Australia needs skilled immigration to power the country’s economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, said Reserve Bank of Australia governor, Philip Lowe. Speaking at a forum in Australia the other day, the governor said Australia would have to look offshore to fill the jobs. The strict border closures imposed by Australia as a response to coronavirus pandemic and expected to remain at least till the end of 2021, are leading to a major slump in the country’s population growth.
The population of Australia has been growing at an average rate of 1.5 per cent over the past 20 years. But because of the pandemic, the population growth is expected to shrink to 0.2 percent over the next year, which is the lowest rate since 1916.
According to Lowe, the fast population growth of Australia in recent decades had been a major factor that shaped the country’s economy. “It has underpinned our relatively fast growth in GDP (gross domestic product) compared with other advanced economies,” he said.
The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the size of Australia immigration program. It is expected that the borders will gradually reopen in the first six months of next year. Though the reopening of the borders is expected to give an impetus to the Australian economy, it will take time for the economic activities to go back to normal pace.
Why is skilled immigration important for Australia?
Australia closed its borders to non-citizens non-residents in March. The economy of Australia is increasingly dependent on skilled immigration. Immigration is also a major driver of population growth in Australia. Experts point out that the cut in skilled immigration will have significant and lasting impacts on the Australian economy, as the slow population growth will result in slow economic growth. The fall in the number of international students has already affected the higher education sector of the country. As the skilled immigration program of Australia targeted candidates in the age group of 25-35, migration had made Australia one of the youngest developed nations with a median age of 37.The fall in migration is expected to reduce birth rate and accelerate the aging of the population.
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