Australian migration intake drops to the lowest in a decade

Australia admitted 160,000 permanent migrants last year which has been the lowest in a decade. Industry leaders had warned the Govt. about an impending labour crunch which could severely affect several infrastructure projects in the pipeline.

Addressing these concerns Mr David Coleman, Immigration Minister, said that it was important to fill in employment gaps all across Australia. He is driving the Global Talent Independent Program which has 5,000 visa places. This program aims to attract the best and the brightest foreign workers to Australia.

Australia has put an annual cap of 160,000 on permanent migration for the next 4 years. Out of these, 23,000 visa places will go to the Regional Visa Scheme.

Due to the cap, Australia expects a further drop in the number of permanent migrants in the coming 4 years. Permanent migrants hit 190,000 during 2012-13 and 2013-14 while between 2011-12 and 2016-17 the number remained well above 183,000.

Here is the breakdown of the same:

Skilled Stream 2017-18 2018-19 Change
Employer-sponsored 35,528 42,012 6484
General Skilled Migration 68,111 60,240 -7871
Distinguished Talent 200 200 0
Business innovation & investment 7260 7261 1
Skilled Total 111,099 109,713 -1386
Family Stream
Partner 39,799 39,918 119
Parent 7,371 6805 -566
Other family 562 524 -38
Family total 47,732 47,247 -485
Child 3350 3,248 -102
Special eligibility 236 115 -121
Grand Total 162,417 160,323 -2094


Mr Coleman said that Australia’s population plan aimed at decongesting the major cities. At the same time, the plan aimed at helping regional areas and smaller cities grow.

Australia has announced two regional visas which will come into effect from November 2019. 23,000 visa places have been set aside for these visas which will help fill in thousands of job vacancies in regional Australia. Regional centres in Australia have reported more than 60,000 vacant jobs. Hence, the Australian Govt. is trying to redirect the migration to regional areas and smaller cities to fill up the available jobs.

The Australian Govt. granted a Designated Area Migration Agreement to Warrnambool in June this year. The DAMA aims to tackle the chronic labour shortage in regional areas.

Australia will also deploy officials from the Dept. of Home Affairs to locations like Singapore, Dubai, Washington and Shanghai. These officials will try and attract high-skilled migrants to Australia. These officials will also be responsible for scouting recruits from prestigious institutions like Oxford, MIT and Stanford.