Thinking | 13 July 2022

Latest migration trends in Australia

Hall & Wilcox Partner & Head of Migration Kristopher Kunasingam discusses the key migration trends in Australia. After two years of closed borders and tight immigration, loosening border policies and encouraging more people into Australia will help ease stress on the tight labour market.

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Kristopher Kunasingam

[Transcript]

The trends which I’m seeing over the next 12 months, it’s probably a loosening of border policies. Over the last two years there was a reduction in the number of people in the market, they call it the overseas migration figure, and our economy wasn’t built for that. We are sort of built on an open border policy where we encourage people coming here, spending, consuming and growing our market. When borders closed up, there were a lot of people who exited the market and it’s not filled back into the gap yet. So, for the next, say, couple of months, or even a couple of years, we need to normalise that and that just means the government needs to be more proactive about getting people back into the country, filling in what we’ve lost and also then make up from where we have left off.

Entering into this year it was clearer to us that things were progressing in the right direction, and what we’re hearing from our clients, as well as various leading organisations, is that the labour market remains tight and effectively that means we need to encourage more people to come back in.

The lead on from a stronger migration policy is not only more access to talent, it also falls onto other sectors. I foresee, if there’s going to be any kind of a slowdown because of interest rates rising, this will be a mechanism the government would use to try and counteract the slowdown in the economic outlook. So, migration numbers sort of help towards that. We also need to realise we are competing against other countries who have sort of a similar setup as what Australia does, and I’ll give you an example. Someone who is highly skilled has the option of Canada, the US, UK, Hong Kong and then we as a country need to actually step up and say what we can offer to the individual to attract them.

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Kristopher Kunasingam

Kristopher leads the firm's migration practice. He specialises in employment-related migration to Australia.

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