Economic opportunities in Australia are vast. Australia’s economy is increasingly integrated into those of the ASEAN countries (originally Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand and more recently in addition Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. It also has a free trade agreement with the USA. As with India and Canada, Australia’s financial sector is tightly regulated and Australia’s economy has weathered the world economic downturn from 2008 onwards better than most countries, though of course it has not been immune to global financial stresses. The Australian dollar has continuously appreciated in value against other international currencies over the course of the world economic difficulties that emerged in late 2008: a compelling demonstration of the resilience of the Australian economy. And of course its economy is many times larger than that of New Zealand.
Australia’s Immigration Act and Regulations provide for onshore foreign students to apply for permanent resident status without returning to their home countries, whereas obtaining tertiary qualifications in the UK by no means permits one to apply to remain in the country. Australia’s economy is significantly larger than that of New Zealand and although obtaining immigrant status there is relatively easy, the opportunities in New Zealand are fewer. Canada’s immigrant intake is relatively unselective – the city of Toronto is now over 50% foreign-born and in the long run this may not turn out to be the wisest social policy, as immigrant groups continue to have higher unemployment rates in Canada than the native-born population. The USA has a notoriously difficult immigration regime and obtaining a Green Card (the American term for a permanent residence visa) takes many years. Moreover, as is well known, America has large populations of disadvantaged people concentrated in the big cities who can be resentful of visible immigrants who may appear to them to be snatching up job and investment opportunities. Finally, like the UK, Canada and New Zealand but conspicuously unlike the USA with its notoriously uncontrolled access to firearms, Australia is essentially a gun-free society and the rate of violent crime is extremely low.