Migrant surge at record levels

THE push to lure skilled workers to Australia and the increase in foreign students have raised migration into the country to a record high.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal that net overseas migration to Australia boosted the population by almost 200,000 in the year to March, outstripping births in contributing to population growth.

And with the Federal Government adding to the migration intake in this year’s budget, demographers predict the numbers will swell.

The population of Australia reached 21.3 million at the end of March, and 59% of that growth was due to net overseas migration – that is, the difference between overseas arrivals and departures.

Peter McDonald, head of demographics at the Australian National University, said much of the rise was due to long-term temporary migration. This mainly comprises foreign students, temporary skilled workers who are here on 457 visas, and people on working holidays.

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