Population, Immigration and Net Overseas Migration NOM
Interesting article on immigration and NOM net overseas migration by former Australian Department of Immigration Deputy Secretary Abul Rizvi endeavouring to insert some understanding and clarity round the ‘immigration’ debate when most misunderstand, misinterpret or misrepresent immigration and population data.
This is manifested in media, political and public narratives that focus upon the NOM and the false notion that it is both unusually high and can be micromanaged; underpinned by lack of detail or ‘solution’ to lowering the NOM (without assessment of broader societal impacts).
‘NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Putting the numbers back into the immigration debate
ABUL RIZVI 20 FEBRUARY 2018
Drastically reducing net migration would be neither easy nor wise, says a former senior official.
How governments manage migration is a big deal. A perception of too many arrivals drove the Brexit result in Britain, helped define the Trump presidency, and fuelled the rising populist vote in Europe. Japan’s ageing population is driving its government to increase immigration — but ever so cautiously, recognising the likely backlash from its largely homogeneous population. And the same demographic forces have driven China to try to attract back part of its huge diaspora.
Yet, despite our long immigration tradition, Australia’s immigration debate is tortured and surprisingly poorly informed. Until very recently, this was not helped by the Turnbull government’s eerie silence on immigration levels and population policy. Immigration minister Peter Dutton’s tentative foray late last week should therefore be welcomed.
Given the complexities, immigration ministers have an obligation to be accurate with the data and honest about the range of issues to be considered in significantly reducing the intake. Dutton was neither.’
Issues and Critique of Net Overseas Migration Statistics and Data
The NOM is a measure of movements, not designed as an ‘immigration’ target but merely measures numbers of people (irrespective of nationality, visa status and includes Australians) who enter Australia with the intention of remaining longer than 12/16+ months (ABS, 2017).
Rizvi cites several variables or inputs that would be required to control or lower the NOM. This would include restricting rights of Australians marrying foreigners, restricting numbers of international students, preclude second year visas for working holiday makers doing agricultural work, close the refugee program, limit New Zealanders and seek out overstayers.
Other issues or features neither understood nor highlighted:
- Few nations use the same NOM as a measure to estimate resident population apart from Australia, UK and NZ then e.g. in the EU Schengen Zone it’s impossible due to free movement and that most nations appear to estimate from e.g. residency registration or census data (UN, 2015).
- Rizvi also fails to mention the cumulative statistical impact of an ageing population of citizens and permanent residents (includes significant numbers of British subjects) who were already in country 2006 when line was drawn in the sand on population; many have neither departed nor returned to Australia long term and have two impacts upon the data (and census). First is longevity due to better health hence staying in the data longer (though invisible) being attributed to ‘immigration’. However, this will change when the baby boomer demographic starts departing this earth in the medium long term in about five years onwards i.e. deaths will outnumber births for long term thus impacting the estimated resident population significantly. This is also set against already declining fertility rates and global population ex. Sub Saharan Africa, expected to peak by mid-century as explained by development, medical and statistics expert Professor Hans Rosling (Gapminder, 2013).
- A significant financial reason for encouraging temporary residents with no likelihood of permanent residency outcomes, whether students, backpackers etc., is as net financial contributors paying taxes without future access to state services. In other words, they support or subsidise increasing numbers of retirees needing pensions, health care etc. dependent upon healthy state budgets (with decreasing dependency ratio of workforce tax payer numbers to retirees).
- Further, statistical analysis has found that not only is the NOM very confusing, it may over estimate Australia’s population significantly, through double counting those not in country but not outside for more than 12/16+ months:
‘Except on migration. On this single metric, it’s as if the entire world converges into a deafeningly silent consensus. Population! At last a hard number. Something tangible, physical, consistent. The cacophony of economic debate subsides as everyone gather’s around to pay homage at the altar of the purest, simplest driver of demand, production, and everything else. The one undisputed back-stop to debate…Trying to find a simple and defensible explanation of a complex issue isn’t easy. But for migration, I think there is one. I’ll describe it here in prose, and in a later post gather some of the graphs and data that support it. There has been a level shift. But it hasn’t been in ‘migration’, as everyone actually intends and understands the word. The shift that we should be talking about has been in mobility.’ (Quixotic Quant, 2017a).
