Why UK Migrants Quit Australia.


Ping Pom Merrily Goodbye.

Sorry about that, just trying to keep it Christmassy. You see, the phrase being used is ping-pong poms; Brits moving back and forth between Australia and the UK.

ping pong pomsAnyway, a story by the BBC was brought to my attention by a reader called Julian. The story is called “Why are so many Britons leaving Australia?”

As you can see, my title is completely different (ahem!). The BBC article is very long and also has a follow-up article to go with it. I’m going to try and keep mine short.

I’ve read both articles, and popular opinion is that these are the reasons why people leave Australia:

  • Missing friends and family.
  • Lacking a real sense of belonging.
  • Getting lonely living in the suburbs.
  • The lack of the drinking culture after work.
  • The TV is terrible.
  • Too hot.
  • Too many flies.
  • Having to cover the kids in suncream.
  • The lack of culture and history.
  • Not living by the beach.
  • Australia is not competitive enough.
  • Australia has become too expensive.
  • The cost of petrol has risen.
  • The cinema is too expensive.

The follow up article tells the story of 10 people who quit Australia to return to the UK.

These were some of their reasons:

  • The dullness and isolation of living somewhere like Perth.
  • We both loved it but our families were back in the UK.
  • I got fed up of being an outsider.
  • The health system turned out to be a nightmare of rules (from a health worker).
  • I never really had a sense of belonging
  • I missed the seasons, the food, the cultural attachment to Europe…
  • I moved my family back to the UK 18 months ago so my kids could know their grandparents.

The three reasons I missed out were too specific to be relevant in my view. Lack of educational support for an autistic child, but that was back in 1987. Things are a little different now.

A plumber was shocked at having to retrain to qualify to be an Australian plumber. I’m surprised nobody told him. It’s the same for electricians and many other tradies as well.

And the most bizarre of all; Australians just aren’t British anymore. They are cultivating their own culture.


And these are some of the reasons why expats stayed down under:

  • We have a better lifestyle than we could have afforded in the UK.
  • I’ve made better, longer lasting friendships now in Australia.
  • The kids love the outdoor life.
  • The sunshine and pace of life.
  • The standard of living and proximity to Asia.
  • We swapped a Yorkshire terraced house for a detached on five acres. (2001)
  • I’ve made some exceptionally welcoming friends here.
  • Would miss the laugh of a kookaburra.
  • It’s a beautiful, safe country full opportunities.
  • Lots of things to do that do not cost money.

But the article isn’t just about Britain’s quitting Australia to return home, it’s also about Australians quitting the UK to return back down under. Surely, in many instances, this is a natural thing to do?

I don’t think it signifies success or failure. It simply shows that people like to try something different now and then and sometimes, when they have tried it for a while, they’re done.

I advise you to read both of the articles and you can read them in full by clicking these links:

It’s worth checking out all of the comments as well.

What do I think?

This is a fascinating subject and one I can talk about for ages, but I promised I’d keep this short. So I’ll try and sum up.

The story is based on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) who say that just over 7,000 UK citizens permanently left Australia in 2009/10. Record numbers, apparently.

But in 2005, over 5,000 people quit to return, so it’s hardly a massive rise. And nobody, not even the ABS, knows the real reasons why these people are leaving Australia.

So all the reasons given are just conjecture, or individual opinions.

Also, have you noticed how the reasons given by each group can often conflict?

Those returning say they miss their family and friends, those staying say they have made better friendships.

Those leaving say it’s too expensive here in Australia, those staying say they have a better standard of living here than they could have dreamed of back in the UK.

And I love that whilst some miss the closeness to Europe of the UK, another think’s it’s great that Australia is near Asia.

How confusing for any of you considering a move to Australia. Could it be that “life is what you make it”.

Missing family and friends.

Of all the reasons given, I suspect the only ones that may truly affect people are missing family and friends along with the sense of isolation and loneliness. I don’t see any of the others as valid reasons.

The answer?

Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Make new friends! Put yourself about a bit, get involved and simply replace your old friends with new ones.

And guess what? You can even replace your family. Yes, really, you can!


The answer is by making friends with expats. Because all the expats who have moved out here are also missing their families. This is where you can meet your neo-brother, your neo-sister, even your neo-mums and neo-dads!

I suspect you can also meet a neo-grandma and a neo-grandpa if you want to, although I haven’t bothered.

I’m too old to have those.

Besides, your real family can always come out and visit you. But will they? Find out here.

playing ping pong

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{ 82 comments… add one }
  • Lara October 23, 2016, 5:52 am |

    Great post, Bob, thank you. Myself and my family are awaiting our PR visa being granted and having the wobbles a bit. Good to read a balanced argument for and against and remind ourselves why we decided to go for it in the first place.

    • BobinOz October 24, 2016, 5:20 pm |

      Thanks Lara, and wobbles are probably quite normal at this stage. Having got this far though, you have to see it through otherwise you’ll never know how it might have turned out. I hope it all works out for you and your family and you end up loving this place is much as I do.

  • Brendan June 6, 2016, 5:31 am |

    I follow your site for some time now. Really good info here. 🙂

    I live in Amsterdam and lived here for 15 years. I really love nature and Amsterdam has zero nature. Dutch culture seems very open from the outside, but it’s a very closed community. There are positive things as well of course, but for me it is difficult. I am an out doors person that loves summer and nature. I look for a good place for my children to grow up and don’t want them to look out of a window the entire day.

