Immigration Trends in Australia 2023: How They May Affect the Travel Industry

Australia is acclaimed as one of the top global immigration destinations. It offers everything aspiring immigrants look for in their destination. Millions of people have migrated to the country over the years, contributing to the local economy and enhancing cultural diversity. 

But the pandemic led to an unexpected slowdown due to border closures and travel restrictions. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more people departed from the country than arrived in it. The trend witnessed the reversal of the historical migration pattern in Australia. Tourism suffered, with international arrivals declining by a whopping 73% amid the lockdowns and travel restrictions.  

Fortunately, the recovery was quick once Australia reopened its international borders in November 2021. The travel and immigration sectors haven’t looked back since then. The immigration trends in 2023 spell a new beginning for people looking forward to a dream life in Australia. At the same time, it marks a boom for the tourism sector.

Let us dive in to understand these trends and their potential impact on the travel industry.

Unrestricted Entry Open Since 2022

Australia and New Zealand were on the frontline for imposing the strictest border restrictions during the pandemic. The countries sealed their borders to control the spread of infections, which led to a major setback for the tourism and international education industries. 

But Australia wrapped up all the mandatory travel rules, such as negative test reports and proof of vaccination, in 2022. The unrestricted border entry boosts skilled worker programs and student visa applications. It also addresses the visa backlog issue slowing down the country’s international skilled worker intakes. The move has given the tourism sector a fresh lease of life in the country. 

Permanent Residency Intakes Increase to 195,000

In September 2022, the Australian government announced the target PR number to be 195,000 in the current fiscal year. The number spells an increase of 35,000 in the previous annual intake targets. The country aims to bring in more skilled people to bridge the growing skills and labor shortages. With this increase, immigration to Australia becomes easier in almost all visa subclasses.

According to IC Australia, this is the best time to apply for permanent residency status because the chances of approval are high. But it may also mean more competition for applicants. Consulting a certified agent improves the chances of getting through the process.

While the target figure is applicable up to June 30, 2023, similar trends and targets are likely in the future. Besides bringing good news for immigrants, the increase in targets translates into a booming business for tourism service providers, with more people landing in the country. 

Arrivals Are Higher Than Departures

Australia is set to witness a massive increase in net migration of over 300,000 people in 2023. The number exceeds the Treasury forecasts of 235,000 by more than 25% due to a surge in arrivals. The Treasury estimate comprises permanent migrants (190,000), humanitarian migrants (13,750), temporary migrants (66,000), permanent residents (20,000), and Australian citizens (15,000) leaving the country.

Clearly, the number of arrivals is far greater than the number of departures. It augurs a great revival for the tourism and hospitality sector after the painful losses it sustained during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Notably, Australia had 480,100 job vacancies according to the May 2022 statistics, with the industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, tourism, and technology falling short of resources. The demand will likely increase in the coming years as the country seeks more people to address the talent shortages. 

Better Prospects for International Students

The Australian government has come up with generous policies for in-study and post-study work rights for international students to attract them back to the country. These changes include:

  • International students will be allowed to work for 48 hours at the most per fortnight starting from July 2023.
  • Students graduating with certain degrees linked to skills shortages in the Australian economy will get extended post-study work rights.
  • Job Ready Program (JRP) will now be a three-step program (not four-step) to save time and money for international students.
  • Subclass 485 visa applications (Graduate Work stream) will not require nominating a skilled occupation and getting an assessment.

Better prospects for international students boost tourism as families travel to meet their children studying and staying in the country.

Conclusion

The current immigration trends usher a fresh start for the tourism industry, with permanent residents, temporary travelers, and international students arriving in huge numbers. All these visitors require travel, accommodation, and hospitality services to some extent. They can generate massive revenues for business owners struggling to regain their footing after the pandemic.  

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