In years gone by, it was so often the way that emigrating Australians would choose the UK as their first port of call. However, things have changed of late, and we could soon see that mantle being passed onto the US.
According to the most recent figures from the UK Home Office, the number of Australians moving to Britain for work has steadily declined in the past few years. In 2005, that figure was 29,600 and it had dropped by more than half to 14,000 in 2012 – when the most recent data was released. In between, the number was 28,200 (2006), 26,500 (2007), then 22,300, 17,300, 17,100 and 15,800 before the low we now see. With every year that passes, it seems that an ever fewer number of Australians is choosing to go to the UK to find work.
Meanwhile, it’s a very different story when discussing the number of Australians moving to the US for work. It’s going up, along with the figure representing those who are just visiting – according to the New York Times, an 81% increase between 2006 and 2011.
So why do people seem to be turning their back on the UK. Well, it surely can’t be a coincidence that the drop in people moving permanently to the UK is in line with the start of the financial crisis? I would say it’s not a coincidence.
Since the start of the credit crunch, real wages – what your pay’s worth after inflation – has fallen, and the cost of living in the UK – and in London particularly – has risen. There, the cost of accommodation and rent costs have gone through the roof. And it doesn’t take a genius to work out that lower pay and higher costs are not a good thing.
The rite of passage we once saw so frequently – young Australians going to London, working by day and partying the rest of the time – is no longer such an attractive proposition, not least because their wages will struggle to cover their expenses. Plus, career options are limited and the number of jobs is reduced from even ten years ago.
Aside from the economics of the whole thing, although it may sound a little clichéd, the weather has also been known to put people off, with the cloud and rain given as reason not to hang about, or not to go in the first place. Conversely, the favoured destination of Australians heading to the US – New York City – is favoured for its weather. Though it can get very cold, its the defined seasons that people are attracted to. Plus New York’s famed buzzing atmosphere is also a draw. It’s reasons like this that has seen a greater number of Australians head for the US, when before, it might have been Europe they’d plumped for.
If not the US, not the UK, how about nowhere, and staying at home instead?
Because, with employment increasing in Australia, and a greater number of opportunities too, those ready to pack their bags have been questioning whether it would be a better option, career-wise, to stay put.
The two year working holiday used to be snapped up by many young Australians eager to flyaway, helped by the Youth Mobility Program (YMS), which allowed young Australians to work in the UK for two years. Now, fewer people are now taking up the offer, as evidenced by a reduction in Australians applying for non-YMS work visas and non-work visas. This would suggest that Britain isn’t quite the draw it once was. But before we write it off, there remains strong expat scene, especially in the capital. But soon maybe we’ll be talking about how New York City has stolen its crown.
If are looking to get out of Australia for a working holiday, get in touch with our partners The Working Holiday Club (1300 295 579). They can help you with your job, visa and accommodation wherever you want to go.
If you’re already organised and moving abroad but need help with your money transfers, get in touch.
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