Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

With the end of 2021, we would like to thank our family, friends and our client for a great year.


Despite all these trials this year, we made it, again. We would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hope everyone can enjoy the holiday seasons through to the New Year.


We, at Alex Halim & Associates will remain available for all your immigration needs all the way up until 24 December 2021, and we will return 10 January 2022.


Let us all return with renewed spirits and refreshed souls.

 

COVID-19 Continues

All About Omicron


Just as an end was coming into sight, a new variant has emerged and is fast becoming the dominant strain of COVID-19. With first official cases being identified in South Africa, the variant is believed to have spread to Western Europe within day.


On 26 November 2021, the World Health Organization designated the Omicron (Variant B.1.1.529) as a variant of concern, based on the advice of the WHO's Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution, who had presented evidence that Omicron had several mutations that may have an impact on how it behaved - spread and severity.


The World Health Organization is still investigating the impacts, however there are concerns of increased risk in both re-infection in previously infected people, as well as in those who are fully vaccinated.


Again, it is another period of uncertainty while the leading scientists and researchers work to uncover more about the variant.



"With the numbers going up, all health systems are going to be under strain"

-- Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organisation



 

Net Migration Forecasts

Mid-Year Econimic Fiscal Outlook Revises Net Migration Figures.


Net migration into Australia has been revised according to new data that the government has applied in the modelling, updating a -77.400 in 2021 to -41,000; almost doubling the 95,900 forecasted migrated to 180.000 for 2022; and marginally increasing the 2023 forecast from 201,100 to 213,000.


These changes are mostly based on the earlier than forecasted opening of borders, which has been brought forward from July 2022 to December this year. It is believed that a majority of the net influx are those who already hold visas, particularly the overseas students and graduate visa holders that have been unable to come onshore with the border closures.


The number of student and graduate visa holders is estimated to exceed 114,000 and is expected make up a large proportion of the 2022 figure of net migration.


Experts debate on the affect this will have on the economy, however many sources believe that the higher net migration will be able to feed into the strong labour market that has been an issue for many Australian businesses.



"The changes, announced late last month, were expected to benefit about 20,000 primary temporary skill shortage workers."


-- Alex Hawke, Australian Immigration Minister

 

Wage and Migration

The Other Side of the Story



With the extra arrivals of 180,000 and 213,000 expected in the following years, some trade unions indicate concerns over the predicted wage growth for June 2022 and beyond.


While there is no contention regarding Australia's need for positive net migration, the concern arises from the sudden shift from -141,000 to back to 180,000 net arrivals.


Simply put, the trade unions are highlighting that competition will slow wages growth, when the same number of jobs have to accomodate a significantly larger people in such a short period of time.


On the other hand, businesses hold the view that greater number of businesses will increase the spending within the economy, ultimately creating more opportunities that lead to not only more jobs, but also wage growth.





 

Costs Keep Building

Building Expenses Just Keep Rising




Once upon a time, building a single-storey home on a small block would have costed around $200,000. For that, you are likely to get the four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a double garage—with some tiles and carpet.


Now the builder will charge another $50,000 for the same house—and they're not to blame either.


That's because the costs incurred by the builder for each house build—the cost of labour and the cost of materials—are all increasing due to shortages.


Those builders with existing contracts are honouring the contract prices, and many have to completed houses while incurring a loss.


"I’ve never seen a situation like this where you’ve got a supply chain disrupted to this extent."


-- Mario Biasin

Founder of Australia's Largest Builder: Metricon

 


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