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Where to Live in Australia as a Foreigner
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Where to Live in Australia as a Foreigner

Tatiana Forero Rubiano
Tatiana Forero Rubiano

Do you wish to study and work in Australia? Discover your options here.

Thinking of moving to one of the best countries to emigrate to? We mean, Australia? Then, stay tuned to your computer! We have prepared a guide with all the information you need to live in Australia to study or work.

Here, we tell you the requirements to live in Australia. We also tell you what it is like to live in Down Under, what are the best cities in the country, how much is the cost of living, what types of accommodation are available, and more. Scroll down and find out!

5 reasons to choose Australia as a place to live

Living in Australia as a foreigner is excellent because the Aussie territory is among the countries with the best quality of life! The economy is strong, so Australians enjoy good salaries, live in cities with excellent services, and have access to great opportunities.
For a better understanding, see what it is like to live in Australia:

  1. Quality of life. Australia has high-quality public services, a strong and stable economy, a safe environment, and a low level of pollution. In addition, Aussies welcome you with open arms, so you will always feel at home.
  2. Weather and natural attractions. Australia’s wealth is not limited to its economy because its natural and cultural heritage is very valuable as well. You can enjoy its scenery and take advantage of the more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year that the country receives!
  3. Education. 10 universities in Australia are among the 200 best in the world according to the QS University ranking for their high educational level and academic offer. For this reason, plus the possibility of perfecting their English level, thousands of international students choose this country to live an educational experience.
  4. Work. The unemployment rate in Australia is a mere 4.9%, so getting employment in Australia is simple. In addition, the minimum wage is more than enough to cover the cost of your stay and you have the possibility of working as a student.
  5. Leisure. Life in Australia is so much fun! There is a lot to see in the Aussie country and opportunities for diving, surfing, and barbecues on any given day. The nightlife is very active and what characterizes life in Australia is the stress-free philosophy.

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What is it like to live in Australia?

What is it like to live in Australia? Well, let’s start with the fact that the Australian motto is no worries.

Undoubtedly, living in Australia as a foreigner is very relaxed, because everyone in this country enjoys nature, outdoor sports and barbecues with family and mates. But don’t think that they neglect their duties because they work between 40 and 44 hours a week.

And what are Australians like? They are very friendly, welcoming, and open-minded, as Australia is a country where people from all over the world live.

On top of that, they love to dress comfortably and casually. A pair of flip-flops and shorts are their ideal outfit for almost any occasion.

Celebrations in Australia

Another trait of Australians is that, in addition to loving sports, they love to get together with friends! They do not miss the opportunity to barbecue on the beaches, and every year, they take time to celebrate these typical traditions of the country:

  • Australia Day. Every January 26, parades, fireworks displays and concerts are organized in major cities to commemorate the arrival of Europeans 2 centuries ago and life in Australia.
  • Anzac Day. This tribute is held on April 25 and is for Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the First World War and who lost their lives in other battles.
  • Sydney Festival. During the first 3 weeks of January, Sydneysiders gather to enjoy all kinds of artistic events: circuses, concerts, dance performances and art exhibitions.
  • Moomba Festival. To celebrate the diversity of the city and life in Australia, on the second Monday of March, parades, concerts and water competitions are organized in Melbourne.
  • Adelaide Arts Festival. From February 28 to March 15, the city hosts plays, opera concerts, art exhibitions and book readings.

Weather in Australia

If you want to be in a sunny country almost all year round, come and live here! Weather in Australia is quite warm although there are times when the temperature and humidity make the heat excessive. For a better understanding, learn more about the seasons in the Aussie country:

  • Summer (December to February). The temperature ranges between 17 and 30 °C, and there are occasional rains in some cities. At this time, you have more opportunities to get jobs in Australia.
  • Autumn (March to May). The thermometer marks 8 to 17 °C, so the days are cooler and rainy from time to time. In addition, the cities are not as crowded and accommodations are cheaper. This is a good time to travel to Australia.
  • Winter (June to August). The temperature varies from 6 to 22 °C. In the south, it is very cold, but the climate is warm and there is low humidity in most of the country.
  • Spring (September to November). At this time, the thermometer marks 11 to 24 °C. As summer is near, the demand for employees increases, so it is the ideal time to move to Australia.

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Best cities to live in Australia

There are several cities to live in Australia as a foreigner. However, we know that some Australian cities stand out for their quality of life and job opportunities. We have chosen 5 that meet these characteristics and, on top of that, are very beautiful and interesting. Get to know them!

1. Brisbane

Brisbane is the third largest city in Australia, but everything is quite close and public transport connects the center with the suburbs very well.

