Net overseas migration recovers to 171,000 in 2021-22

Media Release

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 had seen a net loss of 85,000 people which represented the lowest level of net overseas migration since World War 1.

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

“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 when compared with last year (395,000 from 146,000), while migrant departures fell 3 per cent (224,000 from 231,000).

  1. Estimates from 1972 onwards are year ending June, prior to 1972 they are year ending December.
  2. Estimates for 2021-22 are preliminary.

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 when compared with 2020-21 (239,900 from 29,600). This increase has been largely driven by student visa holders. The number of people migrating to Australia on permanent visas also saw an increase in 2021-22 compared with 2020-21 (67,900 from 37,000).

Overseas migrant arrivals by visa groupings(a)
  2018-192020-212021-22Annual change 2020-21 to 2021-22
Visa groupings(b)'000'000'000'000
Permanent visas    
 Skilled (permanent)38.214.627.212.6
 Special eligibility & humanitarian15.
 Other (permanent)
 Total permanent visas85.437.067.930.9
Temporary visas    
 Student - vocational education and training22.
 Student - higher education111.30.796.996.2
 Student - other30.40.720.119.5
 Skilled (temporary)
 Working holiday49.11.013.512.5
 Other (temporary)13.410.428.017.6
 Total temporary visas350.729.6239.9210.3
New Zealand citizens (subclass 444)(c)30.517.023.26.3
Australian citizens (no visa required)78.961.461.2-0.2
  1. Estimates for 2021-22 are preliminary.
  2. The visa at time of traveller's overseas migration arrival date. The number of visas here should not be confused with information on visas granted by the Department of Home Affairs as visas can be granted onshore.
  3. Visa subclass 444 is granted to New Zealand citizens upon arrival in Australia if they have not already been granted another visa.
  4. Includes unknown visas.

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.

Media notes

  • Consistent with international definitions, a person is regarded by the ABS as a migrant to Australia if they have been, or are expected to be, residing in Australia for 12 months or more, regardless of their citizenship, type of visa, or legal status. That means these statistics will differ from information on the numbers of visas granted by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
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