Australia is a vast, young, open, and multicultural country offering overseas students diverse experiences. Everything from the weather to culture and wildlife is colourful and exciting.
Living in a country with an ever-growing economy means encountering many opportunities. Its unsurpassed natural beauty and quality of life make it a perfect destination for those planning to relocate for education, work, or stay.
This blog covers how to live in Australia as an ex-pat and the pros and cons of it, including quality of life, life in Australia for international students, living conditions, and more. It also discusses some practicalities that make settling easier. Let's get started!
1. Living In Australia: Pros And Cons
Advantages Of Living In Australia
The world-class education industry offers top-rated study and training, a fabulous climate, fascinating beaches, and a world-famous lifestyle, making Australia the third most sought-after destination for overseas students.
The country is home to several prestigious universities, seven of which are listed among the top 100 universities worldwide. Whether it is a professional or English language course, you will find a course that matches your needs and expectations.
The country has a multicultural heart and a rich history of migration. This, along with Aussies' friendly, inviting, helpful, and chatty nature, ensures that you won't feel alone in coming to Australia.
Australia offers a strong sense of safety that instils peace of mind in people.
The neighbourhoods are well-known for being well-developed, with schools, community groups, and law enforcement for all.
Australia is a picturesque destination, from the coastline to the foothills to the spectacular outback. All can enjoy its beautiful environment, open grounds, fresh air, and sunshine.
The country is home to a few unique animals in the world, including kangaroos, wallabies, emus, koalas, and more.
The most significant advantage of living in Australia is the sheer number of work opportunities, the potential for growth, and the enjoyment it offers its people.
The country is known for its universal healthcare system that provides high-quality care to its residents. Under this scheme, permanent residents receive free medical benefits or very low prices.
Australia is one of the easiest countries to obtain citizenship. Acquiring permanent residency requires living in the country for at least four years and passing a citizenship test.
The average annual salary of Aussies is 91,550 AUD, which is higher than that of other countries.
Australia's major cities, such as Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne, are among the top liveable destinations globally.
As Australia is a sports-based country, you will find a lot of parks and gyms.
Living in the main cities may be costly, but the salaries you get in those cities are usually very high.
Free Education is provided in primary and secondary government schools.
Australia's targeted education policies help enhance the student achievement success of migrants on multiple levels.
Disadvantages Of Living In Australia
The high quality of life in Australia comes with a hefty price tag. Food and housing are expensive. A single person who migrates to the country can expect their monthly cost of living to be between 800-1,000 AUD, excluding rent.
The average cost of owning a home in a middle suburban area near Sydney city is around AUD 1 million or 11 to 13 times the yearly average salary of a single person. Country areas and capital cities are cost-effective yet expensive compared to the average income. This can be challenging to be a student in Australia without a job.
Obtaining an Australian work permit is a long and complicated process. It requires a "character check," wherein the government determines whether or not you have a good moral character to enter this country.
Australia is a large country with a low population. The major cities are spread far apart, making reaching there a little complicated. Due to this, you may sometimes feel isolated.
The country may not be suitable for travel opportunities as international travel requires a several-hour plane flight. Due to isolation from the rest of the world, it becomes time-consuming and expensive to travel the world from Australia.
Public transport lags behind other countries. The frequency of buses and trains isn't as good as it should be and not every region is accessible via public transport.
Native Australian animals, such as kangaroos, snakes, spiders, etc., can pose risks for those who live near bushland, oceans, and beaches. From August to October, birds will jump and attack you for intruding in their mating grounds.
2. Cultural and Social Etiquette
Australian culture is warm, friendly, and welcoming.
There is not much differentiation in the class system as in other English-speaking nations. Due to this, Australia is described as a classless society that values sincerity and dislikes egotism and exaggeration.
Here women enjoy equal status to men and aren't required to meet any ancient, conventional gender roles.
Australia has various festivals and provides opportunities for entertainment - live music, theatre, sports, or even street food.
