Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals net overseas migration recovery for 2021-2022

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ABS data reveals that overseas migration contributed a net gain of 171,000 to Australia’s population for the year ending 30 June 2022.

Overseas migration contributed a net gain of 171,000 to Australia’s population in the year ending 30 June 2022, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In contrast, the 2020-21 financial year saw a net loss of 85,000 people, representing the lowest level of net overseas migration since World War 1.

Jenny Dobak, ABS head of migration statistics, said: “Before the pandemic, more people would migrate to Australia than would migrate away yearly.

“While this pattern was interrupted in 2020-21 due to the impact of COVID-19 travel restrictions, we are seeing a return to this pre-pandemic migration pattern in 2021-22.”

Nationally, migrant arrivals rose 171 per cent compared to last year (395,000 from 146,000), while migrant departures fell 3 per cent (224,000 from 231,000).


Each state and territory recorded an increase in population from migration in 2021-22. This marks a notable change from 2020-21, when each state and territory saw a population loss from negative net migration.

Net overseas migration – 2021-22 – largest to smallest gain of people

  • NSW 62,210
  • Vic. 55,630
  • Qld 23,430
  • SA 12,080
  • WA 9,500
  • ACT 3,120
  • Tas. 2,740
  • NT 2,130.

Migrant arrivals on temporary visas saw a large increase in 2021-22 compared to 2020-21 (239,900 from 29,600). Student visa holders have primarily driven this increase. The number of people migrating to Australia on permanent visas increased in 2021-22 compared with 2020-21 (67,900 from 37,000).

In 2021-22, the top five countries of birth, as determined by the sum of migrant arrivals and migrant departures, were Australia, India, China, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Analysis of these countries over the previous decade shows that net overseas migration was increasing for migrants born in China, however this began to decline from late 2017, well before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Net overseas migration of migrants born in India was also increasing but contributed a net loss to Australia’s population in 2020-21 during the COVID-19 pandemic, as did the United Kingdom and New Zealand. 

As travel restrictions eased, 2021-22 saw net migration from those born in India, China, the United Kingdom and New Zealand return to positive levels, however, net migration for these countries is still below pre-pandemic levels.

In 2021-22, there was a net loss of Australian-born from the population, with net overseas migration of -14,200. This is in line with the historical trend from before the pandemic. During 2020-21, international travel restrictions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic caused this long-term pattern to be reversed with a net migration of 7,500 Australian-born added to the population.

For more information, see the ABS publication Overseas Migration 2021-22.

For the latest quarterly migration estimates, see the ABS publication National, state and territory population.

For Australia’s regional overseas migration estimates, see the ABS publication Regional population.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics | © Commonwealth of Australia

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