Immigration to Australia is a very big deal, not just for new arrivals, but also for the Australian economy in general. According to federal government figures, 190,000 new migrants are expected to make Australia their home in 2014/15 alone, the majority of them skilled workers. The overall number of migrants in Australia has also hit a peak, with 28% of our population now born overseas, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The Australian Government closely monitors the immigration process, and gives priority to skilled migrants, particularly if certain skills are in short supply in Australia.
One obvious question is whether migration causes unemployment issues as migrants fill jobs that might have otherwise been filled by Australian workers. But in fact, studies actually show that migration is essential to Australia’s long-term prosperity.
The Role of Migrants in the Economy
At a recent forum, a spokesperson for the Migration Council of Australia (MCA) said that migration has a positive impact on the Australian economy. It increases employment, increases consumption of goods and services, and migrants tend to be less of a burden on government services while still paying taxes.
In its 2015 report The Economic Impact of Migration, the MCA looked at the three Ps of economic growth – participation, population and productivity. It noted that migration improves population growth and increases productivity through labour participation and employment, particularly with skilled workers bringing highly desirable and much-needed skills to the workforce. By 2050, increased productivity is expected to lead to a gain in Australia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of almost six per cent per capita.
Commentator Patrick Carvalho notes that Australia’s birth rate is declining and our population is aging rapidly. Without migration, the Australian population would actually decrease, leading to disastrous results.
“A bigger and productive population will boost our domestic production, giving us more economies of scale and global economic clout,” he said in a piece for the ABC.
And this view makes sense. On a local level, migrants moving into an area increase the need for housing and infrastructure. Workers are then employed to design, plan and build community facilities and homes.
It doesn’t end there, either. As the population increases, more services are required such as schooling, medical services and community support services. Again, more people are employed to provide these services. And migrants also buy food and other goods. This puts more money into the local economy, and increased demand results in increased employment opportunities.
To top it off, migrants contribute skills and labour to the economy, and pay taxes. This seems positive for Australia as a whole.
The Effect of Migrants in the Future
According to the MCA report, it is anticipated that migration will have increased Australia’s population by 14 million people by 2050, contributing $1.6 trillion to Australia’s GDP.
Migration will also have increased the workforce participation rate by almost 16 per cent, with the percentage gain in employment being around 45 per cent compared with a 37 per cent increase in population. Importantly, the MCA report predicts there will be a 60 per cent increase in the members of the population who have a university education.
Not only do the positive aspects of migration seem to outweigh any negatives, Australia is actually dependent on migration to continue to prosper.
Immigration to Australia is a long-term strategy by the Australian government to manage Australia’s economic fortunes. If you are considering immigration to Australia, one of our expert migration agents can be of valuable assistance.