Though Oz's culture is based on British culture, Aussies are less formal than those in the UK. Striking up conversations with locals is easy, and they are often willing to assist others.
Australians appreciate humbleness in social interactions and business culture.
According to the InterNations Expat Insider survey, more than 70% of ex-pats who live here feel at home and enjoy people's "easy-going" lifestyle and down-to-earth nature.
Australian society values friendship, optimism, equality, and authenticity.
Aussies love to spend a reasonable amount of time outdoors than working constantly. Even the houses are designed to take advantage of socializing and outdoor living.
Self-deprecating humour is the norm here.
Australians don't rely on people who brag or shows-off.
Meetings and Greetings
Australians greet each other on a first-name basis. They don't use titles even if they are meeting someone for the first time.
They shake hands firmly and confidently.
Don't attempt an Australian accent if you are a foreigner. It is better to keep it simple by saying "Hi/Hello/" and "How are you?" when you meet an Australian.
There aren't many topics that are considered taboo in Australia. However, refrain from discussing religion, politics, sex, race, or asking about anyone's salary, weight, or age.
Refrain from trying to impress Australians, as they are hard to impress. Even if they are impressed, they won't admit it. So, please don't feel bad about it.
There is a common custom to exchange gifts between close friends, family members, and neighbours on birthdays and Christmas and open them on receipt. There are no cultural restrictions on what you can gift them.
Aussies love receiving flowers, chocolates or anything special from the sender's native place.
Wear appropriate clothing depending on the type of restaurant you are heading to. Wear something likable than usual jeans and tennis shoes if going to high-end restaurants. You can ask the restaurant in advance about the appropriate attire.
It is etiquette to always visit someone's home for dinner with a bottle of wine, flowers, or chocolate.
Australians don't switch forks and knives between their hands while eating. They hold the knife in the right hand and the fork in the left. After the meal, the fork and knife are kept parallel to one another right side of the plate.
Please don't arrive at any party more than 15 mins late as it is considered rude. Be polite to everyone, including waiters and hostesses, so everyone feels respected.
It is polite to ask the host if they need any help preparing the meal or cleaning up later.
Wait for your entire party to arrive before you get seated and for everyone to be served before you begin eating.
Don't forget to bring your alcohol and meat when you arrive at a typical Australian "barbie".
Everyone should order the same number of courses so that you start and finish your meals simultaneously.
Australians usually don't like discussing business over a nice meal, so keep this in mind.
When out to eat with friends, if everyone's meal is around the same price range, the bill is split evenly, and each person pays for their beverage and food. When invited to any party, the one who asks you pays the bill.
Tipping isn't expected, but a 10-15% tip is a polite gesture at high-end restaurants.
Australians dislike littering and spitting in public places. So, even if there is staff in the area to clean up after you, you should throw your trash in the right place without dirtying the surroundings.
Australians are loyal when it comes to relationships, especially among friends. Many rely upon the support of good friends than family during bad times.
Showing up to a friend's home without prior information is viewed as impolite.
Maintain an arm's length distance between yourself and unfamiliar people. Note that people prefer staying to their left when walking or taking escalators or stairs.
Swearing is common in Australia. Aussies use a variety of colourful language in their day-to-day conversation.
3. Driving in Australia
You need a valid driving license as some towns and cities of Australia are only reachable by car.
The permissible age for driving varies between states and territories. In the ACT, you are eligible for a learner's permit on turning 15 years, nine months, and 16 years everywhere else. You can drive a car unsupervised at 18 years in Victoria, 16 years and six months in the NT, and 17 everywhere else.
Foreigners who hold a temporary visa can drive in Australia for three months with their license from their home country, after which you will need an Australian driver's license. You may need an International Driver's Permit if your license is in a language other than English.
Driving Rules In Australia
As Australia follows the British road system, people in this country drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Drivers and passengers have to wear a seatbelt inside the vehicle compulsorily.
Drinking while driving in Australia is prohibited. Use of a cell phone (in any form) while driving is considered illegal.
