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Monday, 18 June 2018

Long-term arrivals into Australia at a record high

Long term arrivals surge

There has been some talk of tighter visa requirements in Australia lately. 

Over the 12 months to April 2018, at least, there were few signs of this having had a material impact on Australia's popularity as a destination of choice (although the ABS cautions about reading too much into these indicative figures). 

For the year to April permanent and long-term arrivals surpassed 800,000 for the first time on record. 


It should also be noted that the ABS releases its initial December 2017 quarter estimates for net overseas migration later in the week, although these data too are subject to revision and are inevitably prone to assumption error.

Tourism boom chilling?

It's been an incredible half-decade for short term arrivals Down Under, driven by a lower dollar and booming tourism from Asia and America. 

But while the monthly trend for short term arrivals is at a record high of 759,900, there may just be nascent signs of this rollicking period flattening out now. 


There has been no slowdown in education arrivals, to date, with total annual visitors hitting a new record high of 573,100 in April 2018. 


Instead, the slowdown was driven by fewer holiday arrivals, although some caution should be exercised with these figures too.

For whatever reason, visitors have become more inclined to tick the box indicating 'visiting friends and relatives' across recent months, rather than the 'holiday' alternative.

I suppose this trend might continue as Australia attracts more repeat visitors, or perhaps it's just uncool to classify oneself as a tourist these days. 

In any event, one thing is not in doubt: there's no shortage of popularity in visitors from China or India. 


The wrap

Record high permanent and long-term visitors at more than 800,000 over the year to April suggest that Australia remains as attractive as ever to migrants. 

It's early days, but there may just be some early signs that the boom in tourism arrivals since 2013 is reaching a plateau, or taking a bit of a breather.

On Thursday this week the ABS will release its Australian Demographic Statistics for the December 2017 quarter.

These figures will likely estimate that Australia's resident population increased by around 400,000 in the 2017 calendar year to 24.8 million.

This strong rate of growth at about 1.6 per cent has been driven largely by immigration into Sydney and Melbourne.

Meanwhile south-east Queensland is increasingly picking up more internal migrants from New South Wales.

Of course, these estimates lag significantly, and at 24,970,000 Australia's population clock is due to tick beyond 25 million within the next month.

For some unknown reason I have an almost overwhelming urge to sign off this post 'tick tock', but that would just be nauseating so I'll try to restrain myself.