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jennlx

HELP! Families with children - does Oz REALLY offer more?

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Good god - so we have flights booked for early March when our current lease expires....and we have cold feet (again again AGAIN!!). I actually love the UK (am Australian, lived in UK for 10 years) and want to stay here. However, we quite foolishly have two children very close in age and although I financially need to work, we cannot afford nursery for two here in the UK. As I am Australian (my OH is British) we thought that we should give Oz a go, and might even provide a better lifestyle for our kids. But we cannot give it a "go" - we would spend all our savings getting out there so if we don't want to stay, we either are stuck there or go into considerable debt getting back to the UK. I think the property market in Oz is absolutely ridiculous and cannot see when we could ever buy in Australia - whereas property may be overpriced here also, but we have a better chance of being able to afford it here (we have never bought property but now that we have kids would obviously like to do so). I worry about the UK and any (more) future cuts and recession and double dips etc. but going back to Australia puts me in a cold sweat. It just seems so isolated, so provincial...but what are the benefits for a family? So, for the sake of my kids, can you please tell me of your experiences as a family, be it more money, better facilities, nicer houses, parks and beaches...whatever!

 

Any feedback much appreciated!!

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Hi Jennix,

I’m not really the right person to respond to your thread, ‘cos I too am happy with my life in the UK, and although I love to visit Australia I don’t want to move there on a permanent or semi permanent basis. However, as an Australian yourself you have first hand knowledge of the lifestyle you can have as a family if/ when you move, and that has to be a bonus. Knowing what you do, you made plans and spent money to make the move happen......so I guess there were enough positives at one stage for you to think it was the right decision.

Any type of change can be scary and it’s only natural for you to have second thoughts and doubts, but I think it probably comes down to whether what you hope to gain is at least equal to what you might lose? Lots of families on PIO love the lifestyle in Australia but it is a very personal call, and what works for one family is not necessarily going to work for another.

I’m not much help I know, but I really hope things work out well for you :hug: . Keep us posted.

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Hi

 

from my limited research I have found that nursery is actually cheaper in the UK - I pay just under £600 a month for full time nursery, In Australia I would be paying around $70 - $75 a day which over a month would be around $1500, most nurseries I have looked at in Aus also do not provide food so you would have to send this in as well. There are rebates but I am not sure what these are, In the UK once the free days kicked in ( around 2/3) I went down to paying around £400 a month, so cheaper still.

 

Australia also seems more about fun at that age whereas UK seems to follow the birth to 3 curriculum in learning.

 

Being Australian myself and like you in the UK, we are moving across as I remember lots of outdoor play, going to the beach and all in all a better lifestyle ( hopefully these things have not changed too much) I have two young children and hope that they will be better off in the sunshine.

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In all honesty, if you have good job(s) in the UK, like it here and are settled, then I don't think moving is the right choice. It is going to cost a fair amount in capital outlay to get set up, and the cost of living is higher here in general. And what you do with your kids in terms of activities etc is down to you more than what any particular country does

 

There are loads of threads on here on this subject and you never get consensus - so I don't think your doubts are going to get answered, but you might be able to explore the perceived pros and cons more

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Thanks so much for your responses - I know it's hard to advise someone who doesn't know what they're doing! :)

 

I moved to the UK when I was 21, so don't really know too much about true costs of living as I was fresh out of uni (and pretty naive, in hindsight). To be honest, I actually left Australia because I was bored - but obviously can remember/see the appeal for kids and they are our top priority.

 

In respects of nursery places, yup, they *are* more expensive for us in Australia even with the rebate (which is 50%, but capped at a certain amount per child). Crux of the matter is that my OH has a fairly stable job, but restricts where we can live due to its location. The only 'affordable' nursery we can find is the one we're currently at, which is a great nursery but isn't in the nicest area and not a place I would want my kids to grow up in. We're hoping that my OH can get a more centrally located job, but obviously recession and all that. So we're really struggling with whether to move to Oz as we could live in a nicer area plus all the kid-friendly benefits, or do we stay here and hope our situation improves and my OH can get a better located job and we can live in a nicer area?