Maintain the speed limit while driving:
In a built-up residential area - 50 km/hour, in NT - 60 km/hour
beyond built-up residential areas - 100 km/hour, in the NT and WA- 110 km/hour
Don't smoke in a car if you are with below 18 years person (or below 17 years in WA).
Refer to our blog to learn how to get a driver's licence in Australia. If you plan to be in the country for less than three months, consider hiring a car. Here is our detailed post on Renting a car in Australia to help you quickly get around the city.
4. Practical Information
000 - Urgent assistance from police, fire, or ambulance services.
You should call on this number if:
You need urgent medical help
If your life or property is under threat
If you have witnessed an acute crime or accident
Other Emergency Service Numbers
112 - Only be dialled on a cellphone
106 - Text-based emergency helpline number for the deaf, speech, or a hearing impairment
Here are the top 6 support services for international students
January 1 - New Year's Day
January 26 - Australia Day
Good Friday - Celebrated on the Friday before Easter
Easter Monday - Celebrated on Monday after Easter
April 25- Anzac Day
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 26 - Boxing Day
Other Public Holidays – (declared by each state and territory)
Queen's birthday – Celebrated on the 2nd Monday in June
Labor Day on -
The 1st Monday in March in Western Australia,
The 2nd Monday in March in Tasmania and Victoria
The 1st Monday in May in the Northern Territory.
Major Airports in Australia
5. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is The Reality of Living In Australia vs The USA?
While both countries share similarities in many areas, there are specific cons and benefits of living In Australia vs the USA.
Pros of Living in Australia vs the USA
Work-life balance is much better in Australia than in the USA. Where American employees get approximately ten days of paid leave in a year, all Australian employees get 28 days of paid leave for every year worked and are also protected by federal law. While Americans get approx. Twelve weeks of parental leave, Australians get a maximum of 18 weeks.
Healthcare is another major factor that differentiates both countries. America is known to have the most expensive medical care system. Not just healthcare costs but the cost of medicine is also cheaper in Australia as the country's universal Medicare healthcare scheme covers them.
The big difference in healthcare costs is due to the US's privatized and unregulated healthcare sector, which allows doctors and other medical practitioners to charge as much as they want.
Australia cuts health insurance payments from the earnings of employees, thereby making health insurance easier for its employees.
Another significant distinction in the lifestyle of Americans and Aussies is that the latter has a well-defined and structured Social Security system. In the US, the FICA regulates the social security system, which pays old age benefits to its people once they turn 62. Americans depend primarily on social security benefits than their savings. In contrast, Australia provides an Age-Pension and Superannuation program that enables Aussies to save for their old age (9.5% of earnings between 18-70 years) and use these savings to live a comfortable life more comfortably than their American counterparts.
Australia has a more laid-back, relaxed, and cordial lifestyle that doesn't demand attention, as commonly seen in America. This is common in Australia, where most managers don't hang out much with their subordinates. Australians who hang out with their superiors are mostly considered for promotions and salary hikes, whereas in America, you have to show better performance to achieve the same.
Cons of Living in Australia vs the US
The steep rise in housing prices, particularly in prime areas like Melbourne and Sydney, is a big concern for ex-pats who plan to come and settle in this country. The double-digit property cost growth makes it even more challenging for Australians to afford a home.
The standard and cost of living in Australia are relatively high than in America or Canada. To some extent, it is due to the higher cost of product transportation in Australia.
Geographical isolation is another significant difference between the countries and a disadvantage of living in Australia. Due to its location and distance from other continental nations, it becomes laborious for people to travel to and from Australia. The US, on the other hand, is massive but not isolated like Australia. It shares a land-based border with Mexico and Canada, making it easier to travel across borders.
The cities and towns in Australia are separated by thousands of miles, making it time-consuming and tiring for people to fly to and from Australia.
