45 pros and cons for Brits emigrating to Australia
So, you’re contemplating a big move to Australia. Graduated and now the world’s your oyster? Got a great redundancy package and fancy doing something completely different? Want to move 10,000 miles away following the Brexit vote?
Just one question – why Oz? Be honest now.
a) Is your family or the love of your life there? Are you starting a new job, or do you want to raise your children in a different environment? Does life on the surf appeal more than rush hour on the train? Maybe you’ve dreamt of a sun-drenched retirement as far away as possible.
b) Are you running away from something or someone? On some kind of horrific hamster wheel that you can’t get off? Is there nothing or nobody left for you in the UK?
c) Are you going permanently or just for a couple of years?
d) What are you hoping to find there?
Create a mood board of whatever’s on your mind, e.g. a short mission statement; picture of a house you’ve seen on the internet; magazine cut-outs; your bucket list; any pivotal questions or issues. Keep referring back to this to see whether your thought process has changed at all.
Emigrating to Australia is a long-term, emotional decision, so take your time. Deep down you’ll know if it makes sense.
Pros and cons
These pros and cons are designed to help Brits decide whether to take the plunge. What I regard as positive or negative is my personal feeling, however – you’ll have your own take on things.
Let’s start with a few pros:
• The lingo. They speak English – everybody in Australia has to – and they do it with such a sexy twang, who can resist?
• The outdoors lifestyle keeps you fit and healthy - great for your ticker.
• Endless job opportunities: https://www.border.gov.au/Busi/Empl/skillselect
• Equality of race/gender (although same-sex marriage is still illegal).
• 3 Australian cities in the 2016 EIU Liveability Top 10:
- 1st Melbourne (again)
- 5th Adelaide
- 7th Perth
I should point out here that Canada also has 3 cities in the top 10, so have you considered moving there?
Now some cons:
• The climate is lovely, but wetter and windier on some occasions than you’d imagine. A tip – don’t give all your jumpers and umbrellas away!
• Skin cancer. Sorry, but we’re being honest here. 2/3 Australians are diagnosed before they reach 70. Use sun protection always.
• Sheer distance from anywhere. Makes travel complicated and expensive, and the isolation raises import costs.
• Aussies use the metric system, so start converting if you still talk imperial.
• Entertainment and technology is a bit behind the times.
Food and drink
Pro: 65 wine regions, 100+ grape varieties, 2,400 producers – cheers!
Pro: Tap water’s fine to drink.
Pro: Coffee’s up there with the best, especially in Melbourne.
Pro: Barbeques any time, any day.
Pro: Culinary and cultural diversity.
Financially, you could be better off in Australia, but everything’s relative to income
• GST is only 10%, compared to the 20% VAT you’re used to.
• UK interest rate is 0.25%; the Reserve Bank of Australia has theirs set at 1.5% - good for savings, less so for mortgage repayments.
• Income tax is lower across the salary bands.
• Generous social security and Medicare benefits.
• No annoying 99p price tags – the lowest denomination is 5 cents, so everything’s rounded up or down. A typically chilled-out Australian approach!
• Visa and relocation costs really add up. Do your research and stick to a budget.
• Petrol prices go up and down like a yo-yo every day.
Compared to London:
• Transport’s a third lower.
• Cheaper housing: -39% in Adelaide, -19% in Brisbane and -13% in Melbourne.
• No TV licence.
• Tips are not part of the culture.
• National Minimum Wage is 47% higher at AU$17.70 an hour.
• Food costs around 13% more.
• Clothes are 18% more.
• Entertainment is roughly 11% higher in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.
• Prescription costs are almost treble.
• Private school fees: AU$21-35k.
If that’s not enough…
• For those at school or work, there are more public holidays than the 8 you get at home! The days vary per state/territory, the lowest being 9 in Tasmania, and a blissful 13 in Victoria and the ACT.
• The scenery is stunning, and wildlife fascinating. You’re spoilt for choice if you enjoy botanical gardens, national parks, wildlife centres, beaches, the ocean, and fresh air in general.
• Sport is paramount, whether it’s cricket, Aussie rules, netball or rugby.
• You don’t hear many complaints about the healthcare system.
• In the OECD survey, Australia beat the UK on housing, income, employment, community, education, environment, democracy, health and overall life satisfaction.
• They drive on the left.
• Warm climate – yes it rains sometimes, but nothing like it does in Blighty.
• Speaking of wildlife, kangaroos are fun, but not when they hop in front of your car at night, so be alert. Learn which spiders, snakes and sea creatures to avoid – plus the harmless ones that you’ll have to get used to. Get pest control in once a year. Heed warnings. And remember, most critters will leave you alone unless you agitate them first.
• You’ll miss your friends and family like crazy. But the internet is a wonderful thing. Just get to grips with the time difference before you call!
• Extensive periods of drought lead to devastating bushfires.
• For safety and work-life balance, Australia ranks lower than Britain, according to the OECD.
• Public transport has poor reach.
• Umm, Vegemite (sorry, but you either love it or hate it!)
To sum up, Australia’s a great option. But this move is all about you, so what do you think?