The Productivity Commission recently completed a report on Australia’s migration program. It contained some surprising results.
1. Australia receives around 1,000,000 migrants each year
Every year around a million visas are granted to allow migration into Australia. This consists of close to 800,000 temporary visas granted to students, working holidaymakers and temporary workers, and around 200,000 permanent visas
This does not however mean the Australian population is growing by a million people per year, because every year as well as people arriving others depart. Temporary visas holders for example are departing as others are arriving. This means our net migration is around 200,000 per year.
2. The vast majority of migrants speak English
3. Migrants are not a drain on the budget
The chart below shows the estimated impact of permanent migrants who arrived in 2015-16 on the Australian government budget over the next 50 years. It shows is that for the bulk of their time here skilled and family migrants contribute more to the budget in taxes than they take from it in welfare. This only begins to work the other way once they reach retirement age, were like almost all Australians they receive more in benefits than they paid taxes. The one exception to this people who enter Australia on a humanitarian visa (e.g. refugees) who on average will receive more benefits from the government then they paying taxes. Again however it should be remembered that this is true of most lower income Australians.
4. England and New Zealand are our two top sources of migrants
5. Our humanitarian intake has remained relatively constant in numerical terms but is declining as a proportion of our total immigration program and our population