Unlike New York, which looks and feels shabby, dirty, and polluted, Australian cities are well-preserved, clean, unpolluted, and uncrowded, with greenery everywhere. Canberra has national parks and beautiful reserves. Sydney and Melbourne have great botanical gardens and are lined with beautiful trees.
Is Migrating To Australia Worth It?
Australia is characterized by strong population growth, with total overseas migration contributing more significantly than new births annually. Here are a few reasons that make the country the top choice for most immigrants.
Australia welcomes millions of immigrants yearly as a nation full of study and work opportunities, a developed economy, and a high-quality lifestyle.
Australia offers everything you need for a better life. The country's immigration provides terrific possibilities for students and their families for a bright future, including the option to gain Australian citizenship.
Migrants to Australia have access to its globally-recognized education system, which includes the world's best institutions for higher education.
Eligible overseas students and workers get ample employment opportunities in Australian firms and companies in various in-demand occupations.
By encouraging skilled migration via the Skillselect migration program, the country creates a favourable impact and boosts its economic growth.
The country's focus on skilled migration implies that primary skill stream migrants are well-equipped to settle into Australian culture and start contributing to the economy.
The country's settlement services and multicultural policies, such as language support and intercultural mediators, help migrant students and their families to participate in the broader Australian society, gain employment, enhance their skills, learn English if required, and participate in the community.
Can I Move To Australia Without A job?
If you are an applicant wishing to migrate to Australia without a job offer, then here are a few programs you can consider:
Australia State Sponsored or Nominated Visa Subclass 190
Australia Skill Independent Visa Subclass 189
Family Sponsorship Visa
What Skills Are Needed In Australia?
Based on LinkedIn data, we have compiled a list of the most demanded job skills in Australia:
|Hard Skills||Soft Skills|
|Artificial Intelligence (AI)||Creativity|
|UX Design||Team management|
|Customer Service Systems||Time management|
Which Career Is Best In Australia?
There is no one best career in Australia. Based on your skillsets, education, and experience, you may choose the best one from Australia's highest-paying and in-demand jobs:
Surgeon - Average salary: $394,303.
Anaesthetist - Average salary: $386,065.
Internal Medicine Specialist - Average salary: $304,752.
Financial Dealer - Average salary: $275,984
Psychiatrist- Average salary: $235,558
Other Medical Practitioners - Average salary: $222,933
Judicial or other legal professionals - Average salary: $188,798
Mining Engineer - Average salary: $184,507
Enterprise architecture manager - Average salary: $168,762
CEO or Managing Director - Average salary: $164,896
Engineering Manager - Average salary: $159,940
Quantitative analyst - Average salary: $153,539
Vice president - Average salary: $151,358
Director of information security - Average salary: $149,204
Enterprise and software architect/manager - Average salary: $138,933 – $142,355
How Much Does a House Cost In Australia?
Housing is expensive in Australia, regardless of whether you are looking to buy a house or get it on rent. Below we have listed the monthly rentals (in descending order) to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the City Center.
|Sydney, NSW (Most Expensive)||AUD 2,681.48|
|Melbourne, Victoria||AUD 1,767.60|
|Canberra, ACT||AUD 1,733.26|
|Brisbane, Queensland||AUD 1,726.13|
|Adelaide, South Australia||AUD 1,705.67|
|Gold Coast, Queensland||AUD 1,568.92|
|Darwin, NT||AUD 1,524.35|
|Perth, Western Australia||AUD 1,523.41|
|Hobart, Tasmania (Least Expensive)||AUD 1,208.33|
However, if you plan to buy a house, here is what you might have to pay in different cities in Australia:
|Sydney, NSW||AUD 815,000||AUD 925,000||AUD 700,000|
|Melbourne, VIC||AUD 653,000||AUD 720,000||AUD 536,000|
|Canberra, ACT||AUD 585,000||AUD 683,000||AUD 415,000|
|Brisbane, QLD||AUD 485,000||AUD 525,000||AUD 382,500|
|Perth, WA||AUD 470,000||AUD 484,000||AUD 415,000|
|Darwin, NT||AUD 460,000||AUD 505,000||AUD 377,000|
|Hobart, TAS||AUD 462,500||AUD 470,000||AUD 355,000|
What is The Most Common Job in Australia?
