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A guide to expat living in Australia



Australia is one of the most desirable expat locations, with people moving here from all over the world. They’re drawn to the multiculturalism, the naturally beautiful landscapes and the friendly and easy-going locals.

The environment in Australia has long been recognised as a great one to live, work and raise a family, but making the move can be very daunting for many potential expats. So, if you’re considering a move Down Under, here’s what you need to know about expat living…

If you don’t have a job – be prepared

Australia is expensive, especially in the capital cities like Melbourne and Sydney. If you don’t have work lined up before you arrive – which is unlikely, particularly in light of recent changes made by the Australian government regarding visas and immigration – make sure you come with a decent money buffer and aim to make it last while you look for employment.

Once you’re working, the price of a coffee won’t sting so much. Until then though, you may baulk when you hand over $5 for a small cappuccino and you receive 50c change (or sometimes, no change at all – coffee in Australia is good, but expensive!)

Cup of coffee

Multiculturalism is embraced – but English helps

Though Australia is very multicultural, English is the dominant language. While all languages of the world are accepted, you may find it hard to communicate if you don’t have a great handle on English.

Dollars and cents for Aussie expats

There are plenty of things you’ll need to consider from a financial point of view. For instance, health insurance is a must-have for expats, and this can come at a costly price – anywhere between $200 and $500 per month.

You’ll also have to get your head around paying taxes and superannuation, so consider seeking advice from a certified accountant to help you make sense of it.

The cost of living will depend on where you live, and each state can offer you something different. Brisbane is renowned for blue skies, warm winters and a slow pace, while Melbourne is popular for its rich, modern culture, coffee and smashed avocado on toast, as well as a thriving live music scene and stellar shopping. Canberra is the political capital of Australia, and is an employment hub for those in the political game.

Sydney holds some iconic Aussie landmarks like the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, while the architecture in Adelaide is absolutely breathtaking. Perth is on the less expensive side, though the economy is suffering and employment opportunities are limited there at present. Meanwhile, the weather in Darwin is deliciously hot—but not for the faint of heart. Tasmania is like the much more quiet, smaller version of Australia’s mainland, though it’s full of stunning scenery and an amazing place to live.

Before you make the move, find the neighbourhood with the best ‘fit’

A prime location in Australia - Bondi Beach

The expat living community is there for you

No matter where you decide to relocate to, you can be comforted by the fact that the expat community in Australia is huge. There are many avenues where you can meet and get to know your fellow expats, ranging from online forums to real life meet and greets, and the support network is awesome. Any questions you may have about Australia (and you’re bound to have many) or about expat living will be answered.

You can also meet and befriend regular Aussies by participating in sports, volunteering, bushwalking, joining a gym, even just saying “hi” to a friendly face. Australia is big on mateship and culture, and with the surplus of museums, theatre companies, galleries, operas, symphonies, concerts and festivals to celebrate all things (even noodles), you’ll have no trouble finding like-minded friends.