Overseas migration surges as people drought abates

Migrant students. | Newsreel
Australia's net migration has surged in 2022-23 | iStock

Migration to Australia surged to record levels in 2022-23, but pre-pandemic net immigration patterns have still not fully reset.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in March showed a net migration gain of 518,000 in the year to June 30, 2023.

This was the largest net influx since records began.

Despite this, the figures were still to normalise as migrant departures fell from 223,000 to 219,000 in 2022-23.

This resulted in the lowest migrant departure figures since 2006-07, representing a significantly lower rate than the 288,000 annual average in the five years before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prior to the pandemic there was a constant flow of temporary migrants arriving and departing,” the ABS said in a statement.

“This cycle is not yet back to a regular pattern and low departures have had an upward impact on net overseas migration in 2022-23.”

However, the Bureau said that many of those now arriving on temporary visas, such as international students, would start to leave when their studies were completed, leading to a lower net migration number in the future.

“In 2022-23, the number of temporary visa holders departing was 76,000 which was much lower than the pre-pandemic level,” the Bureau said.

“The numbers of Australian citizen departures (94,000) and permanent visa departures (22,000) were both similar to the pre-pandemic five-year average.”

See more at Australian Bureau of Statistics

Graph showing trends in migration to Australia
Net migration has been through a roller coaster off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic. | Australian Bureau of Statistics