Australian Temporary Visa Holder Statistics July 31, 2023
The Australian Department of Home Affairs publishes data via the Australian Bureau of Statistics on temporary visa holders in Australia. The most recent data comes from July 31, 2023. The highlights include:
- There were 2.55m visa holders in Australia as at the end of July;
- Students (500 visas) have flooded back into Australia post COVID and with trade tensions easing with China, with close to 655,000 more than doubling in numbers from a low of close to 316,000 as at December 31 2021;
- Working Holiday Makers (417 and 462 visas) remain strong despite the winter “off-season” at 131,000, up from a low of 23,000 in December 2021;
- Recent changes to the 485 Graduate Visa Program has seen a significant uplift from 89,000 visa holders pre-COVID (December 2019) to close to 200,000 at the end of July 2023;
Visas and the Australian workforce
Australia’s unemployment rate was just 3.7% in July 2023 even with the post-COVID influx of both the temporary visa holder workforce and a healthy permanent migration program.
Visitor Visas In Australia
Visitor visas, for whom do not have work rights, were around 330,000 as at 31 July 2023 which is up on mid-winter visitors from 2019 (pre-COVID) when there were around 315,000 in Australia.
Working Holiday Visas Australia
Looking at 417 and 462 working holiday visas, which peaked at 141,000 as at December 31, 2019 and bottomed at 19,324 2 years later – we had 131,300 working holiday visas in Australia as at 31 July 2023.
Assessing the quarterly trend, pre-COVID to now, we can see a slight off-season/winter drop in July, but we’d expect a big boost from now until the end of 2023 with peak-season summer ahead:
Our expectation is that there is continued pent-up demand for Working Holiday Makers (WHM) in Australia created by the COVID border closures and with the new UK 417s (age limit increase to 35 and 3 year visas rather than 1). We expect that on current trends, WHM arrivals should exceed departures now we are in spring and coming into peak summer season – meaning we could end up with close to 200,000 WHMs this summer in Australia.
Student visas have recovered from a low of 315,949 as at December 31 2021, to 654,870 as at July 31, 2023 easily exceeding the pre-COVID peak of 633,816 as at September 30 2019.
In summary, the trend in Students returning is solid, but not as dramatic a recovery as Working Holiday Makers. We also doubt that Australia will regain the pre-COVID level student numbers for many years:
After a dramatic decrease in the final quarter of 2022 (which saw a massive 44% drop in just 1 quarter as Home Affairs powered through the visa application backlog), Bridging Visas numbers have level out in recent months with 176,965 active bridging visas as at July 31.
Skilled employment visas
Then there’s the temporary resident, skilled employment visas, they dropped from 143,000 as at June 30 2019, to 94,500 over the subsequent 3 years, zapping another 50,000 workers from out labour market! This has now recovered marginally to 132,277 as at July 31, 2023.
Where Australian Temporary Visa Numbers Have Landed
As you can see from the above, temporary visa holder are still flooding into Australia! Students are back. Working Holiday Makers are here in big numbers. Skilled visas are well and truly recovering. Bridging visas have levelled out!
Here’s the full break-down courtesy of data.gov.au: