The latest migration figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that India was the biggest source of Australian migration in March, with a total of 2,250 new migrants arriving in the country.
China, with 1,720 migrants, was the second highest. Iraq, New Zealand and the Philippines rounded out the top 5.
11,590 people migrated to Australia in March. This is down slightly from February’s 11,830 but higher than January’s 9,610. The total migration for March 2016 was only slightly higher than this year, at 12,070. While the ABS favours the use of its quarterly migration statistics to identify long-term trends, the monthly figures do provide a more timely snapshot.
The March statistics are the most recent release of figures since the government revealed major changes to the 457 work visa program. On 18 April the Australian government announced that the long-running work visa scheme will terminate in March 2018.
Its replacement, the temporary skills shortage visa (TSS), will have two streams for short and medium-term employment and stricter eligibility requirements.
The government also reduced the list of eligible occupations for skilled visas. The new TSS visa will also have a much stricter pathway to permanent residency.
The migration statistics for March won’t reflect the major visa changes. But it will be interesting to see if or how the changes affect migration patterns in the months ahead.