August, the Global Talent Independent Program (GTIP) will identify and attract highly skilled people from around the world to come and work in Australia.
Up to 5,000 talented people in the areas of agricultural technology (agtech), financial technology (fintech), medical technology (medtech), cyber security, space and advanced manufacturing, and quantum information/advanced digital/data science and ICT will be sought this financial year.
In formally announcing the visa today, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said three was intense competition for global talent.
“We want to position Australia at the forefront of major growth trends in the world Economy,” he said.
“By enabling local businesses to access the world’s best talent, we will help to grow high growth industries in Australia.”
“Over time, the Global Talent program has the potential to have a transformative impact on the Australian economy.”
The Department of Home Affairs today announced a headhunter had started in New Delhi, India. Others have already been deployed around the world in Washington DC, Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai, Santiago, Berlin.
The scheme will target “the world’s most highly skilled migrants” earning a minimum of $149,000 per year in Australia. They will earn permanent residency within weeks.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said skilled overseas were required “for our domestic tech industry to grow”.
“We can create high-paying local jobs by making Australia a global technology hub and the Global Talent program is a signal to tech companies that we’re open for business.”
15 October 2019
Australia’s Universities face an “escalating crisis”
The Australian university education sector is facing an existential crisis; its reliance on China, for about 30% of crucial international student revenue, is finally turning sour.
Chinese enrolments next year are expected to be down by about 10%, with some institutions facing double that fall. Normally, countries like India, Nepal and Pakistan would be seen as low-hanging fruit to make up any shortfall, but they have quickly emerged as highly problematic markets following reports of “non-genuine” students using loopholes to obtain student visas. Some institutions are now reportedly cracking down on students from India.
People intimately familiar with university enrolment trends say this has reached epidemic proportions. The percentage of students from India being rejected has been rising in recent years and is now more than 20% — more than double the average rate of rejection for all other students. Confirmations of enrolment and offer letters are now regularly being withdrawn or cancelled for students from India, Pakistan and Nepal…
Now the question for Australia’s higher education sector is: what’s next? The most immediate concern is just how far Chinese enrolments will fall…
China will remain the biggest student market for some time to come. But the salad days are over and all but the very top institutions need to move fast to plug the coming revenue hole.
The latest Department of Home Affairs student visa data showed that applications from China declined by 3.3% in the year to June 2019. However, this decline was more than offset by a 34.3% surge in Indian student visa applications and a 19.6% increase in visa applications from Nepal: Altogether, total student visa applications rose by 7.3% in the year to June 2019, hitting a record high 406,000.
The federal government recently labelled India, Nepal and Pakistan “high-risk” nations for international students, which means that applicants now face tighter scrutiny and must demonstrate strong English-language capability, as well as prove they have sufficient funds to support themselves while in Australia.
Already, various universities across Australia have refused to enrol any additional students from India, whereas others have cancelled existing confirmation of enrolments.
Therefore, with Chinese student visa applications already declining, and Indian and Nepalese students now labelled “high-risk” and blacklisted from enrolling in various Australian institutions, international student enrolments are set to unwind abruptly.
18 September 2019
Britain will target freedom of movement deal with Australia
Free movement between Australia and the UK would be explored by the government in “post-Brexit” business talks, Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, has announced.
Yesterday, while on a trip to Australia, Truss told journalists in Canberra that securing a trade deal was an “absolute priority” after Britain left the EU. She believed an arrangement would take months rather than years to complete.
The proposal, which would allow British citizens to live and work in Australia visa-free, and vice-versa, was part of ongoing trade talks, she said.
At a press conference with the Australian trade minister, Simon Birmingham, Truss was asked about a freedom of movement proposal.
She said: “We’ve been clear on the fact we want to adopt the Australian-based points system in terms of our new immigration system as we leave the European union. We’ve recently made an announcement that we’re extending the work period after foreign students come to the UK for two years.
“But of course, our two countries have a special link and a historic relationship, and it’s certainly something that we will be looking at as part of our free-trade negotiations.”
Britain is Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner, and the value of two-way trade is said to be worth up to $26.6bn (£14.60bn).
New changes introduced to NSW Skilled Nomination visa program
The new migration program year kicked in from July 1, 2019, and one of the most sought after Australian state for migration purpose, New South Wales has introduced new changes to their skilled nominated (190) program for 2019-20.
Subclass 190 visa is a permanent residency visa for which one must be nominated by an Australian state or territory government agency.
For New South Wales, applicants for certain occupations will now have to fulfil additional requirements like living and being employed in NSW.
NSW has also introduced a system to show the availability of occupations which will be regularly updated to reflect changes.
‘Demand for nomination by NSW is extremely high. The NSW Government will continue to select and invite top ranking candidates who meet the NSW nomination criteria in occupations on the NSW 190 Priority Skilled Occupation List (NSW 190 List),’ the official state government website said.
‘Some occupations on the NSW 190 Priority Occupation List (NSW 190 List) are now subject to an additional requirement for nomination by NSW.
