Australian repatriation during COVID is a complex decision. Australians therefore need to weigh the decision to travel home to Australia, or remain in the United States.
Do I Stay or Do I Go? may be the lyrics from a popular song, but COVID-19 has accelerated many Australians’ plans for repatriation. Flights to Australia are hard to get and expensive. The cost of Australian quarantine is certainly top of mind for many families, but travel and finances are not the only considerations.
Survivors’ Guilt or Depression?
Recently we are seeing a trend where Australians who have repatriated, especially with American spouses, are being overwhelmed with “survivors’ guilt”. Arriving in a society where COVID-19 cases are few, quickly traced and the infected quarantined, and where masks are not a political statement, creates a form of culture shock. Given many of their family and friends who remain in the U.S. are on high alert to COVID-19, suddenly having freedom to live a comparatively normal life in Australia, can create a sense of guilt.
Similarly, those who remain the U.S. and see mask-less pictures of their family and friends online, amplifies the depression that social media often causes. It is a viscous circle, but as we are spending more time on social media – which in itself is linked to depression – Australians living overseas are exposed to more and more posts that contrast life during COVID-19 in Australia, and the United States.
As a non-profit, we provide highly available connections between our membership through our private Yammer social network. Earlier this year we initiated our COVID-19 Response Initiative. This private conversation inside our Yammer network not only proactively provides guidance and thought leadership from industry professionals and business leaders, but real connection between members who may be experiencing isolation.
The Nuts and Bolts of Australian Repatriation
In the final chapter of our Book Moving to the US for Aussies we discuss a number of complexities facing Australians considering Repatriation. They include Finance, Taxation, reestablishing Australian residency, plane tickets to Australia, Australian quarantine and the Australian job market. All need to be considered before moving to Australia from USA.
Most importantly, whether it is due to sick relatives, loss of work, or concerns about child education, what may have been on the back burner, can now be top of mind due to the impact of COVID-19. Others who saw repatriation as a long term goal, may now be considering flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth or Brisbane given a worst case scenario. Some simply want to get all of the facts.
The Australian Community has just completed the largest survey of repatriation by expats moving home to Australia from New York. You can review all of the data in this article.
Returning to Australia could be a permanent solution to a temporary challenge. Our goal is to aggregate as much information as possible for Australians before they make that decision.
Communication is Key
Livestreams are a great way to ask experts questions on important topics. However, rather than having dozens of folks asking questions live, we gave our members the opportunity (and anonymity) to ask our subject matter experts ahead of time. Their questions have been aggregated with others and assembled in a series of videos, posted to our YouTube channel.
If you are an Australian considering purchasing plane tickets to Australia during COVID-19, the videos below answer some of common questions. More videos are planned, and will be added to our channel, and this article, as they are posted.
The discussions in the videos are not to be construed as Financial, Legal or Tax advice. You should seek the advice of a professional before making any financial decisions.
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Financial Considerations for Expats Moving to Australia from USA.
Tony Kofkin, Founder and Managing Partner of Kofkin Bond and Co. outlines some of his Clients’ repatriation experience.
Tax Considerations for Australians Departing the US.
A conversation with tax experts from a US Accounting Firm discuss the tax challenges facing Expats considering Australian repatriation.
The Final Decision
Lastly, making the decision on moving to Australia from USA should be a decision based on logic and not fear. However, given the constraint of available economy airfare to Australia, if you are seriously considering returning to Australia in the short or medium term, astronomically high Economy and Business Class tickets seem to be the only reliable option.
You are one of the growing number of expats who are thinking of packing a bag, it is best to ensure that your tax and filing affairs are in order. If you leave without settling your financial and or tax obligations, you may face an entirely new set of challenges.
Our advice is always to seek professional advice before making decisions that impact your Health, Finances or Liberty. Australian repatriation is certainly one area where this advice is best taken.
Here is the link again to read the largest survey of Australians Repatriating from New York.
Australian Government Resources for Expats impacted by COVID-19
About The Australian Community
The Australian Community is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity. Its Mission is to connect Australian living in the United States through social, professional and charitable initiatives.
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