Why did 200,000 people immigrate to Australia last year?

Last year, more than 200,000 people uprooted their lives and moved to Australia permanently. Considering the distance of Australia and how disruptive moving countries is, this is a life-changing decision that often involves relocating children, changing professions and learning a new language. So what makes so many people move down under?

1. Australia’s geographic isolation means a fresh start

“Australia is the land of opportunity,” says Peter Richards, Managing Director of TripTide – an Australian travel community that connects travellers with locals. “If you work hard anything is possible.”

In Australia last year, the most common countries of origin of immigrants were India and China. These individuals often say that a key reason for immigrating is because Australia is less restrictive than their home countries. Richards says that this is equally true for the third most common immigrant country, the UK.

“Whilst Europe is largely densely populated, recessive and engulfed in political trauma Australia remains, on the surface, free of these constraints,” Richards says, a UK-citizen himself. “It has always appeared to me that as an immigrant in Australia you will be given a ‘fair go’ and the rest is up to you”.

2. Australians balance work and play

When immigrants come to Australia with a permanent visa, it is often attached to a work opportunity. They soon discover that Australia’s working culture is more casual than other countries.

A casual style at work shows itself in many ways. For example, there is a lot less hierarchy between the boss and a worker in Australia. A junior employee may be expected to give their thoughts and suggest approaches from the first day. Similarly, a junior employee will often socialise with their colleagues, including senior executives, over beer on Friday afternoon. And neckties are rare – you may even be teased for wearing one.

“Coming from work-obsessed UK, the new immigrant will have to get used to a more relaxed style in the work environment,” Richards says. “This doesn’t make the end product any less worthy – quite the opposite.

“In my view Aussies work hard but they also relax hard as well – and have found a great balance between the two”

3. Resort living minutes from a high-powered corporate job

Using Sydney as an example, you could be working as a management consultant in a top tier firm in the city centre while living in a beachside apartment 15 minutes away. This dynamic mix makes Australia a tempting location for white-collar workers.

Travellers flock to Circular Quay and Bondi Beach but these are mainly tourist locations. Sydney is filled with urban parks, clean beaches and panoramic viewpoints that the locals enjoy on a daily basis. Richards believes local knowledge is the key to discovering these treasures.

“A little local knowledge goes a long way when you are a complete novice (like I was) and a bit of friendly advice from the right quarter can make the difference between a good trip and a memorable one,” says Richards.

Why do you think so many immigrants come to Australia? Are they making the right choice?

Peter Richards is the Managing Director from TripTide – an Australian travel community that connects travellers with locals.

Read the full transcript of our discussion with him.

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