Australia has been attracting skilled immigrants for hundreds of years. The country’s warm climate, stunning scenery and relaxed atmosphere makes it one of the world’s most popular destinations for expats.
The country has plenty to offer anyone who moves there, but for expat medics in particular it can be the perfect career move for those looking to escape from the NHS.
Here, therefore, is Odyssey’s guide to 5 reasons why Australia could be the ideal location for you to work in.
1 - Work/Life Balance
The Australian lifestyle is envied by many worldwide. For countless years the country has strived to create a healthy work/life balance and that is prevalent throughout the healthcare system with well staffed surgeries and fixed working hours enjoyed by most in the industry.
Daily life in Australia is commonly more relaxed and slower paced than elsewhere in the world, and this, combined with the lower working hours, can provide the ideal environment in which to spend time with your family.
If the long, unpleasant working hours in the NHS are starting to wear you down, then a move to Australia could be perfect if you’re trying to re-centre your work/life balance.
2- Healthcare System
The healthcare system in Australia is split into public and private sectors - just like it is in the United Kingdom. The public system is funded by a combination of the government - who dedicate 9.4% of the country's total GDP to funding it (a figure fractionally greater than the that of the UK) - and the people of the country, who contribute through a 2% levy known as ‘Medisave’ on their income.
This combination of funding ensures that the publically funded healthcare system in Australia is financially secure. Incentives are also in place to encourage the use of the private system and ensure that the state system does not find itself overrun and underfunded.
Perhaps the most notable of these incentives is the Private Health Insurance Rebate. Under this scheme ‘Medicare’ makes a contribution towards your healthcare costs based on your earnings and age. The percentage increases as you get older, and decreases as you earn more ensuring that it helps those who are most in need.
PHIB allows the healthcare system to focus more on the quality of care it provides as opposed to the quantity of patients who pass through the doors. This ensures that, unlike in the NHS, the state system is not overworked and creates a far less stressful working environment for medics.
Combining the clever funding model used in the country with the low population density and generous staffing of facilities makes Australia an extremely rewarding place in which to work.
3 - Little Culture Shock
Despite its location Australia is an extremely western country, with a very similar culture to the UK, America and western Europe. Australia has no official languages, but the vast majority of people in the country speak English as their first language. This makes communication in the country extremely easy, and Australian’s even have a similar sense of humour to Brits!
On top of this the country is extremely similar to other Western locations. There is little religious impact on everyday life, and plenty of freedom to act, wear and eat what you want.
If you believe that a move overseas is something which would enhance your career, but you don’t feel as if you could deal with the dramatically different lifestyle experienced in the Gulf or Singapore then Australia could be ideal.
4 - Financial Benefits
Of course the main reason behind many people’s decision to move their career abroad is the financial benefits that this can bring with it.
Salaries in Australia are no different, a GP can expect to earn between $150,000AUD and $400,000AUD (between £88,000 and £235,000). This figure can vary depending on your experience, the hospital you are working in and the overtime that you complete.
Average consultants wages start at around $175,000AUD and increase towards almost $500,000AUD (£103,000 to £294,000).
The cost of living in Australia is likely to work out at a similar, or fractionally lower, rate than it is in the UK. Groceries are more expensive - particularly fresh fruit and vegetables due to stringent quarantine regulations.
This is offset by utility bills in the country which are substantially lower than they are in the UK and, when combined with the lower cost of fuel, this means that household bills amount to a far lower amount than they would in most European countries.
Income tax rates in Australia also differ greatly from those in the UK, meaning that your ‘take home’ salary can often be higher than it would be in Britain.
Most medics will find themselves in categories 4 or 5 of the Australian Taxation system. In Cat’ 4 - for those earning between $80,001 and $180,000 - taxation rates will effectively be between 21.9% and 30.3% - compared with the 40% rate which is paid in Britain.
For those earning over $180,000AUD the tax rate rises to a figure between 30.3% and 44% of your average earnings, normally nearer 36% - compared with the 45% flat rate paid in Britain
These rates only apply to residents, and don’t include the 2% Medicare levy. Non residents taxation rates are slightly higher, but the Medicare levy isn’t required and so they work out at roughly similar amounts.
If you believe that your long term future lies in the country then it would make sense to consider applying for this after you’ve settled in. The residency process takes around a year and a half to complete and currently costs around $3000AUD. It’s certainly not necessary for everyone moving, but for those wanting to settle into the country for the long term it’s a wise expense.
5 - The Country Itself
As well as the various benefits that working in Australia’s healthcare sector can bring with it, there’s the benefit of living in the country itself.
Australia has one of the world’s lowest population densities and combines stunning, uncompromised natural surroundings with cutting-edge, modern, fascinating cities.
If you’re looking to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life then plenty of relaxing natural beauty is never far away. From the stunning 1142ft sandstone formation, Uluru (or Ayers Rock) in the middle of the outback to the breathtakingly beautiful coral of the Great Barrier Reef.
Away from the stunning scenery there are plenty of cultural attractions. The dynamic sails of the Sydney Opera House are one of the most iconic images of the country, and it is home to performances from some of the best musicians, actors and poets from all over the world.
Australia also has a thriving arts scene featuring specially dedicated museums for Aboriginal artworks. These are a must see if you are interested in the arts, as well as finding out more about the fascinating indigenous people of the country and their culture.
If the arts aren’t of interest, then don’t be concerned as there really is something in Australia for everyone.
Every town and city is home to plenty of bars and restaurants, whilst most are based on the coastline making them ideal for water and beach sports or simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
The larger state capitals are also home to plenty of large shopping facilities housing all the major brands that you would expect to find in the UK. These factors highlight
just why so many Westerners elect to move to Australia in search of a better life.
If a move to Australia is something which you think would suit you, then register on our website for job alerts - and start your journey to a more fulfilling career today.