The only bad thing about moving to this Australian city is that the summers are hot! However, the winters are very cool and there are other good reasons to move here:

  • Life in Brisbane is very affordable and the jobs are well-paid, which attracts many students and workers.
  • Compared to other cities in Australia, accommodation is one of the cheapest in the country.
  • The unemployment rate is low and some sectors in demand include construction, finance, mining and technology.

Want to know what living in Brisbane is like? Click here!

2. Gold Coast

Want to say goodbye to the cold? Then come to the Gold Coast! The city has about 245 days of sunshine a year, so life in Australia can be enjoyed to the fullest. More advantages of moving to this city are that, in the tourism sector, there are numerous jobs and others that we tell you below:

  • In Gold Coast, the cost of living is not so high, so if you work, you earn enough to live comfortably.
  • Transportation consists of streetcars and buses that connect the city efficiently and operate almost 24 hours a day.
  • Jobs in hotels, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs are especially plentiful in the summer. Although it is more difficult to get a job in winter.

Discover more highlights of living on the Gold Coast! Click here and find out.

3. Melbourne

Melbourne is an excellent destination to live in Australia as a foreigner, as the city offers a high quality of life and high salaries: per month, you can earn up to 2,000 AUD*! Other reasons to live here include safety, low pollution, and these facts:

  • In Melbourne, the cost of living is quite high, but it is worth it! Transportation and utilities work remarkably well.
  • In the services area, jobs in Melbourne are readily available. Also, architects, engineers, and marketing specialists are in demand.
  • The climate is sunny most of the year, but rains are very frequent and fall when you least expect them.

Need to learn more about living in Melbourne? Click here then!

4. Perth

When it comes to living in Australia, Perth is the ideal choice, as it is one of the best cities in the world!

We are not saying this, but the Economist Intelligence Unit gives this title to the city for its excellent quality of life and low crime rates. Besides, there are a couple of other reasons that we have listed for you here:

  • Living here is a bit expensive, but the unemployment rate is low and the city is so quiet that living in Australia is unbeatable.
  • Transport is very efficient and connects the city well. To top it off, some lines offer free service!
  • The tourism industry is very active, so employment is easy to find. Another area where there is a lot of demand is mining.

Get all the information to live in Perth! Click here.

5. Sydney

In this list of cities to live in Australia as a foreigner, Sydney could not be missing! Although not the capital, it is one of the most important cities, so there are all kinds of job opportunities. The cost of living is high, but the benefits make up for it. See for yourself:

  • Transportation consists of buses, trains, and ferries and is very efficient. Also, if you look hard enough, affordable accommodation is available.
  • Unskilled jobs in Sydney are very well-paid and easily available.
  • The climate is sunny most of the year and ideal for beach breaks for surfing or a dip in the sea.

Find out more about living in Sydney! Click here.

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Cost of living in Australia

You already know where to live in Australia as a foreigner, so let’s talk numbers! The cost of living in Australia is 3,170 AUD* (Australian dollar) per month more or less. Keep in mind that this figure varies by city, but, in the following sections, we explain it in more detail.

Pre-trip expenses

Now that you know what it’s like to live in Australia, sure you can’t wait to travel, but don’t rush!

Before you do the math, be aware that to obtain an Australian visa, the government requires you to have a certain amount of money to live in Australia as a foreigner. For example, if you are traveling on a Work and Holiday visa, you need 5000 AUD to pay for your initial stay.

For living in Australia for studies, you are required to pay 21,041 AUD* if you stay for 12 months. When your stay is shorter, divide the figure by 365 and multiply the result by the number of days of your trip to find out the required amount. Oh, and add the cost of your course, which varies according to the duration and the school where you take it.

Having said that, see other expenses you need to cover before living in Australia as a foreigner. Remember that these are guide prices and are subject to change!

  • Visa. The cost varies by permit type.
  • Medical insurance. 438 AUD* per year, but the figure is higher or lower depending on the insurance company you take out.
  • Flights. 1,800 to 2,000 AUD* depending on the country you are traveling from and the time of the year you buy your ticket.
    Initial payment for your course. Tuition varies from school to school and according to the type of studies, but these are some approximate costs:
English courses300 AUD*
3-month VET courses1,500 AUD*
Bachelors15,000 to 33,000 AUD*
Masters8,000 to 37,000 AUD*
Doctorates4,000 to 22,000 AUD*

Destination expenses

Once you come to live in Australia as a foreigner, the main expenses are rent, food, transportation and utility bills. Here is an approximate figure for each so you know how much you need to pay for your stay.

