Aussies Abandon Credit Crunch UK

Aussies Abandon Credit Crunch UK

Enda Brady
Sky News reporter
2:31am UK, Wednesday November 26, 2008

Not so long ago, one corner of west London was home to so many young Australians it became known as Kangaroo Valley.

Kasey Rushton plans to quit her bar job and head home to Queensland

But not any more. Earls Court is changing as more and more Australians leave Britain to escape the effects of the credit crunch.

At the Walkabout bar just up the road in Shepherds Bush, 22-year-old Kasey Rushton is dreaming of home – and she has come to a decision.

In March she will quit her bar job and head back to Queensland in the hope of finding work as a photographer.

“I just know I have a better chance there of finding a permanent job and the pay is a lot better for Australians there than it is here,” Kasey told Sky News Online.

“You can only usually find bar or office work here and the pay isn't as good.”

The Aussie love affair with London isn't over, it'll continue for generations. But more and more we'll come to party and nothing else.

– Australian bar worker Kasey Rushton

Statistics from the Australian government's immigration department show that an average of 2,700 are now leaving the UK each month compared to 1,750 three years ago.

The number applying for working holiday visas has dropped from 27,000 a year in 2006 to 13,062.

Better prospects, not to mention better weather, make going home a regular topic of conversation.

Bar manager Derryn Marsh agrees: “It's a pretty big talking point at the moment because it's just so much nicer at home.

“Everyone is set up so well back there and I can earn a much better wage there than I can here. Plus there's a feeling that Australia will be cushioned from the effects of the credit crunch.”

Life's a beach in Sydney

Employment experts are urging the Government not to tighten up the immigration system too far because these workers will all be needed when things get better.

“It certainly is a sign of the times but this demonstrates that people come to work in Britain when there are jobs available,” said Anne Fairweather from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

“That's why they're leaving now. When we come out the other side of this and have an upturn we'll be needing skilled workers back again.”

Australians have long argued that their country's best export has been its people. London's loss could well be Australia's gain.