 

We have til Friday to make up our minds as my OH would need to give leave...

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Guest famousfive

Hi there.It sounds like a tough decision to make.I think you need to spend a few hours researching the costs for the area you plan on moving to........will it be just as much of a struggle there?What happens if you get stuck there?

I really worry when I hear of people migrating with no means of returning if it is not for them and possibly not enough cash to keep them going if jobs are slow to come by.

If you are happy where you are but in a wee bit of a rut with nursery place and costs etc..I feel moving to the other side of the world on a wing and a prayer is a drastic way to solve the problem........unless of course there are other reasons for wanting to move.Kids have a good childhood in both countries if you give it to them.

Our kids have not gained a better life by coming here,a different one but no better and no more outdoorsy than what they did in Ireland.

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Guest Ex Battersea

Hi there,

 

I am a little like you, an Aussie married to a Brit but we choose to move back here before we had kids. For me it was a deal breaker, I didn't want to have kids in the UK.

 

I think your childcare (nursery) costs seem high. We were paying $256 for 5 days (in Canberra) the daily price is $68 but it is less for more days. My husband is a permanent resident and we get a 30% rebate on all childcare cost. I agree though that house prices are horrendously expensive and don't seem to be going down.

 

I live in Australia, Canberra in particular, for the blue sky, for the sunshine, for the birds, for the bush, for the outdoor life style all year round, for the relaxed atmosphere and for the open space.

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Guest SupportPants

If you are happy in the UK I wouldn't bother coming to Oz at such a financial risk. There are more outdoorsy things to do as the weather is warmer and there is far more open space. Yet, this has downsides - 1 in 15 children born in Queensland will get at least one melanoma (deadly skin cancer) during their life span compared to 1 in 50 (who moved here age 18+).

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Guest australianshamar

I arrived in Australia 1 year and 1 week ago on a 457 visa to take up a new job, I could see the UK was in for a bumpy ride financially for the next 5 years or so. I have 3 children and my youngest has just started high school. One of the major reasons for coming to Australia was to give my children a better opportunity and good prospects for the future. The children have settled better than I expected but are used to moving around in the UK, they all made friends quickly. The schools are no worse than the UK. The education is meant to be better in Australia but I have found the teachers to be a pampered as the UK. The schools have strict school uniform policies so they can make a lot of money on the clothing franchise, typically you can kit a child out in the UK for £150. It typically costs $500 - $700 for the school "approved" uniform. Books and other equipment is additional and not provided. Options such as music, dance, art, science will be typically $50 -$100 per year per subject. If you are not an Australian resident NSW school fees are $4,500 per child per year.

 

I have found a rule of thumb most things in Australia are 2 to 3 times the cost of the UK with some items 10 times the price and very few things cheaper. There are also a lot of hidden costs such as road tolls additional car insurance "green card". Employment is difficult unless you are an Australian citizen, my wife has applied for over 1,000 jobs and only managed to get one interview, as soon as they see 457 on the visa the door shuts.

 

The people are friendly and if you want to join in there are lots of groups and activities and neighbours are always happy to invite you around for a barbie. I have found people of the same race or country do naturally group together, at work during lunch it is common to see a table of Chineese, Ex pats, and Asains all grouped together at tables according to race and from what the childen say it is similar at school. My kids all seem to have mixed race friends but all their closest friends are either Asian or English. There is a culture of Australian is best, this is reinforced on all advertising and packaging. Anything imported is inferior and may damage your childrens health. In some ways it is similar to the blind patriotism of some American states but not quite the same as the biggoted white Supremacists of some parts of the inner cities of the UK, although I am sure there are factions over here.

 

Fresh fruit and veg is generally fresher and seasonal food is reasonably priced, unlike the UK where the airmiles the food racks up is ridiculous most of it in Australia is Australian.

 

Amenities are well maintained and readily available, the Sydney suberbs have similar or more amenities as Chelmsford area, swimming pools, ice rinks, several sports clubs; soccer, baseball, AFL, Rugby. These sports clubs are multi million pound businesses unlike the small clubs in the UK and standing on the side of the pitch watching the kids play with a cool drink beats, freezing your nuts off in the sleet and rain!

