OECD’s Comprehensive Study on Migration’s Impact on Australia’s Economy

⚡️ Highlights:

1. Australia has the second highest share of migrants in the OECD, after Luxembourg, at 30% of the population, which is more than twice the OECD average of 14%.

2. Migrants in Australia contribute to higher labour productivity for Australian-born workers. A region with a larger migrant share has a larger regional wage difference, indicating a positive link between migration and labour productivity.

3. Migration has a positive impact on employment for the Australian-born population without affecting their wages. A 1% increase in the annual migrant inflow leads to a 0.53% increase in the employment of Australian-born individuals across all skill levels, ages, and genders.

4. Migration also boosts patenting in Australia. A higher employment share of higher-educated migrants leads to a 4.8% increase in regional patent applications in the medium run (five years).

5. However, there is no effect of migration on trademarks or design rights applications in Australia.

In a landmark partnership with the OECD, the Centre for Population has unveiled the profound effects of migration on Australia’s economy through a series of research papers released between early 2023 and 2024. This collaboration has produced four pivotal OECD research papers, utilizing the ABS’s Person Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA) for an in-depth analysis, offering granular insights into how migration influences regional productivity, local labour markets, and innovation within Australia.

Key Findings from the OECD Research

  1. Australia’s Migrant Population: As of 2019, Australia boasted the second-highest share of migrants in the OECD, with 30% of its population born overseas, highlighting the country’s significant reliance on migration.
  2. Positive Impact on Labour Productivity: The presence of migrants has been shown to enhance the labour productivity of Australian-born workers, with regions having a higher share of migrants witnessing a corresponding increase in regional wages.
  3. Employment and Wages: Migration has a beneficial effect on the employment rates of the Australian-born population without adversely affecting wages, indicating that migrants complement the local workforce.
  4. Innovation Boost: Higher-educated migrants significantly contribute to regional innovation, with a notable increase in patent applications, underscoring the value of skilled migration to Australia’s creative and technological advancement.
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Implications for Australia’s Economy

These findings underscore the critical role of migration in bolstering Australia’s economic resilience, enhancing productivity, and fostering innovation. The distinction between the positive impacts on both the labour market and regional innovation highlights the multifaceted benefits of migration, beyond merely addressing population growth or filling employment gaps.


The OECD’s research, in collaboration with the Centre for Population, offers compelling evidence of migration’s beneficial effects on Australia’s economy. By enhancing productivity, supporting employment, and driving innovation, migrants play a pivotal role in shaping the economic landscape of Australia, making a strong case for the continued support and facilitation of migration policies that harness these positive impacts.

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