Moving to Melbourne?

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Moving to Melbourne

Are you planning to relocate to Melbourne? Australia’s second-largest city beats its rival Sydney in many respects. Expatriates appreciate the quality of life and the city’s diverse heritage. The InterNations guide on moving to Melbourne introduces the metropolis, visa types, and residential areas.
Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, is a popular destination for many residents from overseas.
  • The metropolitan area of Melbourne has a population of over 5.2 million people.
  • SkillSelect is how Australia manages their skilled migration program; the government of Australia only takes the applicants with the highest points into consideration.
  • There are 31 municipalities in the greater Melbourne metro area, including 15 inner city suburbs. 

The Capital of Victoria

Moving to Melbourne, you have decided to live in Australia’s second-most populous city with 5.27 million people, coming second only to Sydney with 5.25 million. Melbourne is not only the capital of Victoria, Australia’s smallest and most densely populated mainland state (right after the capital territory). The city is also its economic powerhouse.

Melbourne used to be the center of Australia’s “rustbelt”. However, since the 1980s, it has gradually mastered the transition from a focus on manufacturing to a thriving service sector. Lots of visa-holding expats find employment in the revived urban economy. But they profit from more than just the city’s job opportunities.

A move to Melbourne is an attractive option, due to the high quality of living in the metropolitan area. Nicknamed both “Australia’s unofficial cultural capital” and “City of Gardens”, Melbourne boasts a lively arts and entertainment scene, a good variety of annual cultural festivals and sports events, and plenty of open green spaces.

Expats moving to Melbourne will be happy to hear that the Economist magazine deemed Melbourne "the world’s most livable city" for the fifth consecutive time in 2015, outstripping 139 other cities. 

History and Geography

The history of this much appreciated city begins with a sad fact. In 1835, the first European settlers in the area founded their village on land theft. They squatted on the territory of the Aboriginal Wurundjiri nation, whose members were gradually decimated due to dispossessment, diseases, and frontier violence. The British settlement, however, prospered, living up to the city’s later motto: vires acquirit eundo — Latin for “she gathers strength as she goes”. With crowds of diggers and miners moving to Melbourne, it soon turned into the “Marvellous Melbourne” of the gold rush years.

Nowadays, Melbourne is a flourishing 21st-century metropolis. About 75 percent of Victoria’s populace is concentrated in Greater Melbourne, rather than the state’s rural regions. Located around Port Philipp Bay and the mouth of the Yarra River, the Melbourne metro area now includes 31 municipalities. It is divided into three areas, according to their distance from the city center: Inner Melbourne, Metropolitan Melbourne, and Outer Melbourne.

Population and Climate

As an expat resident, you will join the ranks of 5.2 million people who live in the metropolitan area today. According to the 2011 census, 31 percent of all Melbourne’s inhabitants were born overseas. The Anglo-Celtic (i.e. English-Irish-Scottish) heritage of the first European colonists has long given way to a multicultural society.

In some municipalities, the percentage of foreign-born residents is far higher than the national average of 28 percent. For example, in the city center of Melbourne 41 percent of all inhabitants were born outside Australia. Migrants who move to Melbourne are from countries as different as Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, the UK, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Vietnam, and Italy.

Unfortunately, the weather in Melbourne is as varied as its population. The oceanic climate results in rather moderate temperatures. The yearly average ranges from 10°C (minimum) to 19°C (maximum). However, the weather is also extremely changeable. When you move to Melbourne, you will soon find out why Melbournians joke about “four seasons in one day”. So, make sure to pack your suitcase accordingly before moving to Melbourne.



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

Alain Nguyen

"It was easier getting to know other expatriates in Melbourne with this platform and to share our previous experiences in Australia. "

Samantha Greene

"I love the idea of going out with other expats here in Melbourne and exploring the nightlife this city has to offer. "

Global Expat Guide