Thursday, August 5, 2010
IMMIGRATION into Australia is in free fall, with new figures showing net permanent and long-term overseas arrivals have plunged to barely half last year's levels.
Bureau of Statistics data shows that in the wake of the Rudd government's crackdowns on immigration rorts, net arrivals for the June quarter slumped to 32,700 down from 58,940 a year ago and almost 60,000 in 2008.
A record 81,440 permanent or temporary residents left in the June quarter to live overseas, while just 114,400 new or returning residents arrived, down 15 per cent from last year.
Annual figures show that the sharpest fall has been in arrivals of Indians aiming to live here.
In 2008-09, Indians formed the largest group of new permanent or temporary residents, with more than 80,000 arriving to study, work or settle here.
But in 2009-10, the number of Indians arriving shrank by a third to just 55,000. Fewer than 3000 left, as most Indians who come here to study stay on as workers.
The sharp fall follows reforms to shut the back door by which foreign students in low-level courses such as cooking and hospitality could stay on as permanent residents. It also follows the killing of an Indian student in Yarraville.
For the year to June, net arrivals of permanent and long-term residents plummeted 28 per cent from 336,000 to 243,000. Within that tally, net arrivals of New Zealanders shrank almost 40 per cent, from 30,600 to 18,800, while net arrivals from Britain plunged from 44,600 to 34,100.
The figures pull the rug out from opposition claims that immigration is out of control. They show that the cut they have promised in migration is already happening, and fast.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has pledged to cut net overseas migration to 170,000 by 2012-13. That is a different measure from net overseas arrivals, but it follows the same trends.
The latest figures, for the December quarter of 2009, show net overseas migration also fell 28 per cent year on year.
While most of the fall in 2009-10 was in arrivals of temporary residents such as students, arrivals of permanent migrants also fell 11 per cent, from 158,000 to 140,600.
Most of that fall was in migrants from New Zealand and Britain, but permanent migrants from India also fell 10 per cent. New Zealand (18,100) remained our main source of migrants, ahead of China (16,600), India (15,600) and Britain (15,500). A record 4450 settlers arrived from Sri Lanka, many as refugees.
MIGRATION IN FREE FALL
Year Net permanent/ Change
long-term arrivals %
04-05 177,970 8
05-06 199,270 12
06-07 238,260 20
07-08 279,040 17
08-09 336,150 20
09-10 243,090 -28
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics