Brits flock to start a new life in Australia
The Australian Associated Press, November 27, 2009
The number of people leaving Britain has soared to a record high, with Australia the top country of choice to set up home, new statistics show.
Official figures released yesterday reveal 427,000 people left Britain last year, the highest number ever recorded and up 25 per cent on the previous year.
The rise was largely driven by a 50 per cent leap in the departure of non-British citizens for foreign shores, including 20,000 Australians who bid farewell to Britain.
While the number of those bound for Australia dipped to 56,000 last year from 59,000 in 2007, Australia remained the clear destination of choice ahead of Poland, Germany, Spain and France.
Of those who moved Down Under, 63 per cent were British citizens and 32 per cent were Australians returning home.
'In 2008, Australia continued to be the most popular country of next residence for those emigrating from the UK,' the Office for National Statistics said.
'British emigrants intending to reside in Australia stated work-related reasons as their main reason for emigrating, of whom 53 per cent had a definite job to go to.'
Britain's record emigration levels came at a time when its economy began to slide into recession as the credit crunch began to take its toll.
Australia escaped a similar fate, with its economy bucking the international trend and continuing to grow.
However the statistics also show Britain still managed to draw tens of thousands of immigrants from Australia.
Of the 590,000 total immigrants who arrived in Britain last year, 26,000 came from Australia.
More than half of those who left Australia were born overseas, including 9000 Brits who wanted to return to their homeland.
Again, the most common reason to move was for work.
The number of Australian citizens moving to Britain, though, fell by 4000 to 14,000.