Feb 19, 2024

Australia's opening up for business – how are you going to support New Australians?

Labor Government has increased the number of permanent migration visas in 2022-23 from 160,000 to 195,000. Is that enough?

Australia's opening up for business – how are you going to support New Australians?

The Albanese Labor Government has increased the numberof permanent migration visas available in 2022-23 from 160,000 to 195,000 places, effective immediately.

We know migration increases employment, increases consumption of goods and services, extends workforce participation capabilities, and grows Australia's GDP. That's what government and industry collectively want. Growth.

But is 195,000 places per year enough to really stimulate our economy?

There are quite a few economists that don't think so.

Australia's leading economists have overwhelmingly endorsed a return to the highest immigration intake on record, saying Australia should aim for at least 190,000 migrants per year as it opens its borders, up from the target of 160,000 per year set ahead of COVID. 1

UNSW economist Gigi Foster said in the wake of Australia's responses to COVID its challenge was not so much what target to set but rather how to convince immigrants to come here. 1

Melbourne University's Chris Edmond said if Australia had the same per capita target as Canada, it would have a permanent intake of 250,000 per year.1

The University of Sydney's James Morely said 190,000 was less than 1% of the population and was not a target for net migration as that would be determined by the number of Australians who left and returned and the number who came in temporarily under other schemes. 1

Given the low birth rates and a need for a balanced age profile, Australia should probably target permanent visas of 320,000 - 1.25% of the current population. 1

How opening our borders works for us

We live in a country built around multiculturalism. Australia has one of the most culturally diverse populations in the world. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)describes us well: "We have more than 300 different ancestries, and 28% of our resident population is born overseas —nearly 7 million people. We're a nation of nations – we speak more than 300 languages." This diversity brings innovation and richness to our everyday lives. Each migrant has an individual story and has contributed over generations.

The value of New Australians is vital to your business

Migrants are critical to the recovery of our economy – this is a fact. In addition to being individuals who create jobs or fulfil skills we desperately need, they are consumers with an enormous spending power that drives our economy. Australia's projected population will be 38 million by 2050, and migration will contribute$1,625 billion (1.6 trillion) to Australia's GDP.

Moreover, migration will have added 15.7% to our workforce participation rate, 21.9% to after-tax real wages for low-skilled workers and a 5.9% growth in GDP. In the latest census, the following was discovered:

  • Migrant taxpayers generated $112 billion in total personal income.
  • About 91% of total income was employee income ($102 billion).
  • Skilled migrants generated 72% of the total income earned by migrants.
  • 28% held a family visa (25% were primary applicants)
  • 5.7% had a provisional visa (4.8% were primary applicants)
  • 5.1% held a humanitarian visa (2.6% were primary applicants)

Migrants are essential to our economy. So how can we help them?

Starting a new life in a new country is supposed to be a time of excitement. However, for many new migrants, it can also be a time of adversity given the associated challenges, which include:

  • Social isolation
  • Economic constraints
  • Inadequate welfare, health and mental health support
  • Fear of no safety and protection

Another factor that drives disadvantage is 'communication'. Being able to communicate isn't just restricted to migrants either. Communication barriers also impact those in the community who are blind, deaf or hard of hearing. Geography and where we live is also another critical factor that influences how members of our community integrate into society. All these factors must be considered when looking at what accessibility means and how we can put mechanisms in place to support these groups together.

Inclusion and Accessibility is the key to growth in your business.

Fundamentally, your organisation should be accessible to 100% of your audience in every language across every customer touch point.

All people should be included across all facets of how you do business.

  • Migrants must be able to access your business by phone, email, web, chat, in-store or online.
  • Migrants need access to information in their native language.
  • Migrants need to be able to speak to someone in your business in their native language.
  • Migrants need to be able to interact with your business in their native language.
Think about your Customer Experience Strategy – how does this resonate with your customers that speak a language other than English? Most probably, it doesn't.

That's why with Australia's migration program kicking off in full-flight, this is the perfect time to revisit your language services strategy to ensure you've got the right partner in place to support your business and your migrant customers.

If you would like to speak with experts in language services transformation, that possess decades of experience in this market, feel free to reach out to us today.


1.     When we open up, open up big: economists say we need more migrants (theconversation.com)


Jacqui Gigliotti
Written By

Jacqui Gigliotti