Australia has for many years been one of the more popular expat destinations due to a variety of different elements which make up the Australian way of life and prospects for the future. Our online poll, conducted in conjunction with Barclays Wealth International has highlighted a number of important factors from people look at moving to Australia and we hereby cover them below.
Standard of living (26.14%)
Despite the fact that Australia has some of the warmest weather in the world, beautiful scenery and a culture which is varied and historic, it would appear that the standard of living available in the country is its biggest attraction. Over 26% of those who voted in our online poll stated that the standard of living in Australia was the predominant reason that they were looking to move to the country. While there is no doubt that the Australian economy has picked up significantly over the last 20 years or so it is perhaps a surprise to learn that the standard of living expect in Australia is the main reason why the vast majority of people are moving there.
As the economy improves so we see an increase in inflation and the cost of living which will at some point impact upon the standard of living available to many people. This is a good reason to consider alternatives such as expatriate banking services while you are in Australia. Barclays Wealth have put together a quite useful guide to banking in Australia that will solve up many of those questions you have around office hours, how to send money home, etc.
While the standard of living, as a reason to move into Australia, is by far and away the most popular, it is interesting to see that 11% of those who voted in our online poll put forward employment as the main reason why they would look to move to the country. As we touched on above, there is no doubt that the Australian economy has picked up dramatically over the last 20 years or so and much of this has been as a result of imported skilled labour. This is a country which is physically stranded in the middle of the ocean but which now has a very prominent seat on the top table of the worldwide economy. The tentacles of the Australian economy reach right around the world and many companies prefer to use Australia as something of a stepping stone into the Far East and Australasian markets.
It is interesting to learn that while the worldwide economic downturn began in 2008, prior to the recent relapse, it was the Australian economy which left “recession” quicker than any other economy in the developed world. Whether this will continue in the weeks, months and years ahead remains to be seen but there is now a very firm base on which to build the Australian economy.
Travel the world (6.82%)
Even though many people have put forward “travelling the world” as a reason for moving overseas there is no doubt that this is a specific attraction which Australia has for many people. While the number of backpackers and tourists visiting the country continues to grow it seems that more and more people like what they see and are now looking at a longer term stay in the country. Immigration will be a problem for some people because the Australian authorities have been forced to cut back on immigration numbers as a means of protecting the Australian labour market in these troubled times. However, there is also no doubt that the tourism market is one of the major players in the Australian economy and is likely to remain so for some time to come.
As a consequence, while the authorities may well reduce the number of people allowed to stay longer term in Australia there is no doubt that tourism will see an injection of millions upon millions of dollars to attract more and more people to the country. Seen as a must for those venturing in the East, Australia can be a good point at your travel to open an international bank account which with you can operate in a range of currencies, send money back home or pay for your bills while travelling abroad.
Cost of living (5.68%)
Calculating the cost of living in Australia and comparing this with the developed world is often difficult because of the physical location of the country and the fact there are few neighbouring countries with which to trade “cheaply”. As a consequence, goods and services which need to be shipped into Australia may well be more expensive than you would expect in a country such as the UK. However, on the other hand the country has a massive influence on the worldwide agricultural market and as a consequence this particular element of the cost of living may be less than, again, areas such as the UK.
We will at some stage also witness the phenomenon whereby economies grow at a faster pace than the cost of living in the early days of the developing to developed economy transition. As a consequence, while the cost of living in Australia, or at least in some parts of Australia, may well seem relatively cheap compared to the employment market and the economic prospects, the cost of living will at some point “catch up”.
Overall the taxation system in Australia is very similar to many other developed countries although in recent times there is no doubt that the authorities have been fairly helpful with regards to expats willing to inject their skills and their experiences into the Australian economy. As a consequence, the tax regime in Australia is seen by many as “lighter” than in places such as the UK and there are obvious areas of savings to be made. Again, whether the taxation system will remain highly competitive on a medium to long-term basis remains to be seen because once the economy starts to slow down, after reaching a plateau, the authorities will need to keep on increasing their tax take from people living in the country.
If you’re moving to a new country purely and simply because of the existing tax regime then you need to be very aware that this can and does change on a regular basis. Governments around the world will react to social and employment trends with regards to their tax philosophies and basing a move overseas purely and simply upon potential savings is dangerous.
For some people crime rates are a bone of contention because many countries and governments around the world have been accused of “massaging their figures”. It would seem that many people perceive the Australian situation, with regards to crime, to be better than other areas of the developed world and as a consequence this has attracted significant interest from the expat unity. In reality it will depend upon which area of Australia you intend to live and your living budget. Even though the culture and the history of Australia is very unique in many ways there are still common problems with crime, in line with other developing and developed countries.
If you’re looking to move to any country it is essential that you carryout at least a very basic investigation with regards to crime rates in areas which you intend to live. To go to a new country unaware of crime rates, crime trends and other everyday elements of life is social suicide and could ultimately lead to your swift return to your former homeland.
In joint fifth place, along with taxes and crime, the idea of the perfect romance is still alive with albeit smallish number of expats still moving across the world for love. In a perfect world, the idea of moving to a new country to begin a new relationship would appeal to many people but once you dig beneath the surface you need to take into account employment, finances, future prospects and a whole array of other elements of everyday life. The truth is that romance can be a reason to move overseas and begin a new life but you also need to have the backup to ensure that you are able to enjoy your new life.
Other reasons (40.91%)
Quite bizarrely, the subject of moving to Australia seems to have attracted a number of “comedy” reasons which include tubular bells, pasta and ice cream soda to name but a few of the ones we can publish. However, there have been some valid other reasons which include family, over governance and interestingly, to escape from New Zealand. While many of these “other reasons” are obviously tongue-in-cheek it is interesting to see that some people prefer Australia to New Zealand when indeed recent press comments, after racial tension in Australia, suggest that expats living in Australia are now looking towards New Zealand.
Australia has been and continues to be one of the main attractions with regards to expats from around the world. Many people believed that the main reason was the weather and the way of life when reality is the standard of living, employment market, travel and cost of living which seem to be uppermost in the minds of many expats.
However, it is often easy to forget that Australia has seen a massive economic bubble emerge over the last 20 years or so due to significant investment by the authorities and a very open immigration policy. Despite the fact that the authorities have been forced to rein in the immigration numbers of late, as a means of protecting the Australian employment market, there is no doubt that the Australia economy more than any other country in the world is based upon immigrant skilled and unskilled labour.