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Monday, 16 July 2018

People power

Bridging the gap

While there's been much talk of 'cuts' to the annual rate of immigration, the number of people heading to Australia appears to be as strong as ever, with record high temporary and bridging visas helping to, erm, bridge the gap.

Annual permanent and long term arrivals hit a record 803,030 over the year to May 2018, which is considerably higher than the 708,910 of only three years earlier. 

There was, furthermore, a record number of seasonally adjusted short-term resident returns in May.

Asian tourism and education boom

Meanwhile, short-term arrivals hit a record seasonally adjusted high of 728,600 in the month of May 2018.

Over the year short-term arrivals now exceed 9 million, also a record.

Sydney retains its position as by far the biggest drawcard for overseas visitors. 

Most short-term visitors intend to stay in New South Wales (3.42 million), Victoria (2.27 million), and Queensland (1.95 million). 

The ABS notes that caution should be applied to the place of intended stay for the months of April and May, with an unusually high number opting for Canberra (shome mishtake, shurely!), so any blips relating to the past month or two should be interpreted accordingly. 

The tourism boom has been quite spectacular, but the growth in this sector does look to be slowing.

Education arrivals, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength, with more than 575,000 over the year to May 2018 (there may be some double-counting here, but generally speaking this has mirrored the rise in enrolment trends of recent years). 

Finally, the massive increase in short-term arrivals of recent years has largely and self-evidently been a China phenomenon, although a number of other countries across Asia and America have contributed.

The wrap

Summarily, while here may be some tweaks to permanent migration numbers at the margin, the overall demand for Australia Inc. remains about as high as it's ever been. 

The main beneficiaries will likely be those cities with sought-after educational institutions, and regions with appeal to Asian tourists (or both).

Truly, a people-powered services economy!