Australian visa holders fuel Western Australia population surge

Western Australia is the country's largest yet sparsest state, meaning the state has relied on Australian visa holders to capitalise on its abundant natural resources in the height of the mining boom.

The state's population has been growing steadily as both Australian and international workers have flocked to high paying positions in the state's remote mining and construction projects, finally reaching 2.5 million people for the first time earlier on this year.

"WA's population nudged 2.5 million people at the end of March, 2013 and grew at annual rate of 3.4% or 82,600," said Bjorn Jarvis from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

While the state's population growth is in line with recent trends, perhaps the most startling is the fact that people overseas account for 63% of Western Australia's total growth in the past year - over 50,000 people.

Mr Jarvis said Western Australia's population is likely to continue to grow as overall migration trends to Australia were also beginning to creep upwards once more.

"Net overseas migration added 238,300 people to Australia's population in the year to March 2013," he said.

"This is around the five-yearly average.

"We're now seeing migration climbing steadily to rates last seen in 2009, though it's still well below the record high of 316,000 in 2008."


The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications with the Australian Embassy.