Economic migration and Australia in the 21st century

20 Oct 2016


This Analysis assesses the benefits and challenges of contemporary economic immigration in Australia. It argues that Australian governments have managed significant recent changes to immigration policy successfully. The authors recommend various reforms to maintain public confidence in expansive economic immigration arrangements that are important for sustaining national prosperity.

Key findings

  • Australia’s immigration policies have changed significantly in recent years, marking a departure from the ‘settler’ model of permanent immigration. Australian governments have managed this transition successfully.
  • The benefits of these changes are evident. Skilled immigrants have offset population ageing, improved labour productivity, helped businesses to source skills that are difficult to find at short notice, and addressed the needs of regional areas and industries.
  • However, various reforms are needed particularly relating to the treatment of temporary immigrants in order to maintain public support for sustained immigration intakes.
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Geographic Coverage