‘The alternative story is that sometime in the mid-2000s the Australian Bureau of Statistics changed the definition of an official statistic called “Net Overseas Migration”. The arbitrary definition they had at the time was malfunctioning, and the next arbitrary one they changed to has been malfunctioning even worse. A blithely ignorant press didn’t even notice the change, let alone query the disfunction that inspired it, so the entire country has been putting their faith soaring population figure that has the integrity of custard. The harder alternative figure shows that our migration rate is actually flat’ (Quixotic Quant, 2017b).
- By using ‘Migration’ in NOM to describe the definition may simply be a linguistic coincidence, however, it is highly suggestive of a direct correlation with permanent immigration and long-term population growth, which does not exist (except by some indirect correlation set amongst other factors).
- The local and global NGOs, think tanks, institutes, commentators, ‘ecologists’, media and politicians who constantly highlight supposed negative aspects of immigration and ‘sustainable’ population growth have been influenced or manipulated by the US white nativist movement, with the latter being influential amongst Republican Party and Trump (SPLC, 2001) in turn influenced by Darwin’s cousin Galton’s ‘science of eugenics and racial hygiene’ (Das, 2015).
- Post WWII prior to the formation of the UN Population Council the Rockefeller Foundation (Standard Oil/Exxon Mobil) co-opted the American Eugenics Society (AES) which had become discredited by the Nazis and their ‘research’ at The Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes in Germany, to then form the UN Population Council (Kurbegovic, 2005 & Novielli, 2017).
- Also, to emerge with support of same and similar oligarchs’ (fossil fuels and auto) foundations were Zero Population Growth (ZPG) (Bentley Historical Library – University of Michigan, 2018), Zero Economic Growth (ZEG) (Daly, 1980) and the Club of Rome ‘limits to growth’, etc. constructs (Green Agenda, 2018) to popularise negative perceptions of population growth and immigration as ‘liberal and environmental’ concerns (Stern, 2005).
- Demographically it is now coming to a head for many whether middle Europe or the ‘Anglosphere’ with the refrain, ‘brown people, Moslems etc. are going to outnumber white people or WASPs leading to demographic suicide….’.
ABS – Australian Bureau of Statistics (2017) 3412.0 – Migration, Australia, 2015-16 Available at: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/exnote/3412.0 (Accessed on: 25 February 2018).
Bentley Historical Library – University of Michigan (2018) John Tanton Papers: 1960-2007. Available at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/b/bhlead/umich-bhl-861056?byte=53770321;focusrgn=bioghist;subview=standard;view=reslist (Accessed on: 27 February 2018).
Daly, H. (1980) Why the Industrial World Needs Zero Economic Growth (Recording). Available at: https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/34007423?selectedversion=NBD22971101 (Accessed on 27 February 2018).
Das, S. (2015) Francis Galton and the History of Eugenics at UCL. Available at: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/museums/2015/10/22/francis-galton-and-the-history-of-eugenics-at-ucl/
Gapminder (2013) Don’t Panic – The Facts About Population. Available at: https://www.gapminder.org/videos/dont-panic-the-facts-about-population/ (Accessed on: 25 February 2018).
Green Agenda (2018) The First Global Revolution. Available at: http://www.green-agenda.com/globalrevolution.html (Accessed on: 27 February 2018).
Kurbegovic, C. (2013). Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics (KWI-A). Available at: http://eugenicsarchive.ca/discover/connections/5233cdc25c2ec500000 Accessed on 25 February 2018).
Novielli, C. (2017) The Population Council has a shocking 65-year history, and it’s nothing to celebrate. Available at: https://www.liveaction.org/news/population-council-founded-eugenicists-promoting-abortion-turns-65/ (Accessed on: 25 February 2018).
Quixotic Quant (2017a) The state of debate: A bird’s-eye on migration. Available at: https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-state-of-debate-a-bird-s-eye-on-migration/ (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).
Quixotic Quant (2017b) The Missing Million: Is Australia’s migration rate actually high? Available at: https://www.quixoticquant.com/post/the-missing-million/ (Accessed on: 27 January 2018).
SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center (2010) Anti-Immigration Groups. Available at: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2001/anti-immigration-groups (Accessed on 25 February 2018).
Stern, M. (2005) Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America. California: University of California Press.
UN – United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2015) International Migration Flows to and From Selected Countries: The 2015 Revision. Available at: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/data/empirical2/docs/migflows2015documentation.pdf (Accessed on: 25 February 2018).