Wealthy expats returning to Australia after living overseas for years are helping to boost the economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
About 400,000 Aussies – including businessmen, tourists and expats – have returned Down Under since March when the pandemic spread rapidly around the world.
Many of them are working for companies, setting up businesses and buying property, helping to stimulate demand after lockdowns pushed the nation into its first recession since the early 1990s.
Property website realestate.com.au found demand from overseas buyers surged by 42 per cent between March and July 2020 as Aussies looked to come home.
Expats returning to Australia after living overseas for years are helping to boost the economy. Pictured: A family arriving in Canberra from Singapore
About 400,000 Aussies – including businessmen, tourists and expats – have returned Down Under since March. Pictured: Bondi Beach as busy as ever despite the tourist ban
Economists say the huge influx of expats has helped offset the ban on international tourists, students and immigrants which will see Australia’s population growth shrink to 0.2 per cent this financial year, the lowest rate in more than 100 years.
Net overseas migration will be -72,000 this financial year – down from 154,000 last year – but the figure would be worse without expats returning in such large numbers.
‘Were it not for expats coming back, the slump in migration would be a lot worse, there’s no doubt about that,’ AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver told Daily Mail Australia.
‘It’s helped soften the blow a little bit,’ he added.
Population growth, mostly due to migration as Australia’s birth-rate declines, is key to economic growth as it results in more people spending, earning and paying tax to fund schools and hospitals.
Dr Oliver said the return of expats is particularly beneficial for property price growth in city suburbs and regional towns.
‘It impacts demand for houses in outer suburbs more because Australians are more wiling to live an hour away from the cities compared with students and temporary migrants,’ he said.
Australians are returning via hotel quarantine. Pictured: Health workers prepare to receive a flight from Singapore in Canberra
‘Expats coming back probably help the real estate market in places like Sydney’s northern beaches or Cronulla while units in the city suffer from the lack of students.’
Dr Oliver also said the return of expats could signal an end to Australia’s ‘brain drain’ which has seen highly educated workers leave the country to pursue careers abroad.
‘There has been a bit of a brain drain over the years as many Australians think they’re better off in Europe or the US or Asia. Many of them are now coming back which helps,’ he said.
A survey by Advance earlier this month found that 32 per cent of returned expats have a new job, 19 per cent are looking for a job, 18 per cent are working remotely for the same employer, 15 per cent are starting a business and 10 per cent have transferred to the Australian office of their current employer.
Dr Oliver said a reduction in the emigration of skilled workers could be a lasting impact of coronavirus because Australia’s relative success at dealing with the pandemic has reminded workers that it’s a desirable place to live.
Some Australians are being flow from London and India to the Howard Springs quarantine facility (pictured) near Darwin as expats return home
‘Now there will be a lot of Australians thinking ”we’ve had one pandemic, we could have another one and Australia’s a better place to be if there is another one”,’ he said.
‘People put more weight on quality of life now so this return of expats could go on for a while as people re-think where they want to be.’
However, Dr Oliver said the return of expats was relatively insignificant in terms of Australia’s overall economic performance.
‘It may help at the margin but I think the big factors have been better virus control, better policy stimulus moves like JobKeeper and better export performance given that our key markets have performed better than the US and Europe,’ he said.
In normal times about 1 million Australians live and work overseas.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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