Latest UK Migration Figures – Q4 2021

Aussies & Kiwis in London Increasingly Scarce

At a time when the UK job market is recovering strongly and travel restrictions continue to be removed, Aussies and Kiwis in London are becoming increasingly scarce.

UK unemployment continues to fall, down 0.3% from the previous to quarter to 4.6%, while the employment rate is up to 75.2%.

Job vacancies have now hit the one million mark, and salaries are increasing at record rates.

UK job vacancies

This healthy recovery in job market conditions extends to roles in the London contract market where there has traditionally been strong demand for Aussie and Kiwi professionals on their OE.

“Both permanent and interim finance roles across financial services, industry and commerce are super busy right now. August is typically a quiet month for us due to summer holidays but we haven’t seen the usual dip at all and have had our busiest August within the team for 4 years!

Within our interim finance team as we have lacked our usual tier 5 candidates, clients are struggling to find the right talent to fill their positions and are absolutely desperate for Aussies and Kiwis to return to london :)”

Goodman Masson, Aug 21

Driven by basic demand/supply, demand for Aussie and Kiwi professionals in London has now reached record levels.

1) Flow of Aussies and Kiwis Falls to Record Low

Against this healthy UK market backdrop, according to the latest UK migration figures released by ONS, the annual flow of Aussies and Kiwis heading there to work has fallen to less than 4,000 in the year to 30 June 2021.

Annual arrivals to 30 June 2021 are down 78% (13.6k) vs pre-covid levels. To put that into perspective, that is a decline of more than 90% from a peak of more than 45,000 in 2005, and down more than 80% on the average annual flow in the previous 10 years.

2) Little Sign of a Near-Future Recovery

Compounding the issue of supply, Aussies and Kiwis in London continue to leave as their UK visas expire.

Historically, 75% of Aussies and Kiwis working in London travelled on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa, resulting in a steady 2-year churn as visas expired.

  • Departure of 13,500 arrivals in 2018/19 with expiring Tier 5 visas have been offset by just 2,340 new arrivals on the same visa in 2020/21

Looking at the latest quarterly figures from ONS, the number of Aussies and Kiwis heading to London to work has barely recovered in the past quarter.

  • Quarterly arrivals in Q2 2021 are down 82% vs pre-covid levels
  • Q2 2021 arrivals are only slightly up on the both the previous quarter and same quarter last year

3) Noticeable Increase in Sponsorship

While the flow of Aussies and Kiwis to London is a concern, on a positive note, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of sponsorships.

  • Proportion of sponsorship visas has been increasing slowly but steadily over the past 10 years
  • Sponsorship visas account for 35% of year-to-date work visas in 2021, more than double the sponsorship split in the previous year

Move Now or Wait Another Year?

In short, if you are an Aussie or Kiwi looking to work and travel, given the UK job market, paucity of skilled professionals, and current Covid restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, now is a good time to head to London.

“We are currently working on the highest number of roles since pre-2008. With Brexit, Covid and changes in IR35, the pool of candidates looking for temporary and contract roles is very small and candidates are receiving multiple offers. Strong demand for candidates at the newly qualified to 3 years PQE across all industries and for those with commercial experience at the more junior level.”

Walker Hamill, Aug 21

Global Career HQ has been helping accounting, finance, legal and marketing professionals from Australia and New Zealand find work in the United Kingdom for more than 20 years.

If you would like to get a job in London before leaving Australia or New Zealand, or just find out if there is demand for your skills in London, get in touch with the team at Global Career HQ.

Insight From a New Zealander Living in London

“Gretchen and the team at Global Career HQ are the best port of call for any CA looking to relocate to the UK. The quality of advice and support is second to none and I have immensely enjoyed working with Global. Covid has been a very stressful time for me, with cancelling in March 2020 and making the (scary!) move in August 2021. I couldn’t have done it without Global – having the contacts and landing a job through them before I even left NZ took a huge weight off my shoulders. 10/10 recommend getting in touch!”

CM, NZ, Aug 21