Stricter student immigration slows Australian population growth

29 March 2011

Australia's population growth has declined due to tougher student immigration rules, which has reduced net immigration by over a third.

New rules introduced in recent years require students to have more money to fund their stay and makes it more difficult for students to live and work in Australia after finishing their studies.

According to numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, net overseas migration fell to 185,800 in the year leading up to September of 2010. The previous year to September 2009 saw a net immigration level of 288,000.

The Gillard government has tried to curb net immigration but is now facing pressure by Australian businesses to increase skilled immigration.

The Business Council of Australia is urging the government to increase temporary skilled migration to meet labour gaps in the natural resources sector, such as in the mining industry.

The government is expected to ease student immigration rules as well, to help Australia's education sector.