People moving to Australia to live and work make up the majority of the increase in the nation's population, official figures show.

Australia has always been a popular country for expats thanks to its lifestyle and even changes in immigration rules and visa regulations is not putting people off moving.

Population Growth

(By Katty2016/​

Overall, the population grew by 1.6% in the year to the end of September 2018, reaching 25.1 million, according to the mot up to date figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The population increased by 395,100 people, but this was a drop compared to the 12 months to September 2018, when there was a rise of 407,000 and the growth rates varied across states and territories.

Victoria continued to have the fastest growth at 2.2% while the Northern Territory's population decreased by 0.2%. New South Wales, the most popular state with expats, saw its population increase by 1.5% to eight million people.

Net overseas migration added 240,100 people to the population and accounted for 61% of Australia's total population growth. This is lower than net overseas migration of 259,400 in the year ending in September 2017.

The Australian Government is trying to encourage more people from overseas to take up jobs in regional areas where there are shortages of skilled workers. Incentives are being offered and there are more visa choices for those willing to work out of the main centers of population. In particular South Australia and the Northern Territories are in need of workers.

The latest updates to Australia's skilled occupation list has resulted in 18 job sectors being added to the regional occupation list, many of them relating to agriculture and rural jobs such as livestock, beef, dairy, sheep, aquaculture and crop farmer.

Dentist and anesthetist have also been added to the regional list to meet skill shortages and provide regional communities with the services they need.

'This update responds to calls from regional Australia for better access to skilled workers in key areas of need and will boost access to services required by local communities,' said Immigration Minister David Coleman.

He also pointed out that the updates build on recent changes to the Working Holiday Maker visa programme and the Seasonal Worker Programme to target genuine workforce shortages in regional Australia without displacing Australian workers.

The Regional Occupation List helps provide employers with the support they need allowing overseas workers to live and work in Australia for up to four years for the sponsoring employer in a specified region.

Meanwhile, eight occupations have been added to the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List including footballer and tennis coach. It means that professional footballers can be sponsored to work in Australia for a longer time. This will assist Australian football clubs to attract elite international talent and develop Australia's competitiveness on the international stage.

'These changes recognize Australia's passion for sports. Having access to highly skilled professionals helps to develop local talent and facilitate skills and knowledge transfer in Australia,' Coleman added.