IT seems that the allure of working in Australia has not waned. Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World marketing campaign, which closes on 10 April, has received more than 515,000 expressions of interest by nearly 300,000 individuals from 196 countries. The campaign has appealed most to Britons and Americans (both with more than 75,000 applications), followed by Italians (60,000), French (54,000) and Australians (36,000). The official Facebook page has over 400,000 likes.
For some Britons, the call to Australia is much less about fun in the sun and more about better work opportunities and a more balanced life-style – when will this winter end?! So when many Aussies are moving over to the UK, I wanted to find out why Europeans are moving to Australia.
I caught up with Cristina Neagu, a Romanian living in the UK, who is planning on joining her British partner, Dominic Harris, in Australia later in the year. Cristina has travelled to many other European cities and lived in Spain for six years. After deciding to study in England, Cristina booked a holiday to London to see if she liked it here. Like many of us, Cristina fell in love with London immediately.
When I asked Cristina what prompted her decision to move to Australia, she said it was for love. Cristina explains: “My boyfriend has been offered a job out there and after careful consideration he decided to go for it. We’ve been doing long distance since July 2012. The reason I had not gone with him last year is because I had to finish my studies”.
For Dominic, it seemed, the move to Australia came down to economics and lifestyle. Dominic had already had a taste of the Australian way of life. His father had been offered a job in Sydney and the whole family had relocated there for a few years. New job opportunities meant a move away from Australia. But the allure of the Aussie way of life was too much for Dominic, who always wanted to go back.
For anyone thinking of a move to Australia, Cristina warns that in her experience “the Visa process is quite complicated”. However, Cristina admits that it is probably no more complicated than anywhere else and says that “Australia is quite open to new nationals as long as they are perceived to be adding value (financial or expertise) to the country”.
Cristina is self-employed and manages operations in the events and exhibitions industry. Dominic works as a strategic partnership manager in foreign exchange.
“At the moment I am in the position that I will be applying to be an extension of my partner’s 457 (Skilled Migrant Visa) due to our de-facto relationship,” Cristina explains.
“We need to prove that our lives have been intertwined for over six months. However as a back-up I can always apply for a Student Visa and enrol in a course over there.”
Despite planning to move to Australia for love, Cristina remains focused on making the right career move. While she is not sure where her career path will take her, Cristina is excited about the possibilities.
“The job market is fairly strong over in Australia with 71,000 jobs added to the workforce in February alone.”
When I asked Cristina what she was looking forward to most about moving to Australia, she said: “Being able to live close to the city without living in a very small space. [We are] going to be living in what is essentially a fairly quiet suburban area overlooking a big nature reserve and Sydney Harbour, but just a five minute walk to a Westfield Shopping Centre, ten minutes to the beach and 15 minutes to the City for work.
“I am looking forward to being able to get to the beach after work and enjoy drinks on the Harbour. There also seems to be a more balanced lifestyle between work and play. And the first thing I will do when I get there is go whale watching.”
It is not all smooth sailing. One of the challenges of moving to Australia is being so far away from family – it will no longer be a three-hour plane ride. But Cristina is pragmatic.
“I think everyone’s situation is different. But when you really want something, you’ll find a way to make it happen. The main thing is not to lose sight of the bigger picture.”
Like most of us moving to new cities and countries, Cristina sees her move to Australia as a new chapter.
“It’s all very exciting. And it’s a new beginning. I love new beginnings! You get to start fresh and hopefully avoid doing the same mistakes. My main project though is to learn a couple more languages. I’ve always wanted to learn Chinese and German. Hopefully by the time I am 35 I can say I’m fluent in six languages”.
Many Aussies move to the UK to gain a greater world view, experience a different lifestyle and take advantage of opportunities. It seems that the same goes for those moving the other way to the great land down under.