Number of Brits moving to Australia plummets amid Brexit uncertainty and a weakening pound

Oscar Quine
The number of Brits emigrating to Australia every year has dropped from a peak of 49,000 in 2006 to 19,000 eleven years later - Getty Images AsiaPac

Australia has long been a favourite destination for British émigrés - but recent figures indicate a dramatic fall in the number of Britons moving down under.

Over the past thirty years, an average 30,000 Brits have made the move every year - twice the number as moved to second-favourite destination Spain.

However, in 2017, that number dropped to just 19,000 down from a peak of 49,000 in 2006. 

While researchers warn that these figures come with a high margin of error, the decline has been steady nonetheless. 

The trend follows a wider slowdown in total British emigration, which fell by 38 per cent in the same period, with experts pointing to weak economic growth providing fewer incentives to move.

Meanwhile, Australia’s economy has remained one of the world's most buoyant giving it a strong currency that makes moving pricier. 

The value of £1 has dropped from AUS$2.50 to AUS$1.85 since 2006, bringing an end to the days where you could upscale from a London flat to something more sizable in Sydney. 

Paul Arthur, head of the Emigration Group, a company which assists Britons wishing to move to the Antipodeans, also identifies confusion around Brexit as a reason clients are hesitant to move.

Although headlines in British newspapers tend to focus on migration into the country, a large number of citizens also leave the country each year Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Despite this, the country still holds capital for Brits with itchy feet. Dreams of winter sunshine and memories of Kylie and Jason's wedding in Neighbours have replaced the country's original image as a far-flung colony for convicts.

This change began to occur in the 1790s, when settlers began to move to Australia, attracted by promises of abundant land, jobs and food. 

Before long, Charles Dickens was sending a litany of fictional characters—as well as two of his own sons—there for better lives. 

This utopian ideal is reflected in the number of relocation programmes in today's television schedules - "Wanted Down Under" and Channel 5's "A New Life in Oz" - which follow families in their bids to relocate. 

This helps to explain why, despite headlines dominated by news of immigration numbers, Britain has an outflow of citizens that isn't far shy to its number of new arrivals. Indeed, until 1979, the UK was a net exporter - with Australia still providing the destination of choice.

In one recent episode of "Wanted Down Under", a Manchester mum explained her attraction to the country: “I think the Australian dream is definitely mine and it has been since Kylie and Jason walked down the aisle in ‘Neighbours’ [an Australian soap opera].”