Australia is known for the best working conditions worldwide. If you are looking for a job, here are the typical job options to consider.
|Job||Open Positions on LinkedIn||Average Annual Base Salary|
|Human Resource Manager||712||$45,000|
|Supply and Distribution Manager||254||$60,000|
Typical Jobs for Immigrants in Australia
A thousand people migrate to Australia each year. You can also realize your dream of working in Australia if you have the right skills and relevant experience. The following are the most common 50 jobs in Australia where you can find maximum job openings:
Rank Job Category:
Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers
General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers
Other Specialist Managers
Database and Systems Administrators and ICT Security Specialists
Special Education Teachers
Health and Welfare Services Managers
Auditors, Company Secretaries, and Corporate Treasurers
Animal Attendants and Trainers
Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals
Artistic Directors, and Media Producers and Presenters
What Jobs Are In Demand In Australia?
Here are the top 10 jobs that are going to stay in high demand in the coming five years:
Civil Engineering Professionals
Early Childhood Teachers
ICT Business & Systems Analysts
Software & Applications Programmers
What Is The Highest-Paid Job In Australia?
Healthcare and Medical professionals are among the highest-paid workers in Australia, with surgeons earning the highest average income of $406,068 a year.
Anesthetists occupy the second place with an annual average earning of $388,814, followed by:
Internal medicine specialists with $310,848 a year
Financial dealers with $279,790 a year, and
Psychiatrists with $252,691 a year
How Much Money Do You Need To Move To Australia?
There are three primary cost areas worth considering when planning a move to Australia:
The cost of submitting a visa application
The costs involved in migrating to Australia
Living in Australia cost
Let us look at each of these sections one by one:
A. Visa Application Cost
|Visa subclass||Base application charge||Additional applicant charge 18 years and over||Additional applicant charge under 18 years|
|Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) – Points-tested stream||
|Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)||
|New Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa Subclass 491||
Department of Home Affairs (DHA) Visa Application Charge: $3,670 (for Permanent Residence Visas)
Skills Assessment Application Fee - $300 to $1,050 for most occupations
IELTS or PTE Test fee (if required)
Medical Examination fee
Police Clearance Certificate Fee: approx. $ 20 per person
Translations and Document Certification Charges: up to $ 500
B. When Moving To Australia, You may incur the following types of expenses:
Airline tickets – depending on the country of origin, and the number of people flying to Australia
Visa validation fee
Shipping costs of household goods - $5,000 to $10,000
Migration Agent fee: AUD$ 6,000 to 8,000 under the Skilled Migration Program. AUD$ 8,500 to 15,000 under the Business Migration Program.
C. Cost of Living in Australia
The cost of settling in Australia includes the following that varies considerably from one family to another:
Cost of accommodation (upfront rent payment, monthly rental, security bond, etc.),
Cost of public transportation in Australia, or private transport (buying a car),
Household expenses (Television, fridge, furniture, etc.)
Cost of maintaining a reasonable lifestyle
The minimum budget for the 1st year in Australia is likely to be:
Single migrant - AUD 15 - 20,000
Couple - $ 20 - 30,000
Family of 3 or 4 - $ 30 - 40,000
Family of 4+ - $ 50,000 or more
How Much Money Does A Person Need To Live In Australia?
The first thing you need to know when planning your living expenses in Australia is that there is no "one size fits all" plan. It depends on how big your family is, your choice of housing arrangement, etc.
As a rough guide, an individual may need around $20,000 yearly, and an average family of 3-4 people needs over $50,000 to live in Australia.
Minimum weekly expense - AUD1,000 (for a basic one-bedroom)
Rent - at least $400 a week
Food - at least $130-200
Socializing - at least $5-10 (a glass of wine or beer)
Is it Easy To Get A Job in Australia?
