According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ document, Migration, Australia, these are the approximate figures for Australia’s recent immigrants by country of birth:
In the year ending June 30, 2020, just under 50,000 of our immigrants came from “North-West Europe”, which is mainly the UK. In the same period there “were 509,600 overseas migrant arrivals, 40,800 fewer than 2019”.
It is hard to find an official statement of the immigration category under which migrants from “North-West Europe” arrived, but few (if any) would have been accepted under the “humanitarian” or “family” categories, since these are euphemisms for refugees and dependant family members not otherwise eligible for entry to Australia.
It is therefore safe to assume that the overwhelming majority (or maybe all) the North-West Europeans were “skilled” migrants.
The graph below shows the lifelong economic cost or benefit of individuals from the different migrant categories. It comes from the 2021 Intergenerational Report, prepared by the Commonwealth Treasury and viewable here:
The first column here, labelled “Skilled Primary”, is the one that includes most British migrants. It indicates that on average each British migrant adds $319,000 to the Australian budget over the course of a lifetime. (This figure does not include their other contributions to Australia’s prosperity, such as entrepreneurship and voluntary work – so their total contribution would be significantly higher.)
The second column, labelled “Skilled Secondary”, refers to the spouses and children of people in the first column. On average, these people cost the budget $18,000 over the course of a lifetime.
Some of these people are British migrants, but a much larger percentage would be from sources other than “North-West Europe”. Therefore the combined contributions of British migrants in both categories would be highly positive.
Family Reunion immigrants cost the Australian budget $137,000 over the course of a lifetime, and refugees set us back $367,000.
Writing in The Australian, 13/7/21, p.11, economist Judith Sloan commented: “Take the most recent (permanent) migration program planning levels of 160,000. The skill total is 79,600. But only 55 per cent of this number would be primary applicants.
In other words, only 27 per cent of the permanent intake will make a positive fiscal impact, on the Treasury’s figures. The others will cause a fiscal drain and, in total, there will be an adverse fiscal loss because of the composition of the migrant intake.
Incidentally, the permanent planning levels don’t include the humanitarian intake, which is set at 13,750 a year. Including these visa holders significantly adds to the adverse fiscal impact.”
How does this affect the average Australian taxpayer?
Well, the 50,000 or so migrants from “North-West Europe” in the year ending June 2020 will improve the budget by a total of at least $15,950,000,000 over the course of each one’s lifetime.
That means more money for schools, hospitals, roads, police, the military, fire brigades, nature reserves and the like. To put this in perspective, the figure above can be expressed as $15.9 billion. The most expensive building ever constructed in Australia was the Royal Adelaide Hospital, completed in 2018 at a cost of $2.4 billion.
Therefore just one year’s worth of British migrants could, over their lifetime, finance the building of 6.6 new Royal Adelaide Hospitals – one each for Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart and Perth, plus slightly smaller ones in Canberra and Darwin.
It is important to note that this British (or “North-West Europe”) fiscal contribution occurs year after year. So if 50,000 Brits arrive every year for ten years, their aggregate contribution to the budget will be $159.5 billion. To put this in perspective, the 2021 budget for the Australian Armed Forces is $44.62 billion.
By contrast, the relatively small (13,750) “humanitarian” intake of FY 2020 will cost Australian taxpayers $5,046,250,000 – or a tad over $5 billion, year after year. In other words, we need three productive British migrants for every self-proclaimed refugee – just to break even!
It is obvious that from a fiscal viewpoint Australia needs an immigration policy with more migrants from “North-West Europe”.
Since people from that region are not clamouring to come here, the only alternative is to restrict immigrants from the regions that are a drain on our economy. If we fail to do so the diminishing number of taxpayers in Australia will have to pay more and more, year after year, and Australia will slump further toward Third World status.
This is not merely a matter of “dry” economics. Our federal government is overspending right now because of the skew in our immigration policy toward migrants who are a drain on the budget. In other words, we are borrowing to cover the gap.
But this borrowing will have to be repaid, one way or another, sooner or later. It will be up to future generations to decide how this is to be done, long after the current crop of politicians in Canberra is gone.
They might choose to reduce the entitlements for people who are by then retired, or to impose death duties, or to attack older Australians in other ways. And if our current immigration policy continues without reform, by then a majority of young voters will not be from “North-West Europe”.