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More Chinese coming – short term and long term

14 October 20160 comments

Permanent or long term migration into Australia appears to be stabilising with totals of new arrivals topping 266,000 in the year to August, according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

The number of permanent settlers arriving each year has begun to gradually rise again after a downturn that came with the end of the mining construction boom in 2012 with around 57 per cent of settlers coming from Asia.

The ABS Overseas Arrivals and Departures figures indicate annual population growth in 2016 will be about 1.3 per cent, or between 300,000 and 350,000 people.

migration-figuresBut the makeup of new arrivals to Australia has changed very significantly since the peak of the mining investment boom in 2012, with Sydney and Melbourne accounting for a record and growing share of new arrivals while regional population growth has slowed.

More significantly, total number of annual short term arrivals increased by a massive 10.6 per cent over the year to August and now totals almost 8 million.

“Short-term visitor arrivals during August 2016 (696,700 movements) increased 0.5 per cent, compared with July 2016 (693,000 movements),” the ABS report said.

“This followed monthly increases of 0.9 per cent in June 2016 and 0.7 per cent in July 2016. The current trend estimate for arrivals is 11.7 per cent higher than in August 2015.”

Outbound trips are still increasing also, but at a slower pace.

The annual number of arrivals from China has continued to grow at a significant rate rising by 23.1 per cent over the past year to reach a new high of 1.18 million.

There are now more annual visitors from China and Hong Kong to Australia than there are from our near neighbour New Zealand.

While many are short term arrivals tourists, there are around 500,000 short term arrivals into Australia over the year to August who were foreign students.

migration-figures-2Commentators say higher education in Australia is attractive to international students from Asia, as it comes with the lure of potential permanent residency.

It is now more than two years since Australia’s higher education boom began in earnest and commentators and government agencies are predicting a significant rise in students being granted permanent residency.

While permanent and long term migration to Australia seems to have steadied, there are appreciable trends when you drill down into specific cohorts of arrivals.

Looking at monthly visitors from China, there is a doubling from less than 50,000 per month in early 2012 to well over 100,000 per month in the third quarter of 2016.

Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist