20 November 2008

Down Under still the destination of choice for UK emigrants

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), in 2007 Australia remained the country of choice for the majority of British emigrants, despite a fall in emigration numbers.

The emigration survey showed the total number of people leaving the UK during 2007 dropped by 60,000 from 2006 results.  Australia remained the first choice for British emigrants over Spain, New Zealand, the United States and France, with just under 40,000 Brits emigrating to Australia in 2007 – despite being down 10,000 when compared with 2006. 

Senator Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, said in an interview last month (reported by Nine MSN News) that he expects the number of British residents moving to Australia to rise despite the economic crisis.

"I think the down turn in Great Britain over the last year or two has actually seen a renewed interest from Great Britain in people looking to migrate either temporarily or permanently," Senator Evans said.  "When our economy's going strongly and…the British economy isn't, then you get that attraction."

There have been concerns recently that the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Evans may have to cut back the record levels of Australian immigration in the 2009 Budget in response to the slowing economy.  As a result, potential migrants to Australia are encouraged to process their applications before the Rudd Government makes any changes to the migration quota.

However, Senator Evans confirmed his government would not make any adjustments until they have the mid-year economic figures.

"The migration programme is linked to the skills need in the economy.  We've got a skills crisis at the moment, clearly if the demand for labour comes off, you'd adjust the migration programme accordingly. 

We can turn the taps off if we need to, but there are still industries with strong demand for skilled labour and we'll just have to talk to industry and make a judgment about what the appropriate level will be once we've got a bit better idea what's happening in the economy."

 The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their Australian visa application.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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