|bloody hell, looks like we better build more houses.... ;)
'New Poms' head for Australia
By Nick Squires in Sydney
The number of British immigrants settling in Australia has outstripped those from South East Asia for the first time in a decade, according to figures published yesterday
A report, released by the immigration department, showed a marked rise in the number of migrants from the UK, with the annual total more than doubling in the past four years from 9,000 to 19,000.
Britons easily overtook the next biggest source of migrants, South East Asia, which provided 16,800 arrivals. South Asia, north-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa each accounted for another 11,000. The dramatic increase in British migrants signals a return to Australia's Anglo-Celtic roots and drew comparisons with the 1950s and 1960s, when thousands of so-called "£10 Poms'' flocked to Australia under the assisted passage scheme.
Analysts said it also reflected the Anglophile leanings of John Howard, the Prime Minister, who has been criticised for aligning Australia too closely with America and Britain, particularly over the Iraq war, at the expense of relations with Asian countries.
"I wouldn't say it's a conscious plot but it's a trend the government will certainly be happy with," said Dr James Jupp, from the Australian National University in Canberra. "It will blunt the anti-Asian sentiment expressed by the rise of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party in the late 1990s."
The changes in immigration patterns have occurred in the nine years since Mr Howard's conservative coalition succeeded the pro-Asia Labour government of Paul Keating.
The proportion of immigrants from English-speaking countries such as Britain, South Africa and India has jumped from 37 per cent when Mr Howard first took office, to more than 50 per cent of last year's intake of 111,000. The change is a result of the government putting more emphasis on skilled migrants rather than refugees or relatives seeking to join their families in Australia.
Migrants from English-speaking nations are more likely to hold university degrees than those from poorer countries and also score more points for their proficiency in English.
"Back in the sixties Australia took anyone with two arms and two legs," Dr Jupp said. "These days they have to be far more skilled."
Western Australia was the most attractive state for British settlers, followed by New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. "Western Australia has always attracted a lot of Brits and Perth is the most British city in Australia," Dr Jupp said. "It's got beautiful hot weather, miles and miles of beaches and cheap housing, and a lot of people have got friends and relatives there already."
Surveys in the UK consistently show that a large proportion of the population would leave if they could.
In April a poll by ICM Research found that 52 per cent of Britons said they would consider emigrating.
High crime levels, house prices, long working hours and bad weather were all cited as reasons to leave.
Australia was named the most desirable destination, followed by Spain, America, Canada and New Zealand.