    My wife was born in Australia and we are now thinking of moving there with our two toddlers. I have never been there, but everyone says it’s really great. Then I read all the negative comments?

    What should I believe? I hope it’s a wonderful place.

    • Tina June 6, 2016, 6:19 am |

      Hi Brendan,

      I live now in Tassie and I think it is the most beautiful place and I wouldn’t like to live anywhere else. But that’s me. It is impossible to give you a straight answer to your question.
      There are pros and cons to everything in life, it all depends on your perspective.

      • BobinOz June 6, 2016, 6:02 pm |

        The only way to truly answer the question for YOU Brendan, is to try it for yourself. So why not give it a go? If you don’t, you will always be wondering what it might have been like.

        From my point of view, I think it’s a great place to bring up children and it is most definitely a very outdoorsy sort of place. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

        I have no regrets coming here, sounds like Tina doesn’t have any either.

        • Brendan October 23, 2016, 10:03 pm |

          I have my permanent residence being married to an australian.. I did follow your advise and moved to Australia (Brisbane) and really had a cultural shock. We basically ran off back home and now that we are back in europe we miss it and want to go back again after just being back for 2 months. It’s so confusing.. I found Brisbane cold no space for children.. (My experience). We were in Red hill. Then we moved to maleny and it was even colder… Now we think of going to Cairns! 🙂

          • BobinOz October 24, 2016, 5:42 pm |

            Brisbane too cold? Good Lord, I’ve never heard anybody say that before 🙂 You do know you were here in winter, don’t you? 🙂

            We are now in the middle of spring here, average temperatures so far this month have been around 26°C with a highest temperature of 32°C. It will get even hotter come January and February, and it won’t start to cool down until probably middle to late May.

            No space for children? Well, Redhill is an inner-city suburb, you’ll get tons of space for them further away from the CBD.

            I think you should come back and give Brisbane another go, at least long enough to give yourself a chance to get used to what is clearly a big change. If you still don’t like it, then yes, Cairns is a great city. If I wanted to move further north, it would be my choice.

            It is significantly warmer up there, well, hot, very hot. Lots of space too. If you do give it another go, it would be great if you can get back to us again to let us know how it works out.

            • Brendan October 24, 2016, 10:34 pm |

              I apologise, I didn’t mean to offend you regarding Brisbane. It was not cold like Europe off course! 🙂 Maleny was chilly though. Red hill is an inner City subburb. I found it difficult driving through the city. I will let you know once we are in cairns.

              • BobinOz October 25, 2016, 8:02 pm |

                Good Lord no, no offence taken, you would have to work a lot harder than that to offend me 🙂 I was just genuinely surprised you thought Brisbane was cold. Yes, do let me know what you think of Cairns and if you want a slightly smaller city, it’s worth checking out Port Douglas about an hour past Cairns further north.

                Absolutely beautiful.

  • lesson1 July 19, 2015, 5:33 am |

    I am apprentice trained in plumbing. All qualifications/with over 3+ yrd experience. Do most employers demand more on job experience or would 3 yrs be accepted. Im torn between heading to Canada too, with relatives there that have offered to help expand my skills with engineering(air conditioning) im 30 by the way. Am I to old to do both? Like head out to Canada acquire another trade/citizenship then sample Australia later on in life…

    Big decisions. One thing I’ve decided after beimg born in UK spending 30 yrs here im ready to head off into the sun set!

    By the way friends and family factor isnt an issue for me 😉

    Maybe family/but my family have all gone their seperate ways which makes things in that department essy

    • BobinOz July 20, 2015, 12:30 am |

      Well, I can’t help you with this work experience thing or whether you have the right qualifications to lodge a successful application to move to Australia. Those are the sort of questions that can only be accurately answered by a MARA registered migration agent.

      See Would I Qualify?

      I can’t blame you for wanting to head off into the sunset though, but having narrowed your two choices down to Canada and Australia, you really need to decide whether you like your country is hot or cold 🙂

      Once you’ve answered that question, you’ll know which way to head.

      Good luck, Bob

  • suss July 12, 2015, 12:28 pm |

    Im too worried to move to UK and spend tens of thousands and then realise that its not for me then come back with nothing in my pocket .. im not rich so each single dollar wasted will mean alot to me

    • BobinOz July 12, 2015, 9:18 pm |

      Yes, moving to another country is always risky, it’s an expensive business and getting it wrong can be very costly.

  • Terry Baccus June 7, 2015, 11:04 pm |

    From the posts I’ve read, it all seems sensible though what I said to my partner, Angela is that, if you have friends where you are, it doesn’t matter where you are you will make friends, if you don’t have friends where you are, you won’t make any friends where-ever you are.
    One inescapable fact is you can’t move away from yourself, we have very solid friends in the UK (as of writing this we are still in UK but looking to move to Perth) and am sure we won’t have problems with making friends there – where-ever we move to.

    • BobinOz June 8, 2015, 8:28 pm |

      Very true Terry, very true.

      • Wa7 March 6, 2016, 5:47 pm |

        Depends on what you class as a friend, I had 3 best mates and a ton of good friends outside of that in the uk. I “know” a few people here but that’s not what I would call friends it’s definitely not that easy.

