Government gears up for more Antipodeans

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It won't please the 'British jobs for British bankers' brigade, but the UK government doesn't seem particularly bothered. It's altered the terms of its youth mobility scheme to allow would-be City workers aged 18-30 from Australia and New Zealand (as well as Canada, Japan) to spend two years working in the City instead of the 12 months they could work previously.

Nascent protectionists point out that the government seems somewhat behind the times.

"This was something the market was crying out for over 2007 but now the UK market is more competitive it seems strange it's been extended. On the face of it, it could mean more candidates for jobs in a very candidate driven market," says one recruiter.

Recruiter say Antipodeans already account for a high proportion of candidates for middle and back office positions. Recruiter Joslin Rowe puts the overall figure at 30%, while rival Robert Walters says the proportion of Antipodean applicants for contract roles is even higher, at closer to 60%.

Even though the British government is opening the doors to Antipodeans, it remains to be seen whether they'll walk through them. Australian recruiters say large numbers of Aus financial services emigrants are going home. And Joslin Rowe points to a survey by its sister company Link Recruitment in Australia, which found that the number of Australians seeking jobs in the City was down 14% on last year.

However, Olly Harris, head of temporary recruitment at Robert Walters, says the London market for temp jobs remains relatively healthy and that there are still opportunities for Antipodeans who want to come here. "It's not as busy as it was, but there are still skills shortages for certain roles," he says.

Which roles exactly? Harris points to project management jobs with integration, migration, or consolidations experience, as well as technical financial accountants and credit derivatives product controllers.