In his budget speech on Tuesday, Treasurer Jim Chalmers spoke about the importance of immigration to Australia’s economic growth. This was reflected in the Federal government’s decision to move net overseas migration forecasts from an appendix to the main domestic economy forecasts table, indicating the recognition of the role of migration in the budget.
The 2023-24 fiscal year budget predicts a surge in net overseas migration as Australia emerges from the pandemic, with projections showing an increase from 154,000 in 2021-22 to 235,000 in 2024-25. The government has allocated AUD 84.8 million to improve visa processing times and reduce red tape for businesses to attract more skilled migrants to the country.
In addition, the 2023-24 budget includes an allocation of AUD 53.6 million to promote Australia as a destination for international education and improve the student experience.
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the top three countries of origin for permanent migrants in 2019-20 were India, China, and the United Kingdom, with a total of 140,366 migrants arriving in Australia that financial year. The number of temporary migrants, including international students and temporary workers, decreased significantly in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The budget’s focus on skilled migration and international education aligns with the government’s aim to address the country’s skills shortage and attract more foreign investment. However, some remain concerned about the potential impact of relying heavily on migration to boost the economy, particularly given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
Despite these concerns, the budget’s projections for net overseas migration highlight the government’s confidence in the country’s post-pandemic recovery and the importance of migration to Australia’s economic growth.
According to the 2023-24 budget, more than 700,000 people are expected to move to Australia by the end of next year, adding to the squeeze on the nation’s already very tight rental market. The Albanese government’s second budget handed down on Tuesday night forecasts a temporary migration boom reflecting a “one-off” catch-up after the Covid-19 pandemic. The budget papers also confirm rental demand has increased sharply in part because of an influx of new tenants who have moved here following the reopening of Australia’s international borders.
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