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Aussies head home as UK economy stalls

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 02:17

June 10 - More and more Australians and New Zealanders are leaving the UK to return home, tempted by better jobs, wages and a stronger exchange rate, but what does this mean for the economies in both hemispheres? Joel Flynn reports.

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Indi Boyle left New Zealand in July last year - one of the of thousands of Antipodeans who do so every year. She left a job in radio marketing, but now works behind the counter for Jumbucks Australian Pie Company in central London. Working so she can travel, she says things in the UK are a lot harder than many think. SOUNDBITE: New Zealander, India Boyle, saying (English): "If you don't have a business degree or marketing degree then it is quite hard. People think 'oh, you know, I can get a job' but minimum wage here is a lot different, so it is a struggle." And she's not the only one. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, between 2006 and 2011 the number of Australians and New Zealanders coming to the UK to live fell by around 30%. And since the start of the financial crisis the exodus has accelerated. Around 20 percent more left in 2011 compared to 2010. And businesses catering for them - in Jumbucks' case with Vegemite and Tim Tams - are now suffering. Nabil Bouris is the company's Managing Director. SOUNDBITE: Jumbuck's Australian Pie Company Managing Director, Nabil Bouris, saying (English): "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. 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." A strengthening economy, better job prospects and an advantageous exchange rate are luring Australians home and deterring others from coming. So is the quality of life. The OECD has just ranked Australia as the happiest developed nation in the world - for the third time in a row. But National Australia Bank's Tom Vosa says migration is usually cyclical. SOUNDBITE: NAB Capital Head of Market Economics, Tom Vosa, saying (English): "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." Going home is not necessarily cheaper -- Australian property prices are some of the most expensive in the world. But unless the UK economy picks up soon, the warm shores of the southern hemisphere may be too much for many Antipodeans to resist.

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Aussies head home as UK economy stalls

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 02:17