The latest publication by Belinda Allen, Director of Australian Economics at CBA explains how the rapid lift in net overseas migration has been stronger than policy makers, and we expected over the past year.

  • Australia’s population forecasts are being upgraded due to a surge in net overseas migration.
  • A lift of 400,000 net overseas migrants are expected in 2022/23, compared to the previous forecast of 235,000.
  • Around half the lift has been driven by international students, with more arrivals and less departures (due to visa changes).
  • The lift in population will have implications for labour supply and wages growth, but also inflation in the Australian economy.

The latest official data (Q3 22) confirmed there was a record lift of net overseas migration of 106,000 in Q3 22. Annual net overseas migration sits at 303,700, just shy of the annual record set in December 2008.

This took the rate of annual population growth to 1.6%, back above where it was pre pandemic. The expectation is population growth to reach over 2%/yr. Net overseas migration is expected to reach 400,000 in 2022/23, well up on the 235,000 forecast in the October budget. 2023/24 should also be updated to around 315,000. Despite these upgrades Australia’s population will still be smaller than expected pre pandemic given temporary border closures in 2020 and 2021.

Read Belinda’s full report

CBA’s Global Economic and Markets Research team publishes a wide range of economic and financial research each week covering the latest data, trends, policy developments and topical issues in Australia and other major economies. To access these publications please visit the GEMR website.

Our Economic Expert

Belinda Allen has considerable experience as a financial markets economist. Belinda joined the Commonwealth Bank in 2017 but started as a graduate at CBA years ago. Her work primarily involves developing and communicating views on the Australian and International economies. Prior to joining the Bank, Belinda spent over 10 years at Colonial First State Global Asset Management, the Bank's asset management arm as a Senior Analyst in the Economic and Market Research Team. Belinda holds a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Applied Finance from Macquarie University and has been awarded the CFA designation.