Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Is the trend for emigration greater amongst Army families?

James Forsyth, reports in the Spectator this week that ‘senior Downing Street aides have been much struck by polling showing that more than 40 per cent of Britons would emigrate if they could.’

Whilst they may have been ‘struck’ I doubt they can be truly surprised and it leads me to ask how many Army families have thought about trying life elsewhere? After all, many will have had a taste of what other countries offer during an overseas posting and the fact that they’re used to setting up life in new places suggests that they are more likely to be adventurous. In recent months two former AFF employees and their Army families have resigned from the Army (note 'resigned', not redundancy) and started new non-military lives in Australia and they are just the ones I know personally…. another is making plans for Canada.

I know that we are monumentally lucky, both my soldier and I have employment and we are far more 'comfortable' than most, but here’s the rub, we’re skint, constantly. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I buy food from the reduced rack, we run only one car, and my clothes are from Ebay, but the realisation, not that this is as good as it gets, but that in fact, it’s only going to get worse as the pay freeze, lack of promotion prospects and higher SFA charges take effect leads me to wonder where we might find a life which has more prospects. Like many Army families it’s not just the Army that I’m considering asking my soldier to leave….and I wonder if many of those applying for redundancy will use their lump-sum and pensions to secure a more comfortable life in warmer climes. And by the way it's hailing, mid-April, cold and I can't afford to have my heating on..

Tweet me on Catherine Spencer@AFFComms where you would #emigrateto

Since writing this I have been reminded, that yet another former member of staff and Army spouse will emigrate to Canada this summer...and I suspect more will come out of the woodwork yet - and who can blame them!


  1. Somewhere warm and interesting! Employment opportunities are obviously the uppermost consideration, but climate and quality of life (as we interpret it) are the major determinants for us. That and just getting out of the Army. It's a work-in-progress at this point so we shall see how it pans out.

    1. Employment is always the main concern but having spoken to many ex-Servicemen friends, there is always work for the right person and it seems that most of us are that person. So, I took redundancy after 32+ years Commissioned Service (yep only 2 pension earning years to go). I had already decided to leave regardless of redundancy and had bought a car in Africa through a friend, ready for arrival.

      I’m the “advance party” in Africa, family to follow-on later. I’m employed, the work is varied and the future looks ok. I came with enough funds for a few months and the worst that could have happened would have been a long holiday and then back to UK to look for a “normal” job.

      Like many I was fed up with a number of things, in particular the poor administration back up we now receive from the various departments and agencies. Surprise, surprise the “system” has again failed to pay CEA so I have had to once more apologise to the school for someone else's failure, of course I'll never know whose. The Army can’t ‘fix it’ as they no longer have access to my record. SPVA seem less than interested and calling a call-centre in Glasgow from roughly the middle of Africa on a cell phone is not easy or cheap. (…….20 minutes in a queue, and they promise a response within 10 days!)

      I know that diving from a 10m platform into a pool of unknown depth is risky but as the Nike motto says “just do it…..!”

  2. Thank you for your comments - both very interesting.