        • BobinOz March 7, 2016, 12:05 am |

          I think it’s worth adding that it does take time. I’ve been here eight years, I’ve made lots of friends, but many of them have come and gone. We either realised we didn’t have that much in common after all or they moved away.

          I had friends in the UK the I’d had for 28 years so I suspect I’ll have to wait another 20 years before I have friends that can mean as much to me here in Australia.

          • Wa7 March 7, 2016, 8:33 pm |

            I got here aged 26 now 41 so its been a while, as I said it’s no ones fault just the way it is here, not to say that’s how it will be for everyone but it’s a conversation I have time to time with uk people and anyone who has been here for 5+ years agrees. Good luck with it all terry and give it a go.

  • Tina March 6, 2015, 2:40 pm |

    I agree everyone is different. But I must say that from my point of view, a person from Europe, half of the comments are ridiculous.
    When talking about cost of life, prices in my home town and Sydney, NSW are the same! Check this out; average income is 4 times higher in Oz.
    Same with real estate. .

    To me it’s like little children…

  • JohnOh August 4, 2014, 7:27 am |

    Sorry for the incorrect grammar in previous message Bob…You got the drift anyway. Was in a hurry and felt Paul needed a reply….Having seen what happens to people who return back to Europe after being here, is gut wrenching. Your heart is in both places and things change. Not always for the better…

    • BobinOz August 4, 2014, 7:35 pm |

      No worries John, just concentrate a bit harder next time eh? 🙂

      The memory of what a place used to be like compared with the reality of what it’s really like now are often two vastly different things. Going back for good can sometimes be a very expensive way of discovering that.

  • Paul August 2, 2014, 7:20 pm |

    Hello we moved to Sydney 2.5 years now we are moving back to London because my wife is homesick! I think this is a BAD idea but my wife is set on it. I have a bad feeling things are not going to work out back in the UK. I have a good job, house, 6 yr old boy at a great school BUT my wife forgets why we came in the 1st place! We have made great Oz friends here. The only good news we got PR so can come back IF my wife comes to her scenes ONE issue is elderly parents BUT she comes from a large supportive family AND if she got “the call” no issues with sending her back and if she needed to stay for an extended time back in the UK not an issue! Also we had been to Sydney on a number of occasions before we made the move!

    • JohnOh August 2, 2014, 9:28 pm |

      Paul, there is nothing as family, but what worse is poverty. Allow your wife her freedom. But if you really wish her happiness, let her know what you see. Its never easy but Britain and Europe are in for a bad time as I can see. Her parents are important but also finite. Tell her to look for the future and come back after the sadness, which will happen after they die….but she will be missing out on you and the possible happiness of her children. She needs to choose carefully.

      • BobinOz August 4, 2014, 12:29 am |

        I think I know what you’re saying JohnOh and I’m agreeing.

        For my money the ‘family’ that means everything is MY family; wife, kids, that’s it. My secondary family consists of my parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins etc etc.

        My job is to look after MY family, not worry too much about all those others, they will do exactly what they want with their lives. I think both you and your wife should do what is best not just for yourselves, but for your boy. I honestly believe he will have a better lifestyle and life here in Australia, if you agree, you should stay.

        As JohnOh has quite directly pointed out, your wife’s parents won’t be around forever, so put your boy ahead of them.

        I bet you wish you hadn’t asked now? 🙂

        PS. Lots of people get homesick, go back for a holiday, and come rushing back here to Australia with the words “what was I thinking?” swirling around their heads. Maybe you should just send your wife back for a holiday.

    • Helen May 21, 2021, 2:24 am |

      Hello – I’m Paul’s wife mentioned above. After taking some time coming to my senses (7 years), we have the opportunity of going back to Sydney. Since returning to UK my father has passed away although my Mum is still here I know she is in good care with my siblings. We are considering returning early next year and I have a confirmed place in a good school for my son. I think we are going to make the move back with a different frame of mind and to make a 2nd go of it as there has always been a pull to Australia for me – may be escapism, sunshine, open space – I don’t know. One thing I do know though is the outdoor lifestyle for my son – he is a great swimmer and I now realise the outdoor lifestyle is much healthier for him. His cousins live in Melbourne and moved at roughly same age as him and they would never move back to UK. I know the current situation is not an ideal time to move – but is it ever……

      • BobinOz May 24, 2021, 5:32 pm |

        Well, hopefully you’ve now got it all out of your system and when you come back, it will be for good. I would just like to make one observation and you can do with that whatever you choose, of course.

        Latest statistics show that people are moving out of Sydney and Melbourne in their droves, and they’re heading for Queensland, The Sunshine State.

        There are quite a few different reasons for this and if you Google the various articles on the subject, you’ll find out what they are. But you mentioned open spaces, outdoor lifestyle, swimming, and sunshine, and Queensland is one of the best states in Australia for all of those things. Maybe you should give it a try?

        Just a thought, but wherever you go, I hope this time it works out for you on a more permanent basis.

