Australia should target skilled migrants headed towards UK and Canada, KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne has said.
According to Mr Rynne – a leading economist in Australia – attracting new skilled migrants would help the whole economy.
The best way to do that would be to proactively target more skilled migrants from source countries such as the United States, Germany, China, India, Poland and Ireland, Mr Rynne suggested.
Australia’s biggest sources for skilled migrants are India, China, New Zealand and the Philippines.
However, with the UK and Canada being close rivals for attracting skilled migrants, Australia would do well to target overseas workers heading to these countries.
Due to the pandemic, Australia closed its borders to international arrivals in March 2020, and lifted travel restrictions only recently.
As a result, there was a significant decline in foreign migrants arriving in Australia, which led to net overseas migration numbers turning negative for the first time since the Second World War.
The latest official population data shows that Australia’s net overseas migration will remain in the negative levels throughout this financial year as well, and only start recovering from 2024-25.
With net overseas migration adding ten per cent to Australia’s population over the decade leading to 2019, this period of sustained negative net migration will leave the population 700,000 less in 2025 compared to the pre-pandemic forecast.
Mr Rynne also suggested that in addition to maintaining the growth trajectory of the Australian population, the arrival of new skilled migrants would add more than $100 billion to the economy by the end of 2028-29 and boost the GDP by 4.4 per cent.
According to KPMG modelling, each new migrant adds $130,000 to Australia’s GDP every year, primarily through household consumption of about $70,000.
Australia’s federal government has also taken steps in recent times to strengthen skilled migration to Australia, with Immigration Minister Alex Hawke updating the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) in July.
In the update, Australia added 44 new occupations as critical skills needed to support the country’s response to the pandemic.
Foreign applicants from the critical skills occupations can have their applications reviewed under priority processing for skilled migration to Australia.