‘The additional requirement for these occupations is to be living in NSW and to have been employed in NSW for at least one year, in the nominated occupation.
‘These occupations are indicated on the NSW 190 Priority Skilled Occupation List.’
The total inward investment flows from Australia’s Significant Investor Visa program since it was launched in 2012 has now topped $10 billion, according to a new report from Deloitte Access Economics.
The SIV program was initially launched by the Gillard government in 2012 with the goal of bringing more overseas high net-worth individual investors into the country. But experts say the program has delivered much greater value than the $10 billion these visa holders have invested in the local economy.
The report, the Impact of the Significant Investor Visa Program – a long-term proposition for Australia, will be launched in Canberra this week in conjunction with the Australia China Business Council.
The report found that while the Significant Investor Visa program accounts for just 0.1 per cent of all visas issued annually, its positive impacts across business and the economy are far wider.
Nearly 2,100 Significant Investor Visas have been issued since 2012.
Mainland Chinese nationals make up the lion’s share of SIV recipients, making up about 76 per cent of the total visas issued. This percentage is down from about 87 per cent in recent months.
The SIV program, which is considered a premium path to permanent residency, has been running at an annualised rate of about 235 visas per year – or about $1.175 billion in new capital.
Indian Population in Australia Increases 30% in Less Than 2 Years!
The Indian population in Australia has exponentially grown in the last two years according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS’s preliminary estimates suggest there are 592,000 Indians living in Australia as of June 2018. This is a 30 per cent jump compared to Census 2016 figures which recorded 455,389 Indians living in Australia.
India with 592,000 people moved into third place dropping the New Zealand born (568,000) down to the fourth place.
India now accounts for 2.4% of the Australian population and the median age of an Indian migrant is revealed to be 34 years, same as those born in Australia.
India has been Australia’s biggest source of migrants since 2016.
The number of Indian students studying in Australia too ascended to a seven-year high in 2018. According to November 2017 figures, close to 70,000 students were studying in Australian universities and colleges.
New regional visas announced as immigration levels slashed
In order to ease congestion in Australia’s major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, and to distribute the population to regional areas, the Government will introduce regional visas that will require a minimum three years of residence in regional Australia as a necessary condition for their permanent residency. However, there are concerns these measures will make the road to permanent residency more difficult for those already in Australia on temporary visas.
23,000 visa places will be reserved for new skilled regional visas within the 160,000 permanent visas to be issued under Australia’s scaled back migration planning level, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday.
The Government will also encourage international students to take up courses outside Sydney, Melbourne and Southeast Queensland in regional universities. 1000 scholarships of $15,000 each for local and overseas students have been announced as a measure to attract overseas students to the regions. Another incentive being offered to them is an additional year in Australia on a post-study work visa.
Skilled migrants can accelerate their visa applications under new plan
Under the new initiative, skilled migrants in Australia will have their visa applications accelerated if they move to regional Australia. This $19.4 million plan will be used over four years which aims to solve congestion issues and population growth in Australia.
Priority processing will be given to visas sponsored by businesses in regional areas. At the same time, the Department of Home Affairs officials help local businesses in regional areas to employ more skilled workers.
On 29 November, the houses of parliament of Australia has passed the Modern Slavery Bill with reference to “trafficking and/or exploitation of children in orphanages”. The legislation of new law criminalize the act of orphanage trafficking, which is the inducement of children into orphanages as a form of slavery, such action will now be regarded as slavery and trafficking offence.
In accordance to data from Save the Children, in Australia, there are more than half of the univerisities promoting orphanage placements as an overseas volunteering opportunity. The legislation aims to tackle with the issue of children in developing countries being sent to institutions in order to meet demand for volunteering opportunity in the West.
According to the new statistics from Macquarie Bank, there seems to be an increase in the immigration to Australia again.
Refer to the overseas arrivals and departures data for August released by the ABS, there is an increase in the annual pace of net overseas migration in three-month annualised terms, which reach the tail-end levels of previous Australia’s second mining boom in this decade.
Although rates of permanent and long-term movements of overseas arrival and departure are not the most suitable source for understanding immigration statistics, the data has reasonable track statistics related to migration statistics of Australia. The data shows that the acceleration of net overseas migration may represent that there is an improvement in the Australian economy in the past year.
Economic growth rate at 3.4% above and beyond expectation
Australia’s economic growth rate is reported to be at a strong annual rate of 3.4% in the June quarter, which was above and beyond the expectation. Figures show the economy’s growth rate has increased by 0.9% over April, May and June, which was higher than the expected 0.7% in seasonally adjusted terms. The domestic demand has grown by 0.6%, in which domestic demand has contributed over half the growth in Australia’s GDP in June.
The increase in domestic demand was driven by the 0.7% growth in household spending, which reflected the strong consuming power of households in food, recreation and culture, and furnishings and household equipment. The wages and salaries have also risen by 0.7% in June quarter because of the increase in employment, to be 4.8% higher through the year.
