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Moving to Australia: Will it Solve all Your Problems like TikTok Promises?

For many young Brits, moving down under to the sun and sand of Australia is a dream. It is common to see idyllic highlight reels on social media, showcasing what appears to be a life of endless beaches and sunsets.


According to data from the Immigration Advice Service, more than 35,000 brits have taken advantage of the working holiday visa in 2023, with numbers only set to rise.


From July 1, 2024, Brits will be allowed to apply to live and work in Australia for up to three years without having to meet any specific employment criteria. This is likely to result in numbers of working holiday visas soaring.


Many Brits are attracted to the higher wages and better work-life balance that Australia offers. It is easy to envision a life on the beach, a far cry away from the gloom of British winter.


However, in a pushback against the glamourisation of the working holiday visa on TikTok, some creators have been detailing the difficult realities of moving across the world, and urging their followers to keep their expectations realistic.


Emily Fry, 23, moved to Australia and quickly found that it wasn’t how it was made out to be online. She said: “Australia was on my socials daily, and it felt like everyone I had seen posting about it were living fun and exciting lifestyles”.


Emily found that the reality of travelling the East Coast, something that is consistently glamourised online, was long hours of travelling on buses to locations that didn’t always look like they did online. Emily noted: “TikTok and social media in general doesn’t show half of what you are going to experience, which is why you should definitely take it all with a pinch of salt!”


Emily detailed the intense competition for jobs amongst those on a working holiday visa. She said: “I think I applied for over 200 jobs and heard back from two. On the working holiday visa you’re very limited with the roles available, as certain companies won’t take you on due to the visa. This pushed everyone to be applying for the same position, and want any job for a little money just to live in Australia.”


She spoke of the racism and sexism that was a “daily” occurrence in the rural job she took, having been attracted to the perk of free accommodation.


Now back in the UK Emily has been able to apply for jobs in the sectors that she wanted, and has been offered six interviews from the 15 jobs she applied for. 


Emily spoke of the pressures she felt to “constantly have fun and be a part of something”. She said: “Having recently graduated it felt like the prime time to get out into the world with no commitments. I didn’t like the idea of being tied down straight after a long period of education.”


Emily’s final message was refreshingly honest: “You’ve got to do what’s best for you in the moment, and truthfully I just needed a holiday rather than to try and set myself up in a country I’d never even visited before.”


Many of the comments on Emily’s TikTok video commend her transparency, in contrast to the glamourised lifestyles that many are tired of seeing online. One commenter said: “I went to Aus and lasted 2 months. I felt like I had failed and everyone was having such a good time. The pressure to fit in was getting to me massively. Coming back home felt like such a relief.”


Another commenter said: “It is so refreshing to see a ‘real’ take on this. I wish more people shared the truths about travelling and moving away from your home.”


Other TikTokers have spoken of the difficulty in finding accommodation, showing videos of flat viewings with up to 100 people in attendance.


One TikToker on a working holiday showcases her life on TikTok working 3 jobs to afford rent, saying “rent in Sydney is expensive”.


According to 7News Australia, the cost of renting has hit a record high across the country, with the average rent around $600 a week, or £310. In Sydney, that number rises to approximately $700 a week (£360). These numbers echo the cost-of-living crisis that has hit the UK, with Sydney rent prices higher than averages in London, currently at around £250 a week according to Spare Room.


While there are many perks to moving to Australia, it is important to keep expectations realistic. One TikTok creator summarised it: ‘Moving to Australia WON’T fix all your problems. Not everything is as perfect and easy as you see on social media.”


"Wonga Beach, Qld, Australia." by jemasmith is licensed under CC BY 2.0.



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