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A new era in which there are going to be far fewer Antipodean accountants in the City

If you’re an Antipodean accountant wondering where to hang out, London might not be your first choice any more. Today’s Mercer Quality of Living survey puts it 38th, behind other more pleasant financial centres, like Zurich, Geneva, Frankfurt, Singapore, and Dublin for quality of life. In terms of personal safety, London ranks outside the top 50.

But even if you’re an Antipodean accountant who’s ambivalent about skiing at lunchtime or surviving the journey home, there’s another reason you might not come to London any more: it’s harder to get in.

“The British government has replaced the ‘Working Holiday Visa’ with the ‘Tier 5′ visa,” says Ed Stevens, managing director at recruitment firm Eximius Finance. “All [Antipodean] Chartered Accountants under 31 years of age can meet the requirements for “The Tier 5″, by having 2,500 in their personal bank account for a 3 month period as a minimum balance,” he adds. However: “There is a strict age limit on this Visa which is 31, and if you are over this age limit you will not be able to gain the “Tier 5” and will find it significantly harder to gain entrance into the UK.

The visa change is already making itself felt – particularly in the contract market for accountants, where “a majority” of candidates tend to come from Australia or New Zealand.

“We are certainly experiencing a severe shortage of newly qualified professionals in the financial services sector, which could be a consequence of the amended rules,” says Kay Senior, operations director, banking and financial Services, at recruitment firm Badenoch & Clark.

Stevens says the issue is being aggravated by negative press about the UK economy down in Sydney and Auckland. “This is impacting the number of CA’s who are actively looking to re-locate to London, because they are concerned about job opportunities on arrival,” he says.

For the moment, Antipodeans’ lack of interest in the UK isn’t causing terrible trouble for financial services recruiters. This is because there aren’t that many contract accounting jobs on offer in financial services right now.

Stevens says Antipodean recalcitrance is more of an issue in areas like commerce and industry, where there are still lots of jobs.

But if and when the financial services market picks up, the shortage could become a big problem: the flow of Antipodean accountants will be restricted to inexperienced 20-somethings from now on.

Comments (7)

Comments
  1. Surely the rise of the Ozzie Dollar and the fall of the GBP has something to do with it also….

  2. The UK made its feelings clear about Australia when it turned its back on the Commonwealth to face the Euro Union. Most Aussie’s only want to be in England now for a year or two in their 20’s to take advantage cheap flights to the Med and a year or two of partying. Very few want to stay past 30 anyway.

    BTW, how’s that Euro thing working out for you? Haha

  3. Weird short sighted policies. 350 million people can enter and work in the UK without restriction but they want to stop entry from two countries with a combined population of 25 million who speak English, are well trained, play cricket, get pissed etc. It makes no sense?!

  4. Perhaps UK companies could train more people. Investing in people with the result of having a liquid pool of qualified persons and therefore keeping wage pressure down ………………novel idea but just might work.

  5. They haven’t stopped entry from “two countries”. The visa restrictions apply across the board so, yes, we have less Aussies and Kiwis coming here, but also less people from every other country with visa agreements with the UK. Given the number of out of work in the British population, allowing unrestricted numbers of foreign workers into the UK right now is bad for the British but also pointles for those coming over here.

    My experience is that most Aussies who come here to work in Banking or Financial Services come here for their careers, not the partying, and tend to take a very long-term view about staying here. Unfortunately not a lot do any homework before coming and are shocked when told that there is no work for them at the moment.

    GH – bitter much? Get back in your box. We still own the Commonwealth and are going nowhere.

  6. i like the aussies over here. Leave work, slag of colleagues, some cricket on sky, then out for loads of beer, back for a few tinnies and some damned good pot. Bring em over.

  7. MsCityHunter, I live in Sydney (having left London) and can safely tell you with all the English begging to come out here and stay long term, that England very much does not “own” the Commonwealth.

    And no, not bitter. I have an ancestry visa and could have stayed for as long as I wanted. I left after it all went to pot!

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