 

Beaches are great, obviously a lot more dangers than Southend, Jellies will give a wicked sting, the Rips will take you out to sea and there is always the chance you could make the news and get attacked b a shark but with the lifeguards it is pretty safe if you take the right precausions. There is a big hole in the ozone so pack plenty of factor 50, factor 30 is the norm over here and if you have fair skin you will gt burnt.

 

1 year in...would I do it again?

Yes, but allow for double the cost of living. If you struggle in the UK you will not survive here without a major uplift in salary.

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Hey! good luck with your decision-its a tough one!at least you have first hand experience of Australia to compare it with!

 

For us Australia definately does offer more - we wldnt have got a mortgage in the Uk, even on two wages (especially with how mortgages are now in uk) we have a mortgage here in oz, house 600m from the beach. We have had a fourth child , who wldnt be here if we lived in uk as we wldnt have been able to afford him!i am a sahm which i cldnt have been in the Uk :( my husband earnt 20000 pounds in the Uk and here earns over $80000. we cldnt afford to live in the UK now lol! so it totally depends on what you do for work and where you settle!

our children have a much better lifestyle here-they are outside a lot more,we are very close to the beach (as we were in the UK) I cldnt justify living in the UK now but understand that orthers are obviously very happy there lol! I love love love it here!!!! I am so happy that my children are growing up here and wish that I had!! all the best with your decision- do u have extended family here then?that should make the move a lot easier :)

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Guest pisces66

I would say don't do it if you are both happy there. The grass is not greener on the other side it is just different. Keep in mind that Australia is becoming extremely expensive to live. I did a comparison of house prices and food prices and the difference was astounding particularly in regards to food. I have friends that can spend up to 80% of their wage on childcare so up to $1000/fortnight for two kids. Australia is very hot, the flies are horrendous and you must endure a hot Christmas which believe me is not nice. I am Australian and my partner is Dutch/English. He has been here for 12 years and we can see the decline of Australia particulalry in respect to government policies. We are seriously considering moving back despite the cost. I have lived there for a few years and love the UK. Good luck with your descision, it is a hard one!!

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What children need is love and stability. Location doesn't come into it.

OZ and UK are both first world countries, with good education systems.

If you have good jobs and are financially stable, then I personally wouldn't risk it if you don't have a job for at least one of you already lined up in Australia.

Ultimately, the location of their nursery isn't going to have a major impact on their lives in the long term.

If you don't like where you currently are, then start job hunting elsewhere, and once you've got something lined up, THEN move (be in somewhere else in the UK or Australia, or somewhere else entirely)

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G'Day

 

You don't mention family/grandparents.

 

Looking at it from the other perspective – that of grandparents in their 60s/70ish – we are drawn to live in proximity to our only close family, and that's in Sydney. But not solely there – we have an independent life, too, and we are lucky enough to be able to spend time also in the UK despite (like a lot of others who contribute to the Contributory Parent Visa thread of PiO) having had to stump up $75k-odd for visas! I can't, with all honesty, say how I'd feel if making the move meant that we could never go back…

 

I'll be interested to hear what my daughter feels – I've encouraged her to read and respond to this thread. She and her OH and 9-month-old – since joined by a second – moved out from North London nearly six years ago. I think they are very happy with the move; however, Sydney property prices mean that they still cannot afford to buy here. In Sydney, rental properties are in short supply but it is still cheaper at the moment to rent than to buy the equivalent property on a mortgage.

 

One thing: when judging the cost of living, don't fall into the trap of translating prices between $$ and ££ on current exchange rates. When our family came, £1 = about $2.40; now it's less than $1.50. But that doesn't change the number of dollars in their pockets.

 

Good luck with your decision, whichever way it goes, Mike

 

PS: Don't for a moment think that I mean you should feel family ties – just curious whether you do!


