Centre for Population analysis of the Migration, Australia data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)
Reference period: -
Net Overseas Migration (NOM) was 239,600 for the 2018–19 financial year, up slightly from 238,200 in the previous year. In 2018–19 NOM was made up of 537,800 arrivals and 298,200 departures.
There are 7.5 million Australian residents who are born overseas, 29.7 per cent of the population. This is up from 29.4 per cent in June 2018.
This ABS release refers to a period prior to international outbreak of COVID-19. It is released annually and was previously called 3412.0 Migration, Australia.
Net Overseas Migration
Net overseas migration remains steady, at just under 240,000 annually. This period of stability in NOM is in contrast to the frequent periods of rising or declining NOM over the past decade, with changing policy and economic conditions causing the level of migration to fluctuate.
While the level of NOM has been relatively stable since December 2017, the composition of NOM is changing. The contribution of permanent migrants to NOM is falling, down 24,000 since 2016–17.
This reflects a reduction in the permanent migration cap and an increased share of permanent visas being granted to migrants already onshore.
The decline in arrivals from permanent migrants is offset by growth in students. Student numbers began increasing in early 2013 reflecting growing demand for Australia’s higher education services. Students added over 112,000 to the population in 2018–19, up 9 per cent from the previous year.
Overall, temporary visa holders accounted for 64 per cent of arrivals, and 53 per cent of departures in 2018–19. International students accounted for 32 per cent of all arrivals up from 30 per cent in 2017–18.
In 2018–19, 74,900 Australian citizens returned to Australia after living overseas but in the same year 86,700 decided to move overseas.
|Visa Category||Visa Subcategory||2016-17||2017-18||2018-19|
|New Zealand Citizens||6,700||7,500||8,000|
1. Other refers to migrants with insufficient visa information.
States and territories
Across the states and territories, around 90 per cent of NOM has been distributed across four states for the past 15 years: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. But the distribution across these states has changed since the end of the mining boom construction phase. At the end of the boom in 2011–12, NOM in these four states were similar, ranging between 47,000 and 57,000, or some 20-25 per cent of total NOM.
Since the end of the boom, migrants have increasingly chosen to settle in New South Wales and Victoria. These two states together have accounted for around 70 per cent of NOM since 2014–15.
In New South Wales and Victoria, NOM fell for the second year in a row to June 2018–19 as the declines in permanent migrants (both skilled and family) offset any increase in international student demand.
Age Structure by Country of Birth
Over the last 20 years, overseas migration has altered Australia’s age structure by making the working age population much larger and increasing the number of Australian born children.
Migration has made age groups from 25 to 34 the largest cohorts in the population. Further, as migrants are forming families and having children in Australia, this contributes to children being the largest cohorts in the Australian born population.