Moving to live and work in another country is never a straightforward decision. There are many factors that can impact the process, and the decision itself is an individual one rather than one that can be solved on a “one size fits all” basis.
It’s therefore understandable, after a period working outside Australia, if – as a couple – you have different views over whether you want to return home or not.
Maybe you’ve reached a deadline you’d previously agreed, or one or both of you is in a job with a fixed-term contract that is now coming to an end?
Or it could be as simple as one or other of you just having had enough.
We would not be as presumptive to say that there’s an obvious solution for you. However, with our extensive experience of helping our clients move from the UK to Australia, and vice-versa, here are six key points you might want to consider as part of your decision-making process.
1. Make sure you’re having an open discussion
The key question that you need to answer, and share with your partner, is why you feel the way you do. If you want to return to Australia, is it due to homesickness, the food, the culture – or are you just missing people back at home?
Conversely, if you want to stay in the UK and therefore don’t want to return home, what are the reasons for that?
Try to split these reasons into emotional and rational. Once that’s done, it’s easier to come to a constructive agreement.
2. Think of the children, but not at the expense of everything else
Clearly, if you have children, this adds a layer of complexity to your decision-making.
There’s a perfectly justifiable desire to make sure you do what’s best for your children, but how do you decide what that is?
Most children are resilient and adaptable, so it’s worth considering if you’re using them as an excuse to make a certain decision.
Will the upheaval of moving to another country – that they may not have been to before – be good for them? Alternatively, there may be valid reasons why moving to Australia would be best for them.
3. Speak to your family back in Australia
It’s very possible that the reason one of you has for wanting to return to Australia is to look after elderly relatives who may need support.
It might seem an obvious question, but have you asked them if they need support? While you might find that they genuinely would like you to be closer to home, you may equally find that they wouldn’t dream of using them as an excuse for returning, with all the potential upheaval that entails.
4. There’s nothing wrong with an old-fashioned compromise
Once you’ve both given your reasons and talked them through, it’s worth seeing if some kind of compromise is possible.
For example, maybe it would be possible to wait another six months, or even a year, and then come to a final decision?
With the knowledge that one person has reservations, you may be able to adapt your lifestyle to reflect their concerns. It could be as simple as spending more time together, or using social media and video conferencing technology, to keep in regular contact with relatives back in Australia.
Alternatively, subject to any employment constraints, you might be able to return to Australia for a slightly longer period than a standard holiday.
5. Things might not be as you left them
Another thing to think about when it comes to wanting to return to Australia, is not to assume that everything will be the same as it was when you left for the UK originally.
You may be missing a particular circle of friends, or certain enjoyable circumstances, without realising that many of that circle have moved on, and the particular circumstances no longer exist.
Time will not have frozen on the day you departed, and you could find that some of your reasons for wanting to return home are no longer valid.
6. The economic situation in Australia has changed
If the reason one of you wants to return home is dependent on finding a new job back in Australia, it may be worth taking some time to research the employment market before making an irrevocable decision.
As we mentioned in section five, it may be wrong to assume that everything back in Australia will be exactly how you left it, and that applies equally to jobs as well as your personal situation.
The Covid pandemic has hit the Australian economy very hard. Although there are signs of recovery – and the government are taking big steps to help drive these – it may be some time before all the economic indicators return to their pre-pandemic status.
So don’t assume you’ll walk into another job, or that you’ll benefit from a booming economy, and ensure you factor these into your decision-making.
Keep your options open
Whatever you finally decide, the fact that the decision has been difficult means that you both clearly have strong feelings. Because of this, it’s worth leaving your options open as far as possible.
So, don’t burn too many bridges if you do return to Australia, and leave the possibility of a return to UK open. You might find that things don’t pan out as you’d expected.
Conversely, if you do decide to stay in the UK, don’t assume that it’s necessarily an irrevocable decision.
Get in touch
We aren’t qualified counsellors, so all the suggestions we’ve made for you here are based on our own experiences rather than any hard and fast rules.
However, we do have a wealth of expertise in helping people transition from the UK to Australia, and the reverse journey, so if you do decide to return to Australia please get in touch and we’ll be able to help you with the many financial issues concerned.