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English invasion

January 21, 2014, 6:30 pm Helen Wellings Today Tonight

Why the British are about to invade our shores in droves, and what it means for your job, house prices and quality of life.


Australia’s popularity stakes are at an all-time high, especially with UK residents who are migrating here in droves.

Former BBC journalist Andrea Maltman wants to stay forever.

“People view Australia as the land of milk and honey,” said Andrea.

“London is a great city, but it is getting more expensive and people find it difficult to afford accommodation.”

Australians should expect 290,000 UK citizens over the next decade, around 30,000 a year – the largest number since the 1970s, and more than double their arrivals in the 90s.

Just last year, 190,000 immigrants from 200 countries settled in Australia, mainly from the UK, New Zealand, China, India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and Korea.

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Director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide Professor Graeme Hugo said Australians and former migrants are leaving to live permanently in other countries, at the rate of almost 100,000 a year.

But, we’re taking in twice that number.

“Australia has a very good international reputation in terms of lifestyle, in terms of security,” said Professor Hugo.

“Our economy has been much stronger than many other countries, but also [because of] the increasing fear in Europe of the GFC, people are worried about the security of their work.”

Australia is a country built on immigration specifically to boost our labour market.

Since the turn of the century, Indians and Chinese came for our booming gold rush economy.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, 1.4 million UK citizens settled here, with a spike of Italians and Vietnamese in the 1980s.

But, with increasing numbers of British and other immigrants coming here, what sort of impact will that have on Australians?

“Migrants coming in – to some extent – do help the economy because they often and increasingly fill gaps in our labour market,” said Professor Hugo.

“Particularly skilled gaps, so it’s incorrect to suggest that there’s a direct competition between migrants and non-migrants.

“All of them have to be housed and that does create pressure on the housing department, and I don’t think we know enough about their impact on the housing market.”

As for UK-born Andrea, she says Australia has to protect its own residents first.

“But what makes countries rich is when you accept talent from outside.”

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