The Australian Immigration Department's list of job skills in short supply had recently dwindled to three: teachers of Japanese, teachers of mathematics and therapeutic radiographers; this month, even those were scrapped. Australia is so over-supplied with doctors and engineers that such people applying to emigrate are now penalised.
Immigration has become a political football since the recession and high unemployment set in. As a result, Britons will find it more difficult to emigrate here over the next year.
In theory, Britons should fare well under Australia's policy which awards prospective immigrants points on such criteria as education, skills, age (18- to 34-year-olds are the most desired), proficiency in English and sponsorship by a family member or employer. But fewer Britons are immigrating; consequently, Australia is taking in more Asians.
If you make it through the red tape, don't expect living costs much lower than those in Britain. Australia's average weekly earnings are Adollars 617 (pounds 273). A three-bedroom home in a middle-class area of Sydney costs about Adollars 370,000 (pounds 163,000) and a 1600cc family car, with power steering and air-conditioning, about Adollars 30,000 (pounds 13,000). A public health insurance scheme covers everyone. Eating out in Australia is relatively inexpensive because of the absence of VAT and 'service charges'.
If you settle in Wagga Wagga or Goondiwindi, cultural life will be limited largely to a prime-time choice on commercial television among Neighbours, Home and Away and Sale of the Century, a games show. Sydney, with its Opera House, Melbourne and other big cities are not so deprived.
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