Strewth mate. Aussies wave goodbye to Britain as it becomes too pricey to stay

The recession has seen Australian expats leave in droves, damaging a specialist economy

Take the shrimps off the barbie and put the stubbies back in the fridge: the Aussies are leaving Britain and the companies which served them are going bust.

The Australian population in Britain shrank by 22,000 between 2010 and 2011, according to the latest government figures. Tighter immigration laws, an unfavourable exchange rate and the greater impact of the recession in Britain have made leaving the sun behind a less attractive proposition. (And besides, the Ashes are just around the corner, which they might want to miss.)

Spending several years working in the UK as a base to explore Europe used to be a rite of passage for young Australians and New Zealanders. But now the practice is on the wane – and the shops, pubs and cafes which sprung up to cater for them are going under.

The original Walkabout pub in London’s Covent Garden closed earlier this year. It was Britain’s first Aussie bar, opening first as The Outback and trading as Walkabout for the last 18 years. It is one of a whole string of pubs catering to Antipodeans which has shut its doors over the last year, including The Redback Tavern, the Billabong bar in Wimbledon and the Finchley Road London outlet of the Walkabout chain.

Jumbuck’s Aussie Pie Co in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, is also struggling to survive with fewer customers. Its owner, Nabil Bouri, said: "Last year we felt the decline but it wasn’t a killer. But since Christmas the business has fallen off a cliff and we’re trading at between 40 and 50 per cent of the level we are at last year. The Government has tightened up on granting visas to professionals, which is attacking the number of people coming in, so companies like ours, whose business is based around Kiwis and Aussies, are suffering."

The Australia Shop, which has sold imported Australian food and patriotic goods in Covent Garden for 18 years, was forced to close last month after business slowed to a trickle.

It is set to reopen as a cafe after a last-minute investment from backers, but its owner, Elizabeth Mills, is still worried about its  future: "Times have been tough. Our retail was down about 30 per cent on the same time last year," she said.

"There are fewer Australians that seem to be coming over – and if they are coming they’re clearly not spending anything. The exchange rate is also a problem: the pound is really down against the dollar and we buy lots of things from Australian suppliers."

The numbers of Aussies arriving in Britain decreased by 50 per cent in the decade to 2011, with only 26,000 choosing to come here that year. In the same year, 48,000 Australians left the UK – an increase of 20 per cent from 2010.

The Britain-Australia Society estimates it had a 30 per cent drop in membership over the last year and now has about 700 members.

Its director, Dale Eaton, said: "The reduction was mainly middle-income earners who can earn more in Australia than here. The quality of life in Australia has increased and wages are good so people either repatriate or choose not to leave Australia. Australian businesses in London are struggling or closing down as a result."

Dux Balendran, 29, is an Australian physiotherapist who moved back to Melbourne a year ago. He spent three years in Britain working and doing a masters degree. He said: "The pound to dollar value has dropped over the last 10 years, so it is not worth earning pounds and bringing them back here.

"Also, the salaries in Australia are higher and the job market and standard of living are better. This diminished the appeal for many to live in London and travel. They are happy to go on regular holidays as the airfare to Europe has also fallen because of increased competition."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Legal Print Room Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Legal Print Room Manager is r...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Administration Team Leader

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company prides itself on its ability to p...

Recruitment Genius: Administrator / Co-ordinator

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This M&E Contractor is looking ...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'