  • Cecily May 14, 2014, 7:18 pm |

    Hi Bob 🙂 Nice to hear from you and thank you for your help 🙂

    Cecily is very sick with the flu at the moment! I’ve been poorly for days 🙁 Do people in Oz get sick with the flu? Maybe that’s another article you could write Bob – another pro of Australia is that you don’t have to catch the common cold and flu! It’s been raining and sunny in England recently although it is sunny today 🙂 Unfortunately for me I’m stuck in bed :/

    • JohnOh May 14, 2014, 8:07 pm |

      Hi Cecily. So sorry to hear you are sick.
      The Flu is common enough here too. Winter time is the problem. Bob might not get it too often as he lives in Queensland, where it is warmer of course.
      Tasmania, Melbourne winter inland, anywhere cool can be an area where you can catch it. Hay fever is also rife….I havent had proper Flu for years now.
      Dont forget Australia is one huge country with climate zones ranging from tropical to temperate. and cool but not freezing snow. Unless you go into the mountains. http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-weather-and-the-seasons
      I’m sorry, you wont completely escape illness here, but its certainly possible to stay away from others who are sick….I live in North East Victoria and its getting cold but not as cold as in Europe. No snow and a few frosts. Out Climate Change scare appears to be dying out….. Vote UKIP and it will there too…
      Australia due to the size of the continent, there is not one single seasonal calendar for the entire continent. Instead there are six climatic zones and this translates as two main seasonal patterns.

      • BobinOz May 15, 2014, 12:43 am |

        Hi Cecily

        Sorry to hear you are a little under the weather, JohnOh is quite correct, we do get the flu here, but not so much for me up here in Queensland. That’s not to say that Queensland gets off scot free, plenty of people here get colds and flu here, it’s just that I don’t get out much 🙂

        I have already written a post, you can check it out, it’s called Common Colds and Flu in Australia.

        Get well soon, Bob

  • JohnOh May 14, 2014, 4:29 pm |

    Cecily has left the blog?

  • Cecily May 7, 2014, 7:17 pm |

    What’s this about having to retrain to become an Australian plumber? So if you got PR through a skilled worker visa with your skill being a plumber then when you got to Australia you would have to train to be an Australian plubmer..? That’s boggled my mind :S

    • JohnOh May 7, 2014, 7:51 pm |

      Let me point you in the right direction:
      Have a look here:https://www.immi.gov.au/asri/occupations/p/plumber-general.htm
      Comments found online >>>Re: Plumber wanting to move to NZ or Aus
      I’ve been in Perth, Australia for 3 months now and am a qualified plumber. I completed my trade apprenticeship in South Africa and soon moved over to London where I plumbed for 10 years. I also only had an NVQ 2 in plumbing without my gas certificates. I completed my Vetassesment prior to emigrating to Australia and have just completed a 2 week migrant plumbing course at TAFE as prescribed by the Western Australian plumbing licensing board for my tradespersons license. I now have my australian level 3 plumbing certificate – but without gas, so I am at a slight disadvantage because all Australian apprentices come out of training being gas qualified. I’ll have to go back to TAFE and do a 3.5 week gas course at a cost of about $2000.
      More sites : http://www.pic.vic.gov.au/

      That will do you for now….

      • Cecily May 7, 2014, 9:11 pm |

        So it’s not really about ‘retraining’ as such (starting from scratch) but you need to have a higher level NVQ/qualification and you need to further your experience to comply with Australia if you don’t already meet their criteria… I believe, after having read that. I hope I’ve got the jist of what you’re saying! After reading about how to get into Australia for months on end your head turns to mush and just when you think it can’t get any more complicated it does! Haha.

        • JohnOh May 7, 2014, 9:54 pm |

          Just think: Warm warmer weather, beaut non crowded beaches *cept in the larger cities (and you still have choice going elsewhere where its not)
          And the economy is still reasonable.
          Clear your head and forge on instead…They just want it too sound “complicated” Complicated is w hen you get married…
          Not a plumber but can find relative info. Best of luck

          • Cecily May 7, 2014, 10:21 pm |

            I’m not a plumber either unfortunately – it just struck a chord of interest with me that just when you think Australia can’t get any stricter – they do!

            I’m just a little 21 year old living in the UK who (at the moment) doesn’t have a chance in hell of getting into Australia (I work in Admin). But I like to think anything is possible when you’re young! So I’m at the ‘idea’ stage and currently considering re-training as something completely different to up my chances of getting into Oz some day! But apart from my not having the right occupation I am young, intelligent and my English language is sufficient (at least I like to think so – I do have an A-Level in English Literature)! So hopefully it is possible.

            I’m always cold in the UK so the fact that Australia has amazing warm weather sold the idea to me straight away! I’ve been reading Bob’s blog since January and I’ve become obsessed with Australia. It looks beautiful, sunny and just like a paradise! It’s nice to see other people on this blog sharing the same dream as me.

            P.s I’m so jealous of people who were born in Oz – if only I could be re-born in Oz instead of having to re-train! Haha

            • JohnOh May 7, 2014, 11:07 pm |

              If you want to come to Australia you’ll need to either marry someone here or organise a job which complies with migration. A working holiday would be a good start perhaps.
              Ask Bob what he did.
              Calling Bob: are you there Bob?
              BTW at past 60 I was living in Europe as a 8 yo, and when Dad said he was moving to Australia, I was smart enough to see that I wanted to go and couldn’t wait….I’ve never wanted to go back….
              Perhaps Western Australia would be a start. Lots of Ex poms there….

