‘Boomerang Poms’ flee Australia’s traffic and TV

Thousands of Britons head for a new life in Australia every year, but it is often not the one-way trip they anticipated. Julian Lorkin looks at why UK migrants frequently decide the wide open spaces of Australia are not for them._89747931_hi022275241

The idea of a Sunday drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past glorious harbour views to Bondi Beach, conjures up an idyllic lifestyle that looms large in the imagination of many British people.

A total of 1.2 million UK citizens live in Australia – people like Jo Williams, who moved to Sydney from Sutton, near London. But Jo is one of many Britons who find that stereotypical images of a relaxed lifestyle down under don’t match up to reality.

For instance, she knows that a drive to Bondi Beach on the weekend means battling Sydney’s “horrendous” traffic.

“Driving is my biggest Australian bugbear, on badly designed roads, along with spending a fortune for a café lunch,” she says.

It is also harder to find work than migrants expect. Even though Australia’s unemployment rate sits at just 5.7%, low by OECD standards, Jo believes UK work experience and qualifications aren’t sufficiently valued by Australian companies.