In what seems to be one of Australia’s most significant declines, there has been a recent decrease in the number of temporary visa holders in the country. This is due to the emigration of hundreds of international visa holders, tourists, holidaymakers, international students, and other migrants in the country in 2019 as compared to 2020. Although this had a significant impact on a wide range of ethnic groups, the number of Indians in Australia has shifted the most. This may be due to their higher engagement in the labour sector and due to the fact that temporary work visas are currently no longer valid.
After this mass exodus, Australia became about 600,000 less in population. Indians’ were the single largest ethnic demographic that have chosen to halt travel to Australia. Many of these returnees were forced to upend their lives to avoid the pandemic and currently have no idea when they will be able to return. Sadly, this sudden shift in the population has threatened to cause a problem for Australia’s economy. All indications of this incident point to a decline in visitors and working holidaymakers.
There were about 121,000 visa holders who departed for their respective countries. Also, about 31,000 students who had been schooling in the countryside during December 2020 have left, according to the recent statistics.
Statistics showed that the fastest decline in the population was noticed during the lockdown. That was about three months after the covid-19 pandemic had hit the country in March 2020. In this short period, 143,000 visa holders left the country, leaving a profound and negative curve in the population statistics.
Effect of the Decline on Economy and Population
The sudden exit from the country is understandable, and under normal circumstances, it should be complemented by arrivals from various other countries. But this is hampered by the hard border ban, which allows only Australian citizens and permanent residents to return to the country. Hence, there is free movement for emigration, but restrictions are placed on immigration.
This has resulted in a severe impact on education and tourism. Universities have begun to shed jobs and thereby adding to the number of unemployed people. International tourism is also suffering a decrease in revenue generation, while farmers face problems arising from the loss of farm labourers.
Therefore, these impacts will result in a situation whereby the country’s economy is wildly inflated. There might also be an imbalance in the country’s population because deaths will begin to exceed births in the country, resulting in downset of the country’s growth rate. This is not all; there could also be a case whereby the situation is worsened when migrants continue to return to their countries because of the weak labour market.
This continuous border closure has resulted in many migrants being stranded in their own countries. There are reports that a large number of these migrants had left the country before the pandemic struck. Hence, they had suspended life plans in the process of waiting for the right time to return to Australia.
Data revealed that the number of Indians in Australia considered temporary migrants was roughly 41,000 in 2019. These groups of people had left the country earlier in 2020 but are yet to troop back to their Australian lives. Several suggestions have been made for the border to be opened to migrants; else it will cost Australia economic progress in the long run.