BLUF

Half of Australian expatriates have now returned home due to COVID-19, or political unrest—bringing much-needed skilled workers back into the country.

Summary

Almost a million Australians were living abroad prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak, almost half that number have returned home. Most ex-pats have returned because they see Australia as a safe haven from the pandemic, but in other cases—such as in Hong Kong—ex-pats are returning because of political unrest. Estimates suggest that about one-third of returned ex-pats intend to move back overseas in the future. In the meantime, however, Australia is gaining much-needed skill-sets through the return of these, mostly white-collar workers. Despite this, experts say these Australians' return hasn't offset the loss of skilled workers who have either returned to their own countries or been prevented from arriving in Australia.