As Australia rebuilds its economy following more than 18 months of COVID-19, a proposed influx of two million migrants over five years could be a "watershed moment in Australian history."
Since Australia closed its international borders in March of last year, business and industry have faced a chronic labour shortage. This has prompted some leaders to call for the immediate reopening of international borders and an increase in migration levels unprecedented since World War II.
So, what effect might this have on Australia?
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the population of Australia increased by only 35,700 people in the year following the closure of its international borders. The growth rate was only 0.1%, a significant decrease from previous years.
The "annual natural increase," which includes births and deaths among Australian residents, remained stable at 131,000. However, this was offset by a significant decrease in net overseas migration, which fell to a negative figure of 95,300. This represents a decrease of 334,600 people from the previous year.
Not since wartime in Australia's history has the country seen anything remotely resembling the demographic shift that has occurred during COVID-19.
Australian businesses were already dealing with labour shortages before the pandemic, and the ongoing border closures have exacerbated the situation.
Australia is heavily reliant on immigration across the board, from unskilled migrants to highly skilled medical professionals.
The basic needs of this country will not be met because the local labour force is insufficient to meet the demands of industries that lack professional labour.
An ambitious boom?
According to the Australian Financial Review, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has been asked by senior bureaucrats to raise his migration target to two million migrants over five years.
They've urged him to advocate for a large-scale immigration programme, similar to the one that occurred after World War II, when Australians were told to "populate or perish."
According to Perrottet, the country is facing a severe labour shortage, which would necessitate a significant increase in migration.
People from a variety of backgrounds, such as labourers, professionals, and so on, will be needed in Australia. It is expected that Australia will continue to see migration from places other than those where it has traditionally welcomed people.
The post-COVID rebuild will be a watershed moment in Australian history, and it will undoubtedly be an exciting time for prospective migrants who have been offering their skills and expertise to help Australia re-establish itself as the workforce powerhouse that it has always been.
Prospective migrants are encouraged to contact an immigration consultancy, have their skills assessed, and have a consultation, the outcome of which will determine whether or not they qualify for Australia's skilled migration programme.