              • BobinOz May 8, 2014, 9:34 pm |

                What do you need me for? Looks like you two getting on like a house on fire.

                Anyway, back to plumbing, Nick explained a fair bit about the retraining in a couple of comments that you can read here. Hope that helps.

                JohnOh has made a good point, don’t worry too much about this finite stuff just get here first and it will all fall into place and I hope you find a way to get here sometime soon Cecily.

                Cheers, Bob

  • Ping pong aussie October 21, 2013, 2:14 pm |

    As an Australian who has spent 8 years living in the UK, I can tell you my reasons for being dreadfully homesick (for Blighty):

    Weather- give me Winter snow, Autumn leaves, Springtime flowers or beautiful mild English Summer over 6 months of Perth’s appalling heat, flies, sunburn & glare.

    Culture- trips to beautiful galleries, museums & historic homes where I can learn about anything from pre-history to medieval life to the Victorians to anything and everything about the modern world compared with the handful of galleries, museums & historic homes in Perth that you can literally visit all in one weekend and learn about early settlers and aboriginals.

    Cost of living: In London we lived in a beautiful flat just off the highstreet with everything we needed within a 5-10 minute walk, could walk to Hampstead Heath in 30 minutes & could be in central Lonfon in 15-20 mins on the AWFUL (but effective) tube. In Perth we currenly live in an ok but seriously overpriced house in the burbs with nothing in walking distance, the city is 40 minutes drive away and to get some decent quality or just a bit different food we need to drive for nearly an hour.

    People- yes,plenty of unfriendly people in London but the ones who were friendly were so polite and lovely that it makes the average Perth person seem like the most ill-mannered people.

    Friends- our friends in England went out of their way to make us feel special while our friends for over 20 years here contantly make us feel bad for not liking summer, having interests in things like history and god forbid organising anything other than a bbq, picnic or something in your backyard.

    Work- Both of us had senior positions in interesting organisations in the UK whereas here we have had to settle for graduate positions in rather dull companies with no chance of promotion.

    Sorry for the rant. Have been back in Perth for 2.5 years since coming back for family illness and still struggle every day with the reality of life here.

    • BobinOz October 21, 2013, 8:43 pm |

      No need to apologise, you are just giving us your opinion.

      Perth and London are about as different as a Christmas card and an elephant. Some of the reasons you give for pining for England are the very reasons many people want to leave England in the first place.

      It just goes to show that everybody is different and personally, as an Englishman, you couldn’t drag me back to the UK with wild horses, for you it’s the exact opposite.

      Each to his own, I’m just glad you have found a country you like.

      Cheers, Bob

    • Andrew February 5, 2014, 8:34 am |

      Your problem is Perth.

      Move to Melbourne or Sydney, and it will be much easier.

    • louisa klimentos March 22, 2016, 10:04 am |

      Often people leave their home country for another,to find themselves home sick and want to return.Then sometimes when people return to their home country,they see it has changed and then become caught between two countries.often it is the problem with in one self ,rather than which country is better.What i mean is that some people haven’t found peace with in themselves,so they make a move to another country.When moving to another country it takes along time to adjust and if you feel unsettled ,you become home sick.So find peace within yourself .BobinOz has done well for himself,since moving to Australia.He definately has peace with in himself.It is all about learning to enjoy the moment.i learned this through Edghardt toll.Keep enjoying your life in OZ,regards louisa

      • BobinOz March 22, 2016, 6:33 pm |

        I’ve seen it quite a few times myself, people returning back to England because they miss it, and then realising what a big mistake that was and that maybe they should have stayed in Australia after all.

        I always advise people to go back for a long holiday, I find three weeks is plenty to realise that the UK isn’t the answer. I know three families who have been on holiday to the UK within the last year and they all said it was great for a break, but they wouldn’t want to live there again.

        I also think some people are tempted to move back because they have nostalgic memories about the place, but when they physically get there, there’s nothing to be nostalgic about.

        By the way, I have a copy of the book ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle on my shelf just two meters from me in this office 🙂

  • John Oh September 25, 2013, 6:31 am |

    The Australian dream of owning a home has become a nightmare. Fiddled employment figures and full employment data includes part time and casual workers. The real figures do not relate to part of the population who have gone on disability pensions due to age and losing faith in the system. Age discrimination is hidden. So what is the real unemployment figure? 20% has been fairly estimated. And it does not discriminate. Poms are equally out of work. The best chance of scoring a job? Have Friend or relative speak up for you. Nepotism? Yep, but in times of trouble, Friends and relatives are a necessity. I speak from experience, and those same people can trust you to do the right thing. Of course it will not allow you to get your foot in the door if you are an unknown. Poms included. But in times of a better economy, you will find it easier. In times past, I was waiting on a bus and got a job offer. That time has passed…. (1960’s)
    But hey you’ve got BOBINOZ. It’s a good start. Farting and needing a license? Environmental laws are such a pain! Even the British Queen requires one these days.