It is worth noting that the job market is highly competitive, and only some skills and jobs are in equal demand, particularly for overseas candidates.
The most in-demand sectors for foreigners include:
Here are a few tips to help simplify your job search in Australia:
Keep your career the same, as it is easier to find a job when you have plenty of experience. Look for industries that align with the area where you hold work experience.
Get your visa in advance as employers are hesitant to recruit people who don't hold visas/"right to work". So, before seeking employment in Australia, you must get a valid temporary or permanent skilled Australian work visa with work rights. Once your visa is approved, Australian laws will safeguard you at the worksite and helps you enjoy fundamental rights.
Speak the language well, as it is mandatory in all jobs. It is best to have a language proficiency certificate to assure the employer about your language skills.
How Does The World View Australia?
According to the United Nations, Australia is globally ranked as the second most liveable country for its excellent quality of life index.
The country is, by nature, deeply multicultural, with a central point for artistic flair, food, and socializing.
Australia's strong economy offers a high quality of life, extensive political rights, excellent education, best-in-class healthcare facilities, and much more.
The country has a highly efficient and well-established healthcare system as Medicare, that provides free and subsidized treatments to all residents and citizens registered in Australia.
Australia is home to top-ranked institutions and has internationally recognized qualifications and numerous scholarship options that attract emigrants from all parts of the world. Thankfully, immigrants have constantly populated the continent over the last two centuries.
It is a highly developed country renowned for its high GDP per capita and low poverty rate.
Its diverse and rewarding work culture, exciting career prospects, and relatively lower unemployment rate attract overseas students to this country. There are plenty of job opportunities in various sectors, specifically IT segments.
The real estate market in the country is quite competitive and expensive.
Is it Worth Living In Australia?
Here are a few more reasons that make Australia the best choice for foreigners:
It lives up to its stereotype – Sunny weather, silvery beaches, an ocean within reach, limitless spaces and landscapes, and friendly people everywhere.
The country is ideal for those who are fond of natural beauty and like enjoying life but also wish to live in an efficient and technologically advanced country.
Though the country is less populated, with a population of just 26 million people, it is geographically as big as the entire of Europe. You can expect to find all kinds of services, work, and leisure activities in a cozy and spacious environment in all major cities.
What Is Living In Australia Like?
Life in Australia for immigrants is pleasant due to the prosperous international community and the ability to work part-time to support their quality of life. Here are a few more things to give you a feel of what living in Australia might look like:
People planning to move to Australia usually look for a slower pace of life that enables them to spend more time with their close ones.
Since 2016, Australia has continually been ranked as one of the "Top 12 happiest countries worldwide". Here, life is less hectic and offers a perfect balance of work and leisure time.
The population in Australian cities is diverse as the rate of emigration to Australia is high. The country is very accommodating and welcomes people from different cultures.
Australia has a high standard of living, and cities like Melbourne and Sydney top the list in terms of liveability.
Lifestyle in Australia is only partially urban. City beaches, parks, and green spaces are well-maintained and extensively developed.
Australia has a higher cost of living as the country imports a lot of items. However, salaries are also higher to support this expensive lifestyle.
Most Australians are technology lovers and like staying well-informed about current international events.
The weather here is often warm and sunny, even in the colder season, encouraging Aussies to spend a lot outdoors. Aussies love sports, both as participants and spectators and like discussing matches.
It is a large country, and most of the population lives along the coast.
Why Moving To Australia Is A Good Idea?
Here are some convincing reasons to make a move to Australia:
High-quality education system
No language barriers
Shorter working days
More public holidays
Delightfully warm weather
Higher quality food
Idyllic beaches, and most importantly, A Better Quality Of Life!
Australia is an unforgettably beautiful and unique destination.
However, before you decide to move to a new country, you should compare the country on various variables – from climate to language to culture – and everything in between.
Learning the pros and cons of living in Australia will help you make a confident move.
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