Mike & Sue 173 appln ack 22 Jun 2010; CO 3 May 2011; 173 visas granted 18 Jul 2011; val 8 Dec 2011. 173>143 appln ack 14 Dec 2011 (notified 25 Jan 2012!); CO 24 Apr 2012; AoS 14 May 2012; 2nd VAC req 25 May 2012; pd 22 Jun 2012; 143 visas granted 27 Jun 2012; arrived Sydney 15 Oct 2012

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If you love the UK and want too stay then I would not move. We moved because we BOTH did not want to stay in the Uk, neither were happy there, neither wanted too retire there or raise kids there, so we embraced a new life. We love it here and hopefully will never return to the UK other than for family visits.

 

 

We owned in the UK but due to a house crash and auction now we dont and we no longer have the deposit. We now rent. BUT neither of us are that fussed as we accepted comming here would be life changing and accepted whatever happened.

 

 

We find the school good, lots of entertainment, great beaches, lovely people, great quality food and so much fresher.

 

The walks are lovely and there is so much thats free, we spend way more time outdoors and together as a family.

 

People say its soo much more expensive here and yes it is for certain things, but there is a lot which is similar or the same and in general the wages are higher.

When we visited the UK at Xmas we loved Quality save, that place is super cheap!!

 

I have also made more friends here, than in many, many years in the UK.

We also are nowon one wage yet live in a house we could of only dreamed in the UK.

I personally would not of come if DH did not have a job too go too, most of the horror stories I read are about not being able to get jobs...

 

 

Good luck with whatever you decide :)

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Australia isnt going to offer your kids anything magically better than they can get in any other first world country TBH. I've noticed a decline in the outdoor activities of Aussie kids over the past 20 years - in the olden days there was a hoop on every home but now the kids are just as wedded to their Wiis as in any other developed nation. In fact, I see more kids outside playing where I am here in UK than I ever did back in Canberra. Unless you have a really compelling reason to return - like grandparents who can share the care and a better job to move into then dont bother, Australia is still as boring as it was when you left it!

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We moved over as my Husband is Australian and all his family are there. We noticed our kids were the only one's who played outside. We soon moved back to the UK. My husband said the point was nothing had changed and that was quite weird for him. It felt like we had gone backwards. If you can afford to try it then go for it but if you will lose everything financially then the risk for me would be too high. If you love your life in the UK then it's a high price to pay for sunshine.

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Guest Luvhaggis

This is a difficult one.

Costs obviously depends on your potential employment and salary. Also the uk and Australia are at very different points in an economic

cycle at the moment. UK pound exceptionally weak and the Aussie dollar very strong. Therefore things look to be expensive when you take into account the exchange rate. But that's really just down to the two different economies. We moved out some time ago and got $2.93 to the pound, this obviously felt excellent and things therefore seemd relatively cheap.

Have a look at the mortgage calculators and do a wee budget, if the figures stack up, it's a great place to stay and bring children up, if they don't, you may be jumping out of the frying pan straight into the fire.

We personally had an excellent lifestyle in the uk, just wanted to try something different and had little to loose as we would have fairly easily returned and gained employment.

All the best.

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Your responses are so very helpful, thanks again! :) In respect of the nursery prices, I currently pay £820 pcm for my son and when I enquired about nursery fees in Melbourne from various places, the responses were around $430 per week. I know you can't compare due to exchange rate and it depends on what you earn, but I am currently on maternity leave and when queried with 3 recruitment consultants was told I could earn, $52k, $75k or $90k respectively! I don't know who to believe! My husband is in sales and has been told he'd be looking at $65k + commission. Here, we earn together £60k plus about £20k bonuses/commission (it beggars belief that we cannot afford nursery on this wage - and we don't have Sky, a social life, spend money on frivolous items etc.).

 

I must admit, cost of living preys heavily on my mind. I know everyone talk about material possessions and only spending what you have etc. I guess it doesn't help that I grew up in Australia and my family struggled so I love being able to...well, for example, have turkey instead of chicken for Christmas dinner! Money isn't everything, but I don't want to be constantly stressed about paying bills, rent/mortgage and affording clothes for the kids (my 3 week old has just outgrown her 0-3 month old clothes!) as I think that would also stress my kids out (as I was stressed out by my own parents' financial concerns).

