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Antipodeans Forced To Leave Pricey UK

posted 11 Jun 2013, 07:54 by Mpelembe   [ updated 11 Jun 2013, 07:54 ]

Tighter immigration laws, the recession and an unfavourable exchange rate has made many Antipodeans leave the UK and has had a detrimental effect on a lot of businesses.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM  (REUTERS) -  The number of Australians and New Zealanders living in the UK has decreased over the last few years, according to the UK Office of National Statistics.

Between 2006 and 2011 the number of Antipodeans who came to live in the UK fell by around 30 percent and since the start of the financial crisis the exodus has accelerated.

The Australian population fell by 22,000, about 20 percent, between 2010 and 2011 and the significant drop in numbers is believed to be a combination of the UK recession, tighter immigration laws and an unfavourable exchange rate.

Only 26,000 Australians chose to move to the UK in 2011 - a drop of 50 percent since 2001 - and in the same year, 48,000 Australians left the UK - an increase of 20 percent from 2010.

The exodus has had a detrimental effect on some businesses which catered for Antipodeans in London such as the original Walkabout pub in Covent Garden and the Billabong Bar which have both shut down.

Jumbuck's Aussie Pie Co in Shepherd's Bush has also been struggling.

One of its employees, India Boyle, left New Zealand last year, giving up her job in radio marketing to move to the UK but she said it has been much tougher than she thought to find a job.

"If you don't have a business degree or marketing degree then it is quite hard," Boyle said. "People think 'oh, you know, I can get a job' but minimum wage here is a lot different, so it is a struggle."

Jumbuck's Managing Director, Nabil Bouris, said the company has lost nearly half of its core market since the beginning of 2013.

"Over the last year to two years we have noticed a large drop in both the Australian and the New Zealand visitors to this country and residents, and this has affected our business dramatically," Bouris said. "And over the last six months we've seen a massive drop, maybe 30, 40 percent drop in that specific core market visiting our premises."

Australia's strengthening economy, better job prospects and an advantageous exchange rate are luring expats home and deterring others from coming.

Last month, OECD ranked Australia as the happiest developed nation in the world for the third time in succession.

However, National Australia Bank's Capital Head of Market Economics-Europe,Tom Vosa, believes migration is cyclical and the flow of Antipodeans to the UK could increase again in the future.

"We know that the big waves and the big pushes and pulls are due to economic cycles diverging and indeed by different valuations of the exchange rate, so I think we can expect to see this one again," he said.