Sydney, Australia, Jul 24 (efe-epa).- The population growth of Australia, which is highly dependent on immigration, will fall to the lowest levels since 1917 due to COVID-19, the head of the office of Oceanic Country Treasury Josh Frydenberg said Friday.
The Government of Australia, a country of about 25.5 million inhabitants, closed its borders last March due to the pandemic, twelve months after limiting the annual quota of permanent migration to 160,000, as well as conditioning the arrival of qualified foreigners in areas of the interior of the country, less populated.
“Given the decline in net migration from abroad, annual population growth is expected to slow to just 0.6 percent in 2021, the lowest rate since the years 1916-1917,” Frydenberg told the club. the press in Canberra.
The population of Australia, which in the middle of the last century was intended to increase by two percent – half due to the arrival of foreigners -, grew by 1.4 percent in 2019, according to official data.
Last year’s increase was due 60.2 percent to immigration from other countries, which is also driven by international students.
These young foreigners contributed a total of USD 24,616 million (about EUR 22,588 million) to the Australian economy in the 2018-19 fiscal year, making education the fourth largest export in this country, after coal, iron and natural gas.
With the intention of reviving this important sector, the Australian authorities announced this week that they will begin to process the visas of foreign students and will make their visa conditions more flexible to those who have already obtained them if they have experienced problems due to COVID-19.
With the borders closed, predictably until the end of the year, and with a recession in tow that has knocked down 30 years of economic growth, Australia faces the great challenge of reviving its economy, which is expected to fall 3.75 percent this year , especially in inland areas where labor and skilled workers are scarce.
With more than 13,600 cases, including 139 deaths, Australia has suppressed the virus in most of its territory, but is facing a crisis due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Melbourne, where more than 4,500 infections have been registered since the beginning of this month.
Melbourne and the neighboring rural municipality of Mitchell began a new six-week confinement on Jul. 9, although they have not been able to stop local transmissions, but despite the measure many people, including temporary workers, with symptoms or waiting for tests, they continued to take to the streets.
For this reason, Australian authorities have deployed 3,100 soldiers across the country, half of them in Victoria, to help contain COVID-19, which is also spreading locally in the state of New South Wales, the main country and whose capital is Sydney.
In contrast, other jurisdictions in the country without COVID-19 plan to reopen an “air bubble” between them, although the expected reopening of borders with New Zealand, a country that has eliminated the coronavirus, will have to wait.
Following the crisis generated by COVID-19 and to mitigate the impact of the recession, it has allocated a total of AUD 289,000 million (USD 206,330 million or EUR 178,226 million), the equivalent of 14.6 percent of GDP in aid and stimulus, subsidy and tax programs. EFE-EPA