Single room accommodation220 to 350 AUD* a week
Shared room accommodation160 to 200 AUD*
Utilities180 AUD* per month
Food70 to 100 AUD* per week
Transport150 AUD* per month

Types of accommodation to live in Australia

Before we talk about the types of accommodation to live in Australia as a foreigner, we recommend you not to look for housing from your country! You run the risk of being scammed or that the place is not like the pictures. Also, once in Australia, compare the areas and the different available options.

So, what to do? Stay in a hostel for the first few days. The cost of a room ranges from 20 to 41 AUD* per night and, if you check Booking or A-HOTEL, you will find good places. Once you are settled in, look for one of these types of accommodation in the classifieds or on the websites we suggest below.

Shared apartments

Cost: 150 to 380 AUD* a week if the room is single or shared.

Want to enjoy life in Australia without spending too much? Then get a roomie! Renting a room is much cheaper than renting an apartment, as you share expenses and meet new people. Of course, it does have its downside, so here are some advantages:

  • You make a new friend to have fun with if you are a good roommate.
  • Can improve your English when you get a roomie who does not speak Spanish.
  • Don’t need to buy furniture, because almost all apartments in Australia include it.
  • However, you may not adapt easily if you are not used to living with people you don’t know.
  • You must pay 2 to 4 weeks of rent as a deposit when you arrive.
  • You have to follow the rules that your roommate sets, but negotiate!

Student residences

Cost: 250 to 450 AUD* a week.

Residence halls are usually on campus or nearby. Like apartments, they offer furnished single and shared rooms with full amenities and include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Here are some other advantages and some cons:

  • You save time and money, as you are very close to your school.
  • You meet other students to spend your free time with and share experiences about life in Australia.
  • There are well-equipped rooms and common areas.
  • You have to pay a somewhat high rent if it includes meals or if you have your laundry done.
  • There is not a lot of privacy, as you have to share the bathroom and room sometimes.
  • You need to follow the rules of the residence, which, in some cases, are a bit strict.

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Family homes

Cost: 150 to 300 AUD* a week.

Living with an Australian family is the best way to get to know the Australian culture. Generally, the rooms are single and furnished and you get breakfast and dinner during the week and 3 meals on weekends. Other pros and cons of this type of accommodation?

  • Can improve your English a lot because you interact with native speakers all the time.
  • Save money on food because the family takes care of your meals.
  • You live with people who explain to you what life is like in Australia and help you understand the culture.
  • That said, you may be a bit far from the center because homestays are in the suburbs. You also have to follow the family rules if you don’t want to get into trouble. And there are times when you might feel socially constrained because you interact with them most of the time.

Live in Australia for education

If you want to live in Australia as a foreigner to study in the Aussie country, do it now! Schools in Australia provide quality education in modern and well-equipped facilities. On top of that, the degrees are internationally recognized and add value to your resume.

Another reason to get to know life in Australia as a student? It’s possible to study and work in the Aussie country! If you travel for more than 3 months, the government authorizes you to work 24 hours a week during classes and full-time during vacations. It may not seem much, but it is enough to earn good money.

A student’s salary is around 557 AUD* per week. The figure depends on the city you live in and the job you get. Generally, these are Au Pair positions such as waiter, barista, bartender, dog walker or other unskilled jobs.

Courses for studying and working in Australia

The wide academic offer is another benefit of living and studying in Australia. The most popular options are the English courses. Schools offer these programs taught by native speakers that allow you to master the language and obtain an international certificate.:

  • Intensive and general English courses: programs last 2 weeks minimum and 2 years maximum, and help you reinforce the basics of the language: writing, reading, listening and speaking.
  • English certification exam preparation programs: if you are about to take the TOEFL or IELTS, these courses provide you with sample tests and reinforce your knowledge.

Proficient in English?

Then, take the VET courses! The programs prepare you for in-demand careers, as they are like a university degree, but shorter. The goal is that you join the labor market to meet the demand for qualified employees in the country.

Another advantage of VET courses for living and studying in Australia is that they give you access to universities in some cases. Some institutions allow you to do equivalencies of the subjects of the first year of the course you are interested in to save you some time and money.

Live in Australia to work

If your goal is not to study, but you want to live in Australia to work, it is possible! The government knows that the living conditions in the country attract many skilled professionals, so they offer them different types of work visas to migrate temporarily or permanently.

Be warned, however, that there are many requirements to obtain a visa to live and work in Australia. In most cases, they require a job offer and work experience. In addition, you are required to have a degree in one of the professions in demand in Australia. For example:

  • Data analysts and engineers.
  • Digital marketing analysts.
  • Cooks.
  • Nurses.
  • Social media specialists.
  • IT experