The Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the recently released data series, has pointed out that the rapid population growth in the country was owing to Net Overseas Migration. The preliminary estimate shows an annual population growth rate of 1.6%.
The annual contribution to population growth by Net Overseas Migration was 61.4% as against natural increase in population that stood at 38.6%. A separate study conducted by an Australian demographer, Dr Bob Birrell, found that students from foreign countries were the top emerging group of migrants in the major cities of Australia.
Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is accounted for by calculating the difference between incoming and outgoing migrants. The number for the year 2018 stood at 248,400 people, which was higher than the preceding year 2017 with a total of 241,700 people.
The net difference between the birth rate and death rate gives the figures of Natural increase in population. As a consequence of development, the contribution of natural increase reversed whereas, in 1976-77, it had contributed 66.6% as against NOM contribution of 33.4% to Australia’s overall population growth.
Australian laws allow for easy conversion of student visas into permanent residence visas and this policy was actively pushed since 2000. As a result, overseas students now account for nearly 44% of NOM. Over the past decade, students from foreign countries with a legitimate higher education visa contributed heavily to the rapidly growing population of Australia.
Historically, the Australian states have varied population growth. The released data series shows a strong population growth rate in cities like Sydney, Perth, Melbourne whereas the growth rate in regional areas is mixed.
Australia has managed to successfully run a Migration Program since 1945 in order to boost its population growth. In recent times, the Migration Program has shifted its focus to attracting more skilled workers as well as students from foreign countries in order to give an impetus to its economy.
The data for the year 2017 shows that Asians have emerged as significant ethnic migrants of which skilled workers and students are the major groups. Australia is known to have people from over 190 different countries and 300 different ancestries.
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