 

My family....now that would be a thread by itself (in fact I think it is!). They were all so happy to hear about us coming home, until we asked for help. Nothing big just asking them to ask around if anyone has a holiday let for short term accommodation, ditto car, info about life in Melbourne...and they all suddenly became too busy to respond to my emails/voicemails over the past six months. So, they would be people we would see at Christmas, birthdays etc. but they're not close at all - to us or each other. Whether this would change when we get there remains to be seen. We also have no/little family in the UK, but we have got by so far.

 

Our rental lease expires in a month. I think we may stay and sign on for another year and change our flights to a holiday and check it out before doing anything further. We can see the family and see how they are with the kids, maybe visit some nurseries and see what happens in this country a year on.

 

I really appreciate your responses - you have no idea how helpful they are!! :)

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PS. We did a fairly comprehensive budget for both, including nurseries and all eligible benefits (using Centrelink calculators). In UK, £200 at end of month excluding all bills, food, petrol, contingency amounts for car repairs etc. In Australia, based on us earning very least we would get (ie. $60k + $50k), $463.

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I'd do it. Life is better here for kids, I am convinced of that. I also think Aussies have a nicer attitude towards kids, at least that is my experience.

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Guest SupportPants

I wouldn't do it. Wouldn't you just be wiping out your savings with the move and there would be an immense amount of stress trying to find jobs before you ran out of money. Surely there are cheaper childcare places in London than 800 quid a month? That sounds immense but I'm no expert. You can rent a flat for 800 quid a month!

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Guest Ptp113
I would say don't do it if you are both happy there. The grass is not greener on the other side it is just different. Keep in mind that Australia is becoming extremely expensive to live. I did a comparison of house prices and food prices and the difference was astounding particularly in regards to food. I have friends that can spend up to 80% of their wage on childcare so up to $1000/fortnight for two kids. Australia is very hot, the flies are horrendous and you must endure a hot Christmas which believe me is not nice. I am Australian and my partner is Dutch/English. He has been here for 12 years and we can see the decline of Australia particulalry in respect to government policies. We are seriously considering moving back despite the cost. I have lived there for a few years and love the UK. Good luck with your descision, it is a hard one!!

Oz isnt all hot, buger all flies,Xmas is fabulous, tired old platitudes regurgitated ad nauseum

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Actually, £800 is really affordable for London - it's normally £1,000+ for a fulltime place in London. Hence our problem. There is a new nursery that set up near us, £1,500 pcm!! Ouch. Oh, but they do get a free monthly haircut for that. It's these bloody chains which are owned by private equity firms...profit, profit, profit! And the poor workers earn £11k - £14k. Sorry, ranting off topic now....:)

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I would say go for it,

We both worked full time in UK and had very little left over at the end of the month and rarely went out.

I now only work a day a week and we spend sooo much more time with out 13 year old,

Life for him is fab and he has flourished here.

We have recently bought a boat and love spending days on the water as a family and with his mates having a laugh.

My husband is on a nurses wage and we are much better off, we are only renting at present, we lost all our equity in our house before we moved so only came with a tiny budget but dont regret moving for a second

Good Luck

Claire x


23/11/08 skills ass passed. 24/11/08 online 175 applied for. Feb 09 NBV reg'. 14/05/09 CO assigned 11/06/09.

Visa granted 16-7-09, flew out Sept 10- now living the dream and loving it, Whoopy

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Guest guest57545

So many varied answers, both countries have hugely different areas within them so its hard to say.

 

I have been here 5 months now and i would say its just different, i dont think children have a better standard of living in either uk or here both developed countries. The grass isn't really greener over here neither is it the huge ripoff dump that some people have posted about!

 

My opinion is if you enjoy your jobs in the UK dont risk wasting your money on getting here searching for that miraculous increase in standard of living I fear you may be disappointed. If you want you kids to know where they are from or want the support of close family here then go for it - just make it for the right reasons so many people leave here disappointed cos that 2up-2down hasn't become a 6+4 with pool and the fore fiesta is now a holden barina not a BMW 7 series :wink:

 

Best of luck with the decision!

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