Skilled Australians' departure at record
Sydney Morning Herald
October 6, 2008 – 9:08PM
Australia has experienced its biggest annual exodus on record with 76,923 people leaving the country permanently in 2007-08, a new report shows.
And it appears the skills crisis is only set to worsen with the report showing almost half of those who left Australia permanently were in skilled jobs.
Almost two thirds of those who left the country permanently were aged between 25 and 54.
A further 102,066 Australian residents left the country for a year or more with more than 55 per cent in professional occupations or trades, the Emigration 2007-2008 report shows.
Immigration Minister Chris Evans said the figures showed that emigration played a significant role in Australia's current skills shortage.
“Historically high numbers of our young, highly skilled people are moving overseas to live and work,” Senator Evans said.
The exodus in 2007-08 represents a 6.7 per cent increase on the previous year and a 325 per cent increase on the low of 18,100 people who left permanently in 1985-86.
“These latest figures also reflect the current global demand for skills and the internationalisation of the labour market as part of the broader process of globalisation,” Senator Evans said.
The main countries of intended residence for all permanent departures were New Zealand (18.4 per cent), the United Kingdom (17.8 per cent), the United States (9.3 per cent), Hong Kong (7.2 per cent) and Singapore (6.4 per cent).
Those leaving are almost equally divided between Australian born and overseas born.
Residents of NSW led the exodus with 31,390 people, followed by Victoria (16,408), Queensland (15,289), Western Australia (8,388) and South Australia (3,140).
Of the permanent departures, 39,467 or 51 per cent were men compared to 37,456 women (49 per cent).
Although there were 149,635 permanent arrivals in 2007-08, the net gain – arrivals minus permanent departures – was the 10th highest recorded.