Around two million Australians and New Zealanders live and work overseas, but thanks to strong economic and job prospects, many are considering moving back.
1 million citizens aim to return to Australia and New Zealand
Almost half (47%) of the one million or so Australian citizens living abroad definitely intend to return to the country, according to a new Expat Insights 2018 survey.
Brexit uncertainty leads to questions
This is particularly true of Aussies and Kiwis in Britain, where Brexit uncertainty is leading them to question if they would not be better off back home.
Going Home: seminars
That’s why the Australia-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce has held two special seminars entitled Going Home: Making the Decision and Going Home: Making the Move.
Among main speakers at the event at hosted by the Australian-UK Chamber, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and Kea New Zealand, was Dan Barker, Halo Financial’s Head of Private Client and Partnerships. Other partners taking part included pensions specialist, BDH Sterling, recruiter, Robert Walters and software tools provider, Atlassian.
‘Many nationals are thinking of moving back’
Dan Barker says, “With strong economic and jobs growth in both Australia and New Zealand, many nationals in other countries are thinking of moving back.
“The uncertainty caused by Brexit in the UK and the knock-on effect to business has put into sharp focus the difference between the economic outlook in Britain and down under.
“Moving back is a big step, which is why it is advisable to obtain professional help and advice when making the decision and taking the practical steps to ensure a smooth move.”
Halo Financial has picked out some top tips from the presentations on why nationals should think of moving back to Australia and New Zealand and how they can ensure a smooth transition.
Why move back to Australia and New Zealand?
Australia’s economy grew at its fastest rate for six year to the end of Quarter 2, 2018. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose 3.4% a year, the strongest year-ended rate of growth since 2012, according to the latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia. New Zealand’s economy is also performing strongly, with GDP growing at 2.8% a year and up 1% in Quarter 2, 2018 – better than the Reserve Bank of New Zealand expected and the highest quarterly rise for two years. Compare that to the UK at 1.2% in the year to Quarter 2, 2018, with Office for National Statistics saying, “the underlying trend is still one of slowing real GDP growth” and you can see the difference in performance.
There is now coming up to five months left before Britain is set to leave the European Union and there is still no clear indication on whether the UK will be able to agree the terms for leaving the EU. There is now talk of extending the transition period to give more time to find solutions to the most difficult issues, including the Irish border, but as CNN puts it, “Whatever happens, Brexit is bad for business.” It explains, “Uncertainty surrounding Brexit has already hurt companies and the economy. UBS estimated last month that the UK economy is already 2% smaller than it would have been without Brexit. The United Kingdom was the fastest growing G7 economy when the Brexit referendum was held in June 2016. It is now the slowest. The government’s latest official forecasts expect growth to slow to 1.5% this year and 1.3% in 2019.”
With Australia’s booming population officially hitting a record 25 million people in August 2018, a decade earlier than forecast, and the country is looking to a strong infrastructure pipeline to ensure a high quality of life for its citizens.
The Australian Government has committed more than AUS$75 billion (£41.4 billion) over the next 10 years in spending on major infrastructure projects, with Victoria and New South Wales leading the country in infrastructure investment. From Victoria’s ‘Suburban Rail Loop’ plan linking every major rail line in Melbourne, to New South Wales’ Western Sydney ‘Aerotropolis’ project, which aims to establish 200,000 new jobs and a 24-hour economy set around the new Western Sydney Airport, new infrastructure improvements are taking shape. New Zealand is also aiming to make a major investment in infrastructure, says the Department of Trade. An estimated $129 billion is expected to be spent on capital projects between 2019 and 2029, says the government. It is even forming a new independent body to oversee planning and implementation.
4) Minimum wage
The current minimum wage in Australia is AUD $18.93 an hour, which is equivalent to more than £10 an hour at typical mid-market rates at time of writing in October 2018. In New Zealand, the minimum wage is $16.50 an hour, or around £8.25. Starting out workers’ wages and the training minimum wage are $13.20 an hour. Both minimum wage rates are higher than the UK’s £4.05 National Minimum Wage for 16-17-year olds and more than the £5.90 for 18-20-year olds, £7.05 for 21-24-year olds and £7.83 for those over 25.
5) Quality of life
New Zealand is the second-best country in the world to live and Australia the sixth best, while the UK is down in 22nd. That is according to the 2018 Expat Explorer Survey, from HSBC. New Zealand is number one in the world for experience, ninth for economics and second for family. The report says, “With its breath-taking scenery and inviting outdoor lifestyle, welcoming atmosphere and personal benefits that can last a lifetime, the expats who have moved to New Zealand from every corner of the world are convinced they made a great choice.” Australia is ranked fourth best in the world for experience, seventh best in the world for its economy and 15th best in the world for family. “What makes them [expats] come from the other side of the world is the quality of life, and they find it in bucketloads. More than half of expats here say their physical health is better than at home and that they feel safer and more secure. They are more active in a natural environment that almost three quarters say is better than the one they left behind.” The UK is 16th for economics, 28th for experience and 27th for family. A similar result comes in the Atlas Wealth Management Expat Insights Survey, which placed the UK as the 18th best country for Australians to live in. Top is Singapore. The biggest driver of moving back to Australia is living closer to the family. That is chosen by 43% of Australian expats taking part in the survey.