    • Helen March 22, 2015, 8:58 pm |

      I’ve been here for 30 years and am considering going back. Australia is not the place it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. It is a sinking ship. There is no work – if you have a job then stick with it because you won’t get another one. I’ve worked in Melbourne for 30 years and have a two hour travelling time a day and I’m over it. The price of housing is unbelievable and impossible for someone on an average wage to even contemplate. Food is expensive and fresh food and meat is of low quality and top price. Rates and household bills are extortionate and if you have to get in a tradesman prepare to be ripped off. It is a country that will suck you dry, and it is so darned hot in the summer that you can’t do anything. It is cold in the winter and the houses are not built well enough so are cold and heating costs become too high, even when you are at work all day. As you can tell, I’m definitely ready to go home, where people are ordinary, away from the high expectations and greed of this country.

      • BobinOz March 23, 2015, 5:13 pm |

        You’ve been here for 30 years and yet you have nothing good to say about this country? Why has it taken you so long to start thinking about moving back to ‘home”. I’ve got news for you Helen, nowhere on this planet is the place it was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.

        Wherever home is for you, I’m betting that if you go back there you’ll be moaning about the rates, household bills, the weather and the tradies within a couple years and you will probably realise that actually, Australia was pretty good.

        • Mark Parker March 25, 2015, 10:02 pm |

          Couldn’t agree more Bob!
          I was living in Oxford two and a half year ago, when you couldn’t get anywhere because the roads were so congested – my wife reminded me this morning on our drive to work that she used to have to listen closely to the traffic report every morning otherwise she night have had a 2 hour delay on the M40 -, they were never cleared when it snowed because the authorities wouldn’t spend the money. If Helen returns to the UK, she will have something in common with the ‘fresh’ produce she buys from Sainsbury’s as both will have flown from the antipodes because the supermarkets freeze their fruit and veg in NZ.
          Also, good luck in finding reasonable accommodation in London within an hour’s journey from your beloved museums.
          You also mentioned fuel bills and jobs over here… again good luck dealing with those things in the UK.
          About the weather… are you kidding! I don’t miss getting up in the morning for 4 months of the year with a chill in my bones that takes longer and longer each year to subside. Then when you go outside and you can’t breathe because of the smog!
          I could go on all day!!!
          Finally, if you do return Helen, don’t keep a home fire burning for me!

  • John September 25, 2013, 3:27 am |

    Australia is a fantastic country however it is ruined by cost of living .The greed of the Australians especially in the housing market is beyond belief .
    The other problem Many Brits find is the ridiculous licensing system in Aus for jobs .if you break wind in Australia someone will want to force you to do a training course and have a licence to do it.
    I love Australia most of the people are lovely and they have had the common sense to control immigration I would love to return but at today’s Australian prices they can go
    #### them ######.

  • John Oh March 28, 2013, 8:23 pm |

    Perhaps if you’d a got a 475 visa you might have got a job….But you need to have come from India first.

  • Fair Go March 28, 2013, 7:35 pm |

    We have just completed our departure from Australia.

    Having to retrain as an Australian Plumber or Dentist is something you may be able to budget for … but since the Global Financial Crisis we have encountered ongoing predudice in the Australian workplace.

    Not being “Proper Australians” we constantly struggled to find positions and compensation inline with our skills and experience. Time and again we found ourselves in short term contract roles reporting to proper Australians with little ambition.

    In the last two years things have become worse with the introduction of blanket “security vetting” requirements for public sector jobs.

    The high cost of living, poor public school standards and a general lack of a sense of fun were factors for us… But the bottom line is that there is little point moving to a country with a better economy if you are not going to get a fair go.

    I would not say that Australians are specifically unfair to UK citizens. But in a tight job market UK citizens can not expect preferential treatment.

    • BobinOz March 30, 2013, 8:23 pm |

      That’s a pretty hefty swipe at Australia, I’m sure that if you were able to do a moonie out of the aeroplane window as you took off, you would have done the as well. It’s also, in my view, a very unfair swipe; I find it ironic that you’ve decided to call yourself “Fair Go”.

      You haven’t pulled any punches, so I won’t with my answer.

      I find your comments very strange and spiteful, but most of all, confusing. That confusion is summed up in your final two sentences. Firstly, “I would not say that Australians are specifically unfair to UK citizens.”

      Really? So what were all those complaints that went before it all about then?

      And the second one “But in a tight job market UK citizens can not expect preferential treatment.”

      Ah, that explains it! You expected preferential treatment, but when you didn’t get it you blamed the GFC and prejudice in the Australian workplace.

      Within walking distance from my house I can go to the houses of two UK plumbers who came here, one from Manchester and the other from the Midlands. Both are doing extraordinarily well in their jobs and both love it here. Talikng of tradies, I also personally know three electricians, one from South London, another from the South of England and the third from South Africa, all are doing a roaring trade and are very happy here.

      As for dentists, I just did a Google search for dentists in Brisbane. There are 109 dentists in the list, here’s a selection from the top 16, just their surnames; Ko, Chen, Leong, Fitzpatrick, Lo-An Vu, Iyer, Mak, Kuthubutheen, Tran, do they sound like typical Australian names to you?

      Not really, are they? But they are all dentists who have come here and been given a fair go. I think you need to look at yourselves and work out what your part was in your failure to settle here before you accuse the Australian workplace of being prejudice.



