Australia is without a doubt at the top of the list of most popular destinations for British nationals travelling or moving abroad. And when you consider the vast country at the bottom of the pacific ocean offers well over 21,000 miles of incredibly beautiful coastline, with stunning beaches and the Great Barrier Reef thrown in for good measure, in addition to lively sub-tropical rainforests and all the modern conveniences you could expect anywhere on the globe; this state of affairs should not be a cause for wonder.According to figures provided by the British Home Office, well over 620,000 British nationals visit or move to Australia each year. The vast majority of these visits are trouble free but nonetheless, it is important to have all the relevant information about Australian travel visa requirements and also general travel precautions.
What Sort of Visa do you Need as a UK National Travelling or Moving to Australia?
British nationals travelling to Australia require some form of visa authorization to travel, even for a short visit. But if the stay does not exceed ninety days, the only requirement is getting an eVisitor visa which can be obtained online without the need to pay a visit to an actual Australian embassy.
In general, there are about 60 classes of Visas which a British national might be eligible for when moving to Australia on an extended visit. The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration has a very handy online Visa Wizard tool which can help you easily determine the type of visa you need for your visit. That said, the ones summarized below are the five most common types of visas which a British national might be interested in getting before moving to Australia:
- Skilled Independent Migration Visa:
This category of Australian visas is open to would-be emigrants aged below 50 who are not sponsored and whose qualifications are relevant to the occupations listed on Australia’s “skilled occupation list”. The list includes such professionals as teachers, engineers, actuaries, accountants, engineers, special needs teachers, electricians and dentists.
- Employer Nomination Scheme
A visa category for people sponsored by an overseas employer. There are various subclasses in this category including for temporary work, yacht crew and for a partner accompanying a skilled employee.
- Business Migration Visa
A special class of emigrant visas intended to encourage entrepreneurial business people and investors to pour money in Australia’s economy.
- Student Visa
Available for British nationals going to study in Australia either for a short or lengthy period of time
- Retirement Visa
Australian retirement visas are open for people aged 55 and above willing to move to Australia on a permanent basis. To be eligible for the scheme, the retiree must have no dependents (excluding a partner), be self supported in addition to being able to make “a significant long-term financial investment in Australia.” In other words, they need to have assets totalling at least £484,000 ($750,000) or at least £323,000 ($500,000) if they wish to settle in regional Australia.
There is an additional requirement attached to such applications stating that applicants must have a minimum net income £42,000 ($65,000) which may be in the form of retirement income.
Why do British Nationals Travel to Australia?
Australia is by far the most popular country destination for British nationals. This says a lot considering that Britain contributes by far the largest stock of overseas emigrant populations in the western world. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, a total of 4,666,172 British nationals were living abroad by the end of 2011; far ahead of the next OECD country in the list, Germany, which had a total of 3,529,460 of its citizens living abroad.
Australia has very strong links to the United Kingdom going way back to James Cook’s arrival in the territory in 1770. By 1829 Britain had declared Australia as a British territory and since, a strong fascination between Aussies and Brits has remained to date.
By Numbers: British Nationals Moving to Australia
The most reliable study carried out to determine emigration trends for British nationals was commissioned by the British Home office and published in November 2012. There are other reports such as the Parliamentary Report on Migration statistics published as recently as 01 December 2014 too which provide useful insights on statistics collected about UK emigrants to Australia.
Both of these reports agree that Australia remains the most popular destination for emigrants from the UK. The latter shows that between 2001 and 2013 Australia has remained the most popular destination for British nationals moving abroad though the figures have been declining slightly over the years.
In 2013 for example 44,000 Brits emigrated to Australia, and moved funds from UK to Australia, compared to 48,000 for both 2011 and 2012 and only slightly higher than the lowest figure in the list (40,000 in 2010). 2006 represents the year when most British nationals, 68,000 of them; moved from the United Kingdom to Australia.
According to the Foreign Office report 72% of those people leaving the UK to move to Australia and other countries in the British commonwealth in 2011 said they left either for a definite job or to look for work. Around 11% said they left to accompany or join someone already living in Australia. A further 6% were leaving for formal study. The overwhelming majority of these were aged between 15 and 24.
Unsurprisingly, the reason given by those choosing to emigrate who were aged 15 years or below was to accompany or join an adult. Among adults, far more women leave the UK for Australia in order to join or accompany someone. In 2010 for instance, one in every four adults who said they were leaving the UK to join or accompany someone were women.