Practical tips for moving back to Australia and New Zealand
1) Opening a new bank account
Whether you’re moving to Australia to live, work or study, Commonwealth Bank of Australia makes it easier to open a new account. The process is fast, secure and provides you with instant access to your account details. You can view your balance online before you arrive, using Australia’s number one online bank NetBank. You can start transferring money to your new Australian account, once you arrive in the country and identify yourself at a Commonwealth Bank branch.
Account holders enjoy the convenience of:
• More than 950 branches nationally
• NetBank and the CommBank App, where customers can access and manage your money – anywhere, anytime
• Personalised support of a Relationship Manager for clients earning an annual income of $80,000 or above, verified by the bank.
To instantly open an account or for personal support, visit the website. There are two tailored Smart Access accounts from which to choose – one for those intending to live and work in Australia. The other is a student account.
Important things to know: Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) ABN 48 123 123 124 is a company incorporated in Australia with limited liability and is subject to Australian regulation. The products and services that are the subject of this communication are subject to Australian regulation and are not regulated or covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK. CBA is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 139185).
2) ‘Move happy’
It is possible to ‘Move Happy’, says Atlassian. Every move has its “unique moving points”. Each individual and family has their own journey, so it’s essential that everyone receives a high touch, personalised moving plan from visas to housing to destination services. Under the tech firm’s Move Happy programme, international candidates receive a personalised relocation with help covering everything from flights to temporary housing, tax consultations, furniture and vehicle shipping, destination services and personalised welcome gifts.
Andy Mountney, Head of EMEA Sourcing, at Atlassian says, “What was once an isolated part of the world which some would never have imaged to rival Silicon Valley, Sydney has grown into the next major global tech hub. Here at Atlassian, we’re partnering with the NSW government to create a new technology innovation hub right in the heart of Sydney.
“And as Atlassian and the wider tech industry (including VCs, start-ups, and incubators) set up shop, the opportunities to live and work in a hotbed of innovation are becoming more within reach for those looking to relocate back home or experience a new part of the world. To add to this, there’s a shortage of the technical talent needed to realize this vision. That’s why we’re making it as easy as possible, offering full relocation assistance, travel and temporary housing cost coverage, and more. Even our Head of TA, Robert Allen, described why bringing your tech skills Down Under just might be the trick to accelerate your career.
“Are you pondering the move? Be sure to explore opportunities with Aussie-founded organizations that can work through the ins and outs of changing countries with you whether it’s opening a bank account, converting currency, or finding a new neighbourhood to call home.”
3) Employment and job opportunities
In New Zealand, there are job opportunities for expats in professional services, transformation, construction, infrastructure and technology, says Kate Williams, of Robert Walters.
In Australia, technology, construction and healthcare industries have the best openings for expats, with senior teachings jobs also in demand, according to the Indeed jobs website.
For expats looking for employment, the average time to find work once deciding to return to Australia was 10.1 weeks, according to a survey for Indeed, conducted by the University of Technology Sydney. Four in 10 respondents say it has been easy finding a suitable role, while 33% say it has been difficult. Just over half (51%) say their first role back has been at a higher level, with around a third (35%) getting a lower paid position. Online job searches, recruiters and personal contacts are effective ways to find work in Australia and New Zealand.
Most people gain very specialised experience in the UK, but find that the roles available in New Zealand cover a much wider range of skills. “Because of this I would say speak to friends in your industry, ex-colleagues and specialist recruiters to get a clearer picture of what’s on offer and how your skill set translates,” Kate suggests.
When obtaining pension advice for Australians in the UK, it is important to obtain expert advice from professions in both markets. bdhSterling specialises in both UK and Australian financial planning and pension advice and is licensed in both countries. All UK pension transfer advice produced by bdhSterling is delivered within a written document called a Pension Transfer Analysis Report (PTAR). A bdhSterling licensed UK adviser, who is a specialist in UK pension transfer advice, produces this detailed report. It does not outsource advice. If a pension transfer is recommended, bdhSterling prepares an Australian advice document (called a Statement of Advice or SOA), which integrates with the UK advice and outlines the Australian based recommendations.
5) Currency exchange
When moving money between Australia, New Zealand and the UK, using a currency exchange specialist, like Halo Financial, can save you money over typical bank rates and can take away the time, worry and hassle of making international payments. Getting the timing of your currency trades right and the right rate for your needs is key in volatile currency markets. This is vital when buying or selling houses, as it can mean a difference of thousands of Pounds for those using Sterling and transferring to Australian or New Zealand Dollars. In addition, choose a provider who offers you top-class service. Halo Financial provides dedicated currency consultants for every customer and has high consumer ratings. The company also has significant experience in helping people move, live and work internationally.
For expert guidance on what happens next, contact your Halo Financial currency specialist, watch the latest rates and keep an eye on our news updates.
A Halo Financial insight by Adrian Bishop