  • Rebecca September 18, 2012, 5:22 pm |

    I think your article is ok but some people’s families cannot come and visit. I know friends whose parents cannot afford to come over here and in my personal position my mother had a medical condition that does not allow her to fly. Maybe think a bit more about your article than generalising on your own experience.

    • BobinOz September 20, 2012, 12:25 am |

      Maybe if you had clicked on the linked word ‘here’ Rebecca, in the sentence you were obviously referring to, the final one that says…

      ‘Besides, your real family can always come out and visit you. But will they? Find out here’

      … then maybe you would have seen that I have thought about it and I do address the concerns you mention.

  • BobinOz January 4, 2012, 12:16 pm |

    I’m sure they would have only used excrement if they ran out of ochre. Three years ago an Aboriginal painting by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri sold for $2.4 million! So someone likes their stuff quite a lot. More here… https://www.bobinoz.com/5904/aboriginal-art-history-explained/

  • John V. January 2, 2012, 6:59 pm |

    Its funny that the more “educated” people think they have become, the more they sneer at stone age art. Yet Pablo Picaso went forwards by going backwards as well. These paintings by aboriginals, are unique and their own. I think they too have s history of art. as limited it was by their way of life. Even out own stone age paintings arent to much different. Rocks? Yep they use them too. And they have a life of their own. Excrement? A new exiting use of a recyclable product. (Grin!) Aldo is not an artist? Didnt ever think you were.

  • Aldo January 2, 2012, 6:38 pm |

    “Maybe I missed a meeting, but isn’t the oldest and most diverse land-mass in the world coupled with the culture, artwork and traditions of the Aboriginal people enough?”

    Well if you believe that smearing excrement up walls with your fingers and matchstick figures constitutes art then the Aboriginals rock.

    • Rupert January 2, 2012, 9:11 pm |

      Aldo, I’m sure you’re ‘just kidding’, but go to an art gallery and stand in wonder at the huge canvasses of colour by young Aboriginal artists. The paintings are magnificent. I’m not talking about the little old lady on the side of the road in Alice Springs, or the artists being exploited by tourist shops. There is a new movement of talented Aboriginals who are really making a hit on the worldwide stage. Of course they started by sketching on the inside of caves, but so did the Engels and all Stone-Age peoples.

      By the way – have you been following the Turner Prize for the last decade? Now that’s what I would call excrement.

  • Mark P December 24, 2011, 1:02 am |

    I’m quite happy that Poms are leaving Oz as I’m a pom trying to get into Oz with my family and the last thing I want to find when I get there is the place full of ’em! I’ve heard and it has also been my limited experience that aussies are generally more friendly and outgoing, which is what my family is looking for.



    • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 8:50 pm |

      Unfortunately (for you) Poms are arriving faster than they are leaving. The Pom graph continues to rise. You will just have to find a way to put up with us 🙂

      • Mark P December 28, 2011, 11:10 pm |

        Hmmm, I may have to re-assess!! 😉

  • Rick December 23, 2011, 8:50 pm |

    Hi Bob!

    Great posting.

    I think that your posting along with theses articles give credence to the fact that every human being is indeed unique (different) and we all have our own likes and dislikes and or tastes.
    No matter how you present the theme, there will always be differing opinions of whether the glass as half full or half empty. I tend too see it as completely full of both air and water ;0)

    I loved Oz when I went there. I believe that it is truly the land of opportunity in the 21st century. I will be doing my visa work to move there in 2012 – 2013.

    Cheers and thanks!
    Rick Miner (Madrid, Spain)

    • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 8:48 pm |

      Hi Rick

      So true. One person’s paradise is another man’s hell. If everybody’s idea of paradise was in the same place, it would be hell to live there.

      So, it’s a good thing everyone is different.

      Good luck with your visa application.



  • John Vance December 23, 2011, 3:12 pm |

    Mmmm, some thought went into this one.
    We must remember : No man is an island. Being on the biggest island in the world, keeping to yourselves is not a great idea. Allowing yourself to be
    1) friendly
    2) be prepared to meet new people by joining various social clubs
    3) Joining ex pats (allready covered
    4) Taking on two jobs, 1 for income 2 for working from home ( A sign telling locals what you do as a profession and meeting locals They will soon want jobs for nuthing and be very friendly)
    5) Joins a not for profit organisation like Salvation army etc.
    6) Volunteer
    7) Do something socially great
    8) Blow some income on a good deed at Christmas or any other time
    9) Write to your local paper expalining your views in a neat socially acceptable way and become an MP… (Whoops some of the poms are allready doing this)
    10) Join the RSPCA as a volunteer…youre not the onlu animal that need company!
    11 ) All tongue in cheek suggestions, if youre lonely pick one that suits you!

    • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 8:45 pm |

      They may be tongue in cheek, but they all work in one way or another. It’s all about getting involved.

      Hmm, maybe I could become an MP here one day……

    • Mark P December 28, 2011, 11:08 pm |

      Hi John,

      Even if you’re not lonely, pick one or two! The best way to settle in somewhere is surely to immerse yourself in the environment… but hey, what do I know, I’m not even there yet! :-))


  • Danny December 23, 2011, 3:09 pm |

    We moved to oz last September and are loving it. We both never visited before but as it is just the two of us, it would be very easy to move on again. We live in brisvegas and because I work for an airline, we have seen plenty of the country already on weekend trips etc. On big reason that I am missing to move back is simply because it was planned. We are going to be here for 2 to 2 1/2 years to explore the country before moving back. Plans might always change but I guess plenty of people do the same, have an adventure before settling down back home. Danny

    • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 8:40 pm |

      Hi Danny

      That’s exactly why the figures are as they are. There will always be people returning to England, and many of them never intended to stay. They just wanted to enjoy Australia for awhile before returning home. Just like you both intend to do.

