Net Overseas Migration Roaring Back


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Interesting results from the September quarter 2022 population release published today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

  • Australia experienced a record quarterly net overseas migration (NOM) inflow of 106,200, only the second time quarterly NOM has exceeded 100,000 (after March quarter 2022). NOM for year to September 2022 was 303,700, just shy of the record 315,700 annual NOM in 2008.
  • Based on recent monthly arrivals and departures, as well as student visas granted, national NOM should easily surpass 350,000 in FY2023, and could even reach the 400,000 flagged by Westpac a couple of weeks ago. Victoria and New South Wales are attracting around two thirds of this total.
  • Interstate movements in September quarter 2022 were very low (73,600 persons), having been lower only twice in the past 20 years. This could be a hangover from the record interstate movement induced by the COVID pandemic and/or that lack of options for interstate migrants due to extremely low vacancy rates. Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia remain destination states, although Victoria’s recent high net interstate outflow fell to almost zero in the quarter and could move back into positive territory in December 2022 quarter.
  • Births registered in September quarter 2022 continued the lower level that emerged after the post-COVID bounce seen in calendar 2021. It will be interesting to see whether cost of living pressures will see births take another step down over the next year or two.
  • Deaths remain above the five year average, reflecting the trends already seen in the more current provisional data published by the ABS. In 2022, there were 174,717 deaths that occurred by 30 November and were registered by 31 January 2023. This was 22,886 deaths (15.1%) more than the baseline average. The higher deaths could play out for some time due to the limited preventative care that is likely to have taken place through COVID lockdowns.

Annual population growth (418,500) is now at its highest level since 2008-2009 and is on track to end at a new record in FY2023. The consequences of a turbo-charged population are evident in rental markets, which will tighten further in the absence of growth in new dwelling supply. Rising rents will contribute to inflationary pressures as will the increased demand for goods and services. Although adding to the overall labour pool, shortages for particular skills may be exacerbated if the lack of rental stock reduces worker mobility and restricts the ability for workers to move where there is demand.

Notably, the most recent ABS release highlights that the current publicly available population projections are now significantly undercooking population growth over the next couple of years. For further insight into what this means for population growth nationally and across the states, contact Angie Zigomanis at or Rob Burgess at