An Expat Guide to Living in Australia

Jun 13, 2024 | 4 Min Read

Table of Contents

Australia continues to attract skilled expats with fantastic job opportunities and a high standard of living. The combination of a relaxed lifestyle, warm climate and access to a thriving job market makes Australia a top destination for expats worldwide. In 2023, the number of Australia’s residents born overseas made up 30% of its population. It's expected that that number will continue to rise, with expats looking for new experiences down under.

Despite being one of the most popular expat destinations in the world, moving to Australia has its challenges. In this expat guide, we explore the essential information you need to know about moving and living in Australia as an expat.

Australians are known for being friendly and informal who value respect and their communities. Outside of work, Australia’s famous laid-back lifestyle isn’t just about chilling by the beach. With access to a vast coastlines and nature, locals are known to be very active. From outdoor adventures, including hiking, sailing, surfing, rugby and so much more. If the outdoors isn't your scene, its metropolitan cities offer a lively nightlife, rich culture, and a famous food scene.
Despite having a large expat population Australia's immigration policies are very strict, with a point system for applicants and a capped number of entrants per year. The points system allows expats to build points based on family connections, in-demand skills or employment offers.

With plenty of visa options available, skilled expats can find it easier to secure a visa, especially if their industry is on Australia's skill shortage list. The skilled worker's visas are designed to encourage experienced expats to work in specified parts of Australia. This type of visa requires a job offer or a certain number of points in the Australian immigration system. Expats under 30 can apply for a working holiday visa, valid for 12 months with short-term work options available.

The application process for any visa is extensive and can require additional evidence, so planning ahead and giving yourself enough time to secure a visa before moving is recommended.  
One of the biggest barriers for a lot of expats is the high cost of living in Australia, particularly in its main cities. The biggest expense is accommodation. Especially if you choose to live in Sydney, Australia’s most expensive city. In Sydney, accommodation costs in the city centre start at around $3,000 AUD a month for a one-bed apartment. Outside Sydney, a similar apartment in the city centre costs up to $2,240 AUD, while outside the centre, prices start at $1,700 AUD  a Month.
Since the pandemic and the rise in remote-working, more expats are relocating to Australia but outside of the main cities. Many choose to live along the Gold Coast in Queensland – known as the surfer's paradise, where rent is 14% lower than in Sydney.

Australia doesn’t offer specific digital nomad visas, but it does offer other visa options for expats looking to stay and work remotely. The Electronic Travel Visa allows you to work remotely from your country of permanent residence. Australia is quickly becoming a popular hub for digital nomads so finding your own community here won't be difficult. Co-working spaces are readily available in the main cities, with more and more working venues becoming available in regional parts of the country. However, in some very remote towns, access to the internet and phone services can be limited, so planning ahead is essential.
Healthcare in Australia includes both public and private options. Expats can access the public system for some subsidised services. To have access to the universal health system (Medicare), you must be a permanent resident or from a country with a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the Australian government.

Even with access to Medicare, not all medical services are covered, and there may be long wait times due to high demand. Most residents have private health insurance, and the Government even offers tax rebates to those with private insurance to reduce the pressure on the public system. When travelling far from home, It's recommended to have health insurance in place before you go. Some working visas even require health insurance during the application process.

With Allianz, our international health insurance plans offer comprehensive health coverage and  access to our Expat Assistance Programme. Contact us today to learn more about our international health insurance for expats.