Moving to Australia?

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Moving to Australia

As Australia is a very popular expat country, chances are that you may also consider moving to Australia. Congratulations on this great choice! This guide briefs you on the most important aspects of preparing your move to Australia, such as popular expat destinations and visa requirements.
Australia's nature is one reason why the country is popular among expats.
  • Australia’s cities are consistently ranked in the top 30 cities for quality of life worldwide.
  • Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth are becoming more affordable destinations for expatriates paid in US dollars. However, for expats earning their salaries in AUD, the cost of living is increasing due to a rising inflation rate.
  • Where you decide to live in Australia may depend on the local weather. Since Australia is so expansive, it has a variety of climates to choose from. 
  • All visa applicants must meet English proficiency, proper skill qualifications, health requirements, character requirements, and sign the Australian value statement.

The Dream Destination

Moving to Australia has been a dream for generations of people from Europe and Asia, who form a large portion of the nation’s foreign residents. Moreover, it has traditionally been the destination of choice for students and young professionals from all across the globe, who move to Australia for a couple of years on the Working Holiday visa.

The country’s natural beauty, beaches, and relaxed lifestyle are not the only factors pushing so many people relocate to Australia. Some come for business, and many more come for a new and better life. Whatever your motivation is for moving to Australia, you will be pleased to know that many of its major cities consistently rank in the top 30 for quality of life in internationally held surveys. Additionally, the country itself ranks seventh for best expat destinations in our own 2016 Expat Insider Survey.

Moreover, you will be even more pleased to hear that while these same metropolises once ranked in the top twenty when it came to living cost in comparable studies, this is no longer the case. In the 2015 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, all of Australia’s cities continued to drop from their position as some of the most expensive places to live on earth. To give you an example in the 2015 survey, Sydney fell from 26th to 31st, Melbourne fell from 33rd to 47th, and Perth’s standing also fell drastically from 37th to 48th place.

However, this change is primarily due to the depreciation of the Australian currency against the USD. Hence, for expats earning their salaries in AUD, this is irrelevant because the cost of living is actually increasing due to a rising inflation rate.

Where to Go

If you are moving to Australia on an expat assignment or already have a job offer in a specific city, please skip this section.

People moving to Australia face one important decision; where to go? While there are no traditional expat destinations, immigration to Australia tends to focus on the big cities, in particular the capitals of the six states and two mainland territories.

This makes sense for variety of reasons. First and foremost, given the size of the country, if you don’t move to Australia’s major cities, you might find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Furthermore, for those still hunting for a job, moving to Australia’s big cities seems like the better option anyway.


Recent expats and immigrants have often picked Perth as their new home. Even in 2016, Perth is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas in the world, but this Australian city is increasingly attracting new residents from overseas. This is probably due to its agreeable, temperate Mediterranean climate.

With the surrounding territory rich in resources like gold, oil and iron, Perth has a very prolific mining industry employing significant numbers of workers. This, in turn, leads to a high demand for skilled professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, etc.

Indeed, the shortage in the workforce has resulted in Perth being deemed a ‘city of regional hardship’, meaning it is easier for migrants to secure temporary visas and begin to work. Although these visas are easier to get, they are only available for low population growth areas. Hence, expats looking to receive this visa would need to live and work outside the metropolitan area of Perth.

In the past years, the Australian economy was flourishing. However, recently the Australian economy has been having issues. This is mostly because of its depreciating currency against the USD, ultimately resulting in its natural resources declining in value on the global trade market. These issues have impacted the mining industry dramatically, creating a slump after the once bustling mining boom. Despite the downfall of the mining industry, the Western Australian economy has remained stable. This is mostly because of its large service sector, which accounts for nearly 70 percent of the country’s GDP.

On the following page, we will provide further overviews of other popular expat destinations: Sydney and Brisbane.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Serhat Ahmed

"Without experience of having lived abroad, I thought it would be hard to get to know other expats. But not with InterNations."

Lotta Koskinen

"When I first attended the Sydney Bar night I was really nervous. But everyone welcomed me and I quickly felt as part of the community."

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