Australian government encourages migrants to move to smaller regions
The Australian government is searching for ways to encourage new migrants to live and work in the regions, beyond Sydney and Melbourne. Other smaller regions include relatively smaller cities like Adelaide, Darwin, etc. 87% of the skilled migrants who arrived Australia last year has settled in these two cities, in which raises the government’s concern towards the potential pressure on housing and infrastructure to these cities.
The government is therefore seeking for programs to attract new migrants to these regions where there are demands for different particular skills. The change in immigration policies also aims to relieve the problem of decline in acute population and improve the geographic spread of population in Australia.
Australia is now the second biggest destination for oversea students
According to latest research from University College London, the number of international students in Australia continues to expand and it is now replacing the United Kingdom as the world’s second place for international students. The research says that Australia is now attracting more students from outside Europe, especially from China.
Australia has started to brand the country as an English-speaking country in recent years. It has been focusing on promoting its high-performance universities. Moreover, it has been marketing the country as a place with good climate conditions, multicultural and welcoming culture for overseas students. This year, Melbourne and Sydney have been ranked as in the Top 10 Best Student Cities.
About 10,000 millionaires, with personal wealth higher than US 1 million, have migrated to Australia last year in 2017, making Australia the millionaires’ choice of migration destination for the third year. According to a report, these high-net-worth individuals, mainly from China, India and United Kingdom, were lured by the proximity to Asia, safeness, political stability and the absence of inheritance taxes of Australia. This benefits the businesses based in Australia to doing business in China and Japan.
Australia was ranked as the top country in the world which is the safest country for women in 2018. Also, it’s ranked as the 9th-wealthiest country in world. Australia has a private wealth of US $6.142 trillion, and it is forecasted that it will overtake Canada and France to be the 7th-wealthiest country in 10 years.
Australia Government Increases Budget to Improve Aged-care Services
The recent Australia federal budget has revealed the government's plan to change pension work bonus. The new budget allows older Australians to work more without reducing their pension payments. It also expands the access to the pension loans scheme in order to reduce equity from their home so as to boost their income.
The government will spend $1.6bn over four years for the plan to create 14,000 home-care places for the elderly, and to show their support to the individual choice of elderly to stay at home, and avoid moving to residential aged care.
It is also announced that the government will spend $146m to improve the access to aged-care services in rural and regional areas. $83m will be spent to increase the support for mental health services in residential aged care. Also, $20m more will be spent over four years in a pilot project which targets the population which is at risk of isolation.
The migrants contribute to the annual average GDP growth
The joint research conducted by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs of Australia has dispelled the concern about the need to cut immigration. The paper, released on 17 April 2018, cites International Monetary Fund’s estimation on the effect of migration program in Australia. It states that the program will add up to 1% to annual average GDP growth from 2020 to 2050 because it focuses on skilled migrants of working age, which alleviate the economic impact of the country’s ageing population. As the focus on skilled migrants of working age improved Australia's productivity, the skilled migrants contributed to Australia’s growing wealth and increased the GDP per capita. The report added that migrants, especially the skilled migrants, are not living on the welfare of jobs. Instead, they are likely to contribute more to tax revenue than they claimed in government support. "In the absence of migration, Australia's workforce would begin shrinking in absolute terms by 2020." the report said.
Darwin's multiculturalism hoped to solve its sluggish population growth
With around 30% of its residents born overseas, Darwin in Northern Australia is now a highly multicultural area, attributed to expanding size of the Nepalese, Nigerian and Japanese communities. While the population outflow has been vigorous, the northern territory has also been urging the government to allocate more resources to support the newly arrived immigrants, so that the skilled workers would prefer continual of living in Darwin rather than interstate migration.
Along with the friendly and warm welcoming attitude of the locals, the concerted efforts of the territory to retain the professionals will hopefully be successful.
14 March 2018
Chinese Student Enrolment Challenges
Impacted by the recent conflicts concerning the diplomatic relations between Australia and China, the enrolment rates of the Australian universities may be negatively affected. Together with increasingly restricted issue of offshore visa permits and intense competition with the UK and the US education providers, it is likely that Australian universities will face a phase of slower growth in university applications from Chinese. In face of the reduction in offshore visa grants,
potential young immigrants should consider apply for visas as soon as possible. This could also pave way for obtaining onshore visa applications and citizenship later on.
In pursuance of a more prosperous economy, the Australian Government would like to attract foreign entrepreneurs and investors into the state, that a new visa would be introduced. The exciting announcement of the new visa has brought hope to many who envision their life in this country as having an excellent quality of life.
The acquisition of it seems easier than ever, as the applicants need a state-of-the-art idea and a well-structured business plan, as well as be equipped with vocational level English, which means obtaining band 5 in each four parts of the International English Language Testing Service ( IELTS).
Permanent residence could possible be achieved too, once the flourishing business venture has developed. This new visa, definitely, sows the seed of an Australian immigration dream.