For the first time since the onset of the global pandemic, Skilled Migrants and Working Holiday Makers are returning Down Under as both countries struggle with extreme skill shortages.
Australia: More than two million visas processed as demand soars
Australia’s population grew by only 0.25% in December 2021 quarter, and by 0.5% through 2021. Without immigration as the main source of population growth, Australia’s economic prosperity would be in danger. The current federal government is well aware of it and introducing a number of measures to convince skilled migrants to move Down Under.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles has announced that since coming to Government, more than two million visas have been processed to reduce the visa backlog.
Minister Giles said that while the number of visas in the backlog had reduced from nearly one million in June 2022, the number of visas on hand in the department is around 872,000 due to the dramatic rise in visa applications since the opening of the borders.
“We are committed to re-instating visa processing as an essential function of Government.
“The Department of Home Affairs has already added 260 more staff to support visa processing, and more are being recruited and trained in the coming weeks and months.
“Australia is also experiencing a rapid rebound in visa applications. We have received nearly 2.22 million new applications since 1 June 2022, compared with nearly 495,000 for the same period in 2021.”
A dedicated task force for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa assesses health and education sector applications in less than a week. The number of applications waiting in the queue has fallen for 11 straight weeks, despite rising demand from employers.
The improved visa processing numbers follow the Australian Government’s commitment to boost the Department of Home Affairs visa processing capacity and reduce the visa backlog to pre-COVID-19 levels.
“This will enable more workers to enter Australia to ease labour shortages and contribute to the Australian economy.”
Arrivals to New Zealand slowly increasing each month
According to Stats NZ, annual arrivals into New Zealand were just under 1.3 million in the 12 months to August 2022. This is a big increase from the previous 12 months to August 2021 (400,300 arrivals), but still a far cry from pre-pandemic levels (12 months to August 2019 – 7.1 million arrivals).
In the year to June, New Zealand’s population increased by 0.2%, which is one of the lowest rates of increase in nearly 40 years.
In the 12 months that ended in August 2022, there was a temporary net migration loss of 11,000. This was made up of 59,600 migrant arrivals and 70,500 migrant departures.
Both migrant arrivals and migrant departures are currently well below the levels experienced during the 2010s when they averaged 126,900 and 93,300 a year, respectively.
According to Immigration Minister Michael Wood, more than 31,000 working holiday visa applications have been approved since March 2022.
Engineers Australia is calling on the Australian Government to support STEM qualified migrants and increase diversity in STEM.
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) is urging migrant workers in New Zealand to educate their family and friends overseas on how to spot potential immigration scams