Opinion: The British exodus to Australia - not so permanent after all?
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities
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For years, thousands of Brits have left the UK in search for a better and sunnier lifestyle across the seas in Australia. According to the BBC, between 2005 and 2010 nearly 107,000 Britons settled for a new life there.
With Britain’s economy struggling, and Australia having not only sunny weather but more job prospects, better wages, a lower cost of living and higher living standards, it’s not surprising that so many have ditched the country’s grey skies for a life down under.
However, it seems that in recent years an increasing number of Brits have found that what they thought would be a one-way trip to Australia hasn’t turned out to be the dream lifestyle that they intended, with many returning home. Over 2009-2010, a total of 7,000 Brits left their Aussie way of life and returned to their motherland.
So the question is: why are so many Brits booking removal companies and moving back to the UK? Britain’s economy may be picking up, but is in no way booming in the same way as Australia’s. The performance of the Australian economy over the past 20 years has been ‘rock solid’ with consecutive year-on-year growth. And it doesn’t look as though this trend is going to stop any time soon, with figures from 2013 revealing that GDP grew by a further 2.6%. With these strong figures, it seems surprising that Brits are leaving Australia’s positive economy to go back to one that’s still struggling to recover from a recession.
Yet, many Brits don’t realise just how much they will miss their friends and family. Visiting them is no longer easy - it is not only time consuming (with the long haul flight around 22 hours) but also comes with a large expense. Many Brits have the outlook that if they could ship their friends and family across to Australia, then they would in a heart-beat. However, this isn’t possible for most, so a less sunny life in Britain seems more appealing if it means being able to spend time with friends and family on a regular basis.
Furthermore, while some people go to Australia for the warm, sunny weather, many find that they don’t actually enjoy living in a hot climate, having to deal with the flies and constant sun cream application.
In addition, the cost of living isn’t as cheap as some Brits might think. For example, the cost of a pint of beer in Australia is in the third-highest among 17 different countries and basic amenities like food and clothes are much higher than a lot of Brits expect. So although wages are higher in Australia, many find themselves spending a large percentage of their income on expensive necessities and discovering that you actually need a lot of money to enjoy the country properly.
So even though Australia’s economy remains very positive, it seems as if for many Brits the move abroad isn’t so permanent after all, and a life in Britain is much more appealing than they might have initially thought. As the UK’s economy continues to grow and improve, perhaps more Brits who are currently living a life down under will flee back to their motherland.