      I hope you continue to enjoy your time here, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll go back and then maybe you’ll decide to come back here to Australia again.

      Ping Pong Pom like 🙂

  • dumb_ox December 11, 2011, 12:02 am |

    The main reason they move home is because they are sick of everone being named Bruce.

    • BobinOz December 13, 2011, 11:24 pm |

      Hmm, the only Bruce I ever met out here was from England, visiting on a working holiday. I think you’re suffering from too much Monty Python.

      • Rupert December 13, 2011, 11:33 pm |

        I do know an Aussie Bruce – but he lives in London. He moved because he was sick of Bogans!

        • BobinOz December 16, 2011, 9:53 pm |

          Yeah, as if there aren’t any Bogans in London, they are just not called Bogans. Lol!

          • Rupert December 16, 2011, 9:58 pm |

            Tru dat innit? Naa I mean? Wha’ it iz yeah…

            • BobinOz December 19, 2011, 10:17 pm |

              Now I remember, it’s Chavs, innit?

      • Mark P December 24, 2011, 1:04 am |

        Bob, I think there’s a clue in his user name!

        • BobinOz December 28, 2011, 8:14 pm |

          I should have spotted that, shouldn’t I?

  • Liv December 10, 2011, 11:41 am |

    Hi Bob – I found those articles fascinating when I read them last week too. I think the most important thing anyone considering the move can do is research. I am constantly amazed by the number of people who claim they didn’t know about the flies / heat / distance from ‘home’. I have to admit that I miss the proximity to Europe. I’m going to Bali next week though, so I’m hoping fall in love with our proximity to Asia!

    • BobinOz December 13, 2011, 11:22 pm |

      Hi Liv

      Lots of people come here without ever having visited, that surprises me too. It’s a lot of effort to go through if it’s going to turn out you don’t like the place. And a long way back.

      Hope you enjoy Bali!

  • Rupert December 9, 2011, 3:16 am |

    Great post Bob – and thanks for the links to the BBC articles.

    Yes, Sydney and Melbourne are expensive, but where in the world that is decent isn’t expensive to live?

    Yes, European culture is on the UK’s doorstep, but what is that exactly when it’s been homogenised and mediocritised by American corporate culture?

    Maybe I missed a meeting, but isn’t the oldest and most diverse land-mass in the world coupled with the culture, artwork and traditions of the Aboriginal people enough? Or is it castles and royal palaces that they’re missing?

    Terrible TV? Really? Have these people not heard of DVD box-sets, the internet or even switching it off and going out? Oh, but it’s too hot – and there are too many flies. Doh!

    I could go on, but you’ve done a brilliant job covering all the points yourself Bob, suffice to say that it appears to me that those who leave Australia probably weren’t really up for it in the first place.

    If some English people feel isolated and lonely, then maybe they should take a long, hard look at themselves before blaming everyone else. Everything comes from within – and if you want to meet new people and have exciting experiences, then you have to reach out and keep reaching out.

    Let’s not forget that everywhere will become affordable again as soon as we restructure capitalism and put an end to corporate greed (but that’s another debate!).

    • BobinOz December 9, 2011, 10:16 pm |

      Hi Rupert

      Yes, life is a bit of what you make it for all of us. Anyone who goes home because they don’t like Australian TV will not be missed too much 🙂

    • Emma Lloyd November 29, 2013, 7:52 am |

      I think you’re right Bob, the only real reasons are missing family and friends and a sense of loneliness and that you might be missing out in something better back home. I moved back to the UK in 2011 after 12 years in Oz, for all those reasons. However, $50,000 in costs later, and a new dog from England, I am back in Oz as it is clear that England isn’t for me. I will still miss lots of things and my heart randomly implodes with home sickness on a frequent basis, but I know I am still in the right place for me. That said, if it wasn’t for the cost and trauma of moving my dogs every time, I would probably make the pilgrimage back to the UK every 5 years or so! I think that once you have spent a significant amount of time living in two places, you will always feel torn in some way so I will always miss wherever I am not! I have so many more opportunities out here though and the weather is of course massive bonus. So, unless I win the lottery and they abolish Aussie quarantine, Australia will remain my home!! And how lucky am I??!… 😀

      • BobinOz November 29, 2013, 4:12 pm |

        I suppose in some ways I am very lucky Emma in is much as I have never pined for England once in the six years I’ve been here so far. Mrs Bob went back to England for a visit last year, I stayed here in Australia.

        She did enjoy England, but only for a holiday, she knows Australia is the right place for her and Elizabeth to be now. Sounds like quite an expensive hiccup you had there, it’s not cheap ping ponging back and forth.

        I think sometimes the memory of England can be better than the reality and I think that’s probably what you discovered. Thanks for your story Emma, your journey back to the UK may have been expensive, but at least you now know where you belong.

        Cheers, Bob

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