Australia’s migrant deficit of up to 190,000 hits post-pandemic job market

The institute found that while the government was looking to boost immigration, more would have to be done to catch up the country’s worker shortfall, including policies to boost housing and infrastructure.

It also warned that Australia was facing a global fight for migrants, noting the treatment of international students and other temporary immigrants during COVID may make it more difficult to woo people from overseas.

Migrants have started coming back into Victoria and NSW, attracted by major construction projects such Sydney's new Victoria Cross Station

Migrants have started coming back into Victoria and NSW, attracted by major construction projects such Sydney’s new Victoria Cross Station

But new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show there is already a rush of new migrants through customs.

Australia’s population swelled by 124,168 in the first three months of this year, the largest quarterly increase since 2017. There are now 25.9 million people in the country.

The lift during the quarter was driven by immigration.


Through the March quarter, a net 96,135 migrants moved into Australia. It was the largest March intake of foreign residents on record.

In March last year, Australia lost a net 14,190 people to other nations.

Record quarterly March intakes were set in NSW, Victoria and South Australia while it was the largest number in Queensland in a decade.

Most of the new residents made a bee-line for Victoria (32,014) and NSW (34,272), who together absorbed almost 70 percent of net overseas migrants. In March last year, Victoria lost 9881 residents through net overseas migration while NSW lost 806.

Victoria, which lost 40,000 of its population over 18 months of the pandemic, added 33,373 residents through the March quarter, the strongest quarter in three years.

Over the past six, it has made up the total loss months per suffered during the pandemic with annual population growth, at 0.7 per cent, now above the rates in NSW (0.6 per cent), Tasmania (0.5 cent), the ACT (0.6 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.3 per cent).

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