16 July 2008

Low quality of life in UK leads to mass migration to Australia

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According to research, the UK ranks second last in Europe for quality of life, despite residents being the highest wage earners. The UK was placed just above Ireland in the uSwitch.com European quality of life index because of its high fuel and essential goods prices, low health and education expenditure, lack of short holidays and late retirement, reports the Press Association.

On average, British earn £10,000 more than other Europeans, but are also paying 18 per cent more for diesel, 6 per cent more for unleaded petrol, 46 percent more for gas, and 5 per cent more for electricity than the average European prices. 

Below average healthcare expenditure is starting to take its toll on the British community; the average life expectancy for UK residents is the third lowest at 78.9 years. 

The British are also working much harder than their European counterparts; the average holiday entitlement in the UK is a week less than the European average, and the retirement age is the third highest.

Not even the sunshine is enough to make things better; the UK receives 17 per cent less sunshine than the European average, and 80 per cent less than Spain. 

Hundreds of thousands of UK residents and UK visa holders have woken to the worsening crisis in Britain, with emigration rates in the past years reaching record heights.  According to National Statistics, 400,000 people emigrated from the UK in 2006, and 207,000 of these were British citizens.  The majority of these emigrants went to Australia, New Zealand, Spain, France or the US.

According to uSwitch.com, Spain offers the best quality of life in Europe because of its low taxation, cheaper cost of living, long life expectancy and better holiday entitlements, while France revelled in its high-quality healthcare system and the best holiday entitlements Europe has to offer. 

The Australian Government's research shows record numbers of Australians are leaving the UK, and Britons are following closely in tow.  While Spain and France may be closer to family and friends in the UK, Australia is offering UK migrants competitive salaries in skilled positions, a safer economic environment during the global credit crunch, a lower cost of living, and even a tropical climate. 

Wiriaya Plukavec, a 31 year-old credit controller in London, told The Australian newspaper, "I was going to stay another year but just got fed up with the cost of everything going up - bills, food, toiletries, rent, going out – everything. Life will just be a whole lot cheaper back in Sydney ... and the weather will be better."

The Australian Government is heavily campaigning for more skilled workers from the UK to apply for an Australia visa so that increasing demands for development can be met, particularly in the construction and mining industries.  UK residents can apply for permanent residency visas under the General Skilled Migration Program.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to Australia.

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