Did you ever wonder why the outcomes from net overseas migration (NOM) and the Migration Program do not look the same? Put simply NOM includes all long term temporary and permanent migration whereas the Migration Program only counts permanent migration.
Net Overseas Migration
Net Overseas Migration (NOM) is the net gain or loss of population through immigration to Australia and emigration from Australia. Overseas arrivals only count as NOM arrivals if they are inAustraliafor 12 months or more over a 16 month period. Conversely, overseas departures are subtracted from NOM if they are away for 12 months or more over a 16 month period. So the level of NOM is the balance of NOM arrivals minus NOM departures—easy!
This ‘12/16 month rule’ means almost all short term movements such as tourists do not count as either NOM arrivals or departures. It also means that people who are not permanent residents ofAustraliacan be counted as NOM arrivals so long as their residency stints add up to 12 months within a 16 month period.
Permanent Migration Program
The permanent migration program refers to the number of visas granted during a given year against specific visa streams. These streams are skilled, family and special eligibility. The permanent program provides visas to people who are not Australian residents and wish to live in Australia permanently. Of these visas granted 25% of family, 59% of skilled and 89% of special eligibility visas (for 2010-11) are granted to people currently inAustralia, that is onshore. Onshore grants of permanent visas are effectively NOM neutral as the applicant will already have been counted in to NOM after their initial temporary stay. So NOM arrivals are a combination of temporary and permanent migrants.
Why is NOM so important?
NOM is effectively how we measure migration’s contribution toAustralia’s population growth. For instance the March 2011 NOM was 167, 100 which accounted for 54% of our population growth of 1.4% for that 12 month period—the other 46% coming from natural increase (births minus deaths). NOM is a truer reflection on what is occuring in our communities and labour markets than permanent migration, particularly given our large temporary student and worker populations. NOM also captures long term New Zealander movements in and out ofAustralia, which are not covered under our permanent migration program. While the Migration Program hands out the prize of Australian permanent residency to individuals and has been and remains an important focus of our work NOM is a better measure of what is actually happening out there.
NOM and Permanent Migration Program: Back in Balance
For the first time in six years, DIAC forecast the level of NOM for the year ending June 2011 to be 171 200, well below the number of permanent residence visas granted during that year. This drop in NOM restores the long-run relationship where the number of permanent residence visas and NOM move roughly in tandem and corrects the previous spike in NOM for the year ending
December 2008 where NOM reached 315 700 and when temporary residents seemed to be staying longer term. Further reforms and strengthened integrity measures for our student and immigration programs have now restored the long term balance.