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Reasons for moving to and from Australia

Respondents living in Australia are no strangers to international relocations with 45.5% of respondents having done so previously, a figure higher than the average across all regions surveyed (39.7%). Only those living in Hong Kong had relocated more (52.6%). Those living in Australia were more likely to have relocated away from their home country than any of the other regions. While 44.9% of respondents in Australia who have relocated internationally said their most recent international move was away from home, the average across regions was only 39.4%. Those in Australia who have relocated internationally were less likely to have returned to their home country, with 35.0% stating this as the reason for their most recent move.

Those living in Australia have tended to put down roots following their most recent moves. For those in Australia who have relocated before, over half (53.8%) said this was more than five years ago – the highest among the countries surveyed.

Only 1 in 11 (9.0%) of those in Australia that have relocated have done so in the last 12 months – less than half of the global average of around 18.8%, possibly reflecting the implications of tight border controls that have been in place since March 2020. While there has been international movement in other regions, the majority of respondents have resided in their current relocation for longer than 12 months.

Australia infographic

Fig 8 - Australians who have moved in the past year

Factors and consideration which motivate a move from Australia

The pandemic appears to have put a dampener on the plans of those in Australia to relocate internationally. More than half (52.5%) of respondents said they were less likely to consider moving after travel resumes, while only 12.9% were more likely to consider an international relocation. The remaining 34.6% were neither more or less likely to seek a sea change post-pandemic. This is in stark contrast to the other regions, particularly South Africa and Hong Kong in which respondents indicated an increased desire to move as a result of the pandemic. The survey found that 39.3% of respondents in South Africa were more likely to consider relocating, along with 35.0% of those in Hong Kong.

When thinking about an international relocation, movers from Australia had their sights set on English-speaking countries including the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States. The United Kingdom topped the list of desired countries having been selected by one fifth (20.0%) of respondents who planned to move, followed closely by New Zealand and the United States, each on 15%.

The ‘Aussie way of life’ still beckons for many

Australia remains a top choice for relocation –


cited a ‘better lifestyle’ as the primary reason.

For those who have already relocated to Australia, over half said this was more than five years ago – the highest among countries surveyed. When it comes to considering outbound moves, over half of respondents in Australia were less likely to consider moving after travel resumes, while only 13% were more likely to consider an international relocation – suggesting that those who end up in Australia are content to stay put.

Covid-19 impact on mobility and moving plans

Relocations are largely off the cards for expats as Covid-19 continues to impact international travel. For those currently living in Australia, moving back home has not been a consideration, with 77.0% staying put. Among the regions surveyed, the intention to stay was highest in Australia. Across all respondents, 40.2% of those who have relocated internationally considered moving home during the pandemic, while 59.8% chose to stay in their country of residence.

Although 67.7% of those in Australia had no plans to move, it is unsurprising that Covid-19 related concerns caused moves to be adjusted, postponed or cancelled. Naturally, given the strict border closures, respondents in Australia who cancelled their international relocation plans were most likely to cite Covid-19-related restrictions or concerns (57.9%).

Although many respondents in Australia are not actively planning an international move, there is some demand for temporary relocations. One fifth (19.6%) of respondents in Australia would be open to a medium-term move of 1-2 years, compared to those in South Africa and Hong Kong who are planning longer-term moves, with 38.2% and 33.6% respectively stating it’s on the cards.

Expat analysis and insight

Work and study top the list of reasons why people have relocated to Australia during previous international moves. Education and training were the motivation for 38.1% of respondents. This was closely followed by economy, work and job opportunities in Australia for 33.3% of expats. The laidback Aussie lifestyle motivated 31.0% of survey respondents, as did the chance to experience a new culture.

Despite the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, of those people in Australia who had plans to relocate prior, many have forged ahead or plan to do so when it is possible.

One fifth (20.3%) of respondents have already gone ahead with the move while a further 51.7% intend to do so. Only 28.0% have cancelled the move altogether, with 57.9% of those cancelling as a result of the pandemic.

Global demand to relocate to Australia was reasonably high, with respondents showing the most interest in a move to the United Kingdom (17%), followed by the United States (12%), with Japan (8%) rounding out the top three countries. The top reasons respondents considered or planned an international move were for a better lifestyle (29.3%), for economy or job opportunities (24.3%) and to experience a new culture (15.8%). The Aussie way of life is a huge drawcard for international movers. For those that chose Australia to relocate to, the top reason for moving would be for a better lifestyle (47%).

The Australia survey sample consisted of 1,004 people living in Australia who have a passport; 225 are considering or would like to move abroad, while 103 are expats.

Get the global perspective

Our full Global Movement Report reveals that despite cancellations occurring, worldwide 3 in 5 of respondents who had their relocation plans adjusted or postponed intend to go ahead with their move. Meaning people are waiting for restrictions to lift... does this mean we will see a surge in relocations?