Why Young Scots Head for Australia

Why Young Scots Head for Australia


Photo Credit: Pixabay

The sizzling sunshine, the glorious beaches, and a whole new way of life – it’s little surprise that us Scots are curious to explore the natural wonders of the world’s sixth largest country.

When you think of Australia, your mind could wander to kangaroos, koala bears, Fosters, and ‘barbies’, as well as the Great Barrier Reef and outback.

But there’s much more to life down-under, and although some Scottish youngsters do return from their trip across the world, many, unlike the boomerang, aren’t for coming back.

Each year, many 18-30 year olds take advantage of a one-year working holiday visa, cross the various time zones, and head for the land down under, adding to a relatively sparse Aussie population of around 24m.


‘Unlike Glasgow, it’s not all about the drink and the front-page stories of murders and bombings. It’s a country that is booming with positives vibes everywhere.’


This visa is open to those who have a British passport (or other eligible countries), are at least 18 but not yet 31 years of age, and satisfy further conditions. Your stay can be extended by a further year on the working holiday visa but is subject to completing three months regional work as well as meeting the requirements set in your first year.

Some even stay beyond two years as Australia offers the chance to experience a whole new culture, better-paid jobs, and the chance to live in a better all year round climate.

The largest outflow of UK citizens emigrating was to Australia, according to a recent report by the Office for National Statistics.

Originally established by the British as a settlement to exile prisoners, Australia has now become a country where the Brits look to escape to.

We look at those sharing their experiences of leaving – and staying – Down Under.

Here are 6 stories from people who gave up Scotland for Australia; some stayed and some didn’t.

Why we quit Scotland for Australia

Celeste Vernon, 27
Currently Living in: Sydney
Photo Credit Celeste Vernon

I came to Australia over five years ago on my own to give the backpacking thing a go and escape Glasgow for a bit of sunshine and adventure!

It was easy to find well-paid work, make friends, and there were so many other people in the same position as me so it never felt scary.

I was lucky to find a job in Brisbane where I was offered sponsorship since I had my degree from home this was fairly straightforward.

There is never a day where you don’t want to get up in the morning. I think back to the dark mornings, rain battering off my window and that feeling of dread. Having to get to work and no doubt get soaked in the process.

Here I can go to the beach anytime, and take multiple holidays throughout the year (without much planning) to incredible places like the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island or even Tasmania. I eat out most days of the week, and never have to say ‘I can’t come out, I don’t get paid till the end of the month’.

In Glasgow everyone worked to live, saving up all year for a two-week holiday to Spain.  I have spent lots of money on visas, but my permanent residency application is lodged and shouldn’t be far away. It’ll all be worth it!

John Queen, 28
Currently Living in: Glasgow
Photo Credit: John Queen

I moved to Australia to become more independent from my parents. I was working as a taxi driver in Glasgow and it was all my passengers who persuaded me to make the move.

My mates were all moving on so we never went out as much anymore. I didn’t have any ties and was bored of driving taxis as well.

I ended up going out for two years. Initially, I went on a one-year working holiday visa then did three months of regional farm work to get granted the second year. I came home because my visa was expiring and I was promised sponsorship but that fell through in the end.

Australian life was amazing, I wish I knew then what I know now, I’d have made sure I stayed there. Since being back I’ve struggled to adjust and can’t explain why it’s frustrating. I’d go back over, definitely!

Graeme Callaghan, 28
Currently Living in: Glasgow
Photo Credit: Graeme Callaghan

I moved to Australia to see what all the fuss was about and when I arrived, I knew straight away. I lived there for two years. Not only is the weather fantastic all-year-round, the people are so inviting and to top it all off the wages, no matter what you do, are phenomenal.

Not once did I think Oz would be as big as it is but there is so much to see and do, there’s not a day that goes by that you’re bored. Unlike Glasgow, it’s not all about the drink and front-page stories of murders and bombings. It’s a country that is booming with positives vibes everywhere.

It’s an extremely healthy country and that’s contagious. The weather is a big plus but even the cleanliness of the place stands out. The people are friendlier, and there is far more opportunity for job progression.

Australia is a very social country where everyone wants to be out all the time instead of just being a couch potato. Something new is happening every night and it’s well advertised to bring everyone together

It was one of the best experiences of my life and I would return in a heartbeat. The reason I came home was simply because my visa ran out. If I could have stayed longer, I would have. In the future, I would consider emigrating with my family because the possibilities are endless

Susie Nicholson, 29
Currently Living in: Glasgow
Photo Credit: Susie Nicholson

I lived in Australia for two years. I moved because I was bored with the Monday to -Friday, same stuff week in, week out in Scotland. Everyone was going to the same bars and not wanting to do anything else. I wanted to get out and travel a bit, do something fun and have an adventure.

It’s amazing over there. They’ve got great weather, there’s a great atmosphere, and there’s always something to do. There are beaches and festivals to go to, the jobs are well paid and it’s much more relaxed.

You meet people from different countries and cultures and become friends very fast. You go on trips and travel the country together.

I returned home to see everyone and for my friend’s wedding and thought that there’s plenty of other places still to travel, but it’s my biggest regret ever. I would go back tomorrow if I had the money.

I caught up with one of my friends I met in Sydney recently and we were talking about all the festivals and looking at old pictures. Since then I haven’t stopped thinking about.

Stewart Brower, 29
Currently Living in: Melbourne
Photo Credit: Stewart Brower

I came to Oz in 2014, at the end of a few months travelling in Asia. It was originally meant to be a continuation of those backpacking adventures, and after a year I would go on to pastures new.

Four years later and I’m still here. Compared to Scotland it’s just a much easier way of life. The weather is better (of course), the opportunities are better and happiness levels in general just seem to be improved by the Vitamin D.

Of course, there are things I do miss. Family and friends are the main ones, but I also miss a good square sausage on a crispy Morton’s roll. At the moment I’m on a student visa but I’m currently applying for a partner visa.

Lindsay Robertson, 23
Currently Living in: Cairns, Australia
Photo Credit: Lindsay Robertson

I moved to Oz as I’ve always had an interest in living in a different country and Australia always interested me. It seemed to be where a lot of people choose.

I’ve been in Australia since September 2017 and have lived in Sydney and have now moved up to Cairns. I’m currently on a working holiday visa lasting one year and I am doing my 3 months regional work to be granted for a second-year visa

The lifestyle here is totally different from back home, I think the weather plays a big part in this. I feel more motivated to get up early go out and see places than I do back home. There is also a wider selection of things to do and see here I feel, than back in Scotland.

Everyone is a lot friendlier here and chilled out whereas Glasgow can feel pretty miserable at times.

However, I do miss Scotland and wouldn’t choose to live here for more than a few years, I miss the food, my family and actually, the colder weather too.


Heard enough and want to head for your own Aussie adventure?

Details on visa and immigration can be found HERE


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