While immigration is slowing, Chinese dominate

The latest Overseas Arrivals & Departures figures showed rolling annual net permanent and long term migration into Australia slowing again in August to +285,990, which is the lowest figure since January 2011.

…and the monthly data shows that the downtrend remains in place.

This implies that annual population growth in Australia will continue to tick downwards to around +300,000 or +1.3 per cent, which in turn should take some pressure off the unemployment rate given the recent pace of annual employment growth (+2.0 per cent).

Record short-term arrivals

Immigration continues to slow in sympathy with the slowing economy.

The flip side to this the lower dollar has encouraged short-term arrivals to their highest level on record at 7.2 million, while short term departures also showed the first signs of their inevitable cracking declining by -0.7 per cent in the month.

And indeed the ratio of short term departures to arrivals at 1.266 has declined all the way back to the levels we were seeing in Q4 2010, with further more to come.

China dominates population flows

Tourism from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong has mushroomed with a total of 1.29 million visitors in the past year representing double the numbers seen only five years ago.

At the current explosive annual rate of increase (+20 per cent) Chinese tourists will surpass our neighbouring New Zealander friends as the number one source of tourism within only a few short years.

And the Chinese are not only coming for holidays with August being the first time on record that more than 2,000 Chinese settlers adopted Australia as their home country in a single month.

The rolling annual total numbers of settlers from both China (18,680) and India (20,250) are breaking new highs with Asian countries now totally dominating migration into Australia as the numbers of New Zealander and British settlers tail away.

Finally, in relation to another currency-driven trend which I discussed in more detail here, total education arrivals have boomed to a record 451,000 over the past year, a huge +17 per cent year-on-year increase.

As I noted last month here this is yet another trend which involves very significant numbers of Chinese arrivals.

Population growth in Australia is becoming proportionately more focussed on the largest capital cities through this cycle, and the education export boom is one the key drivers of this since it overwhelmingly benefits the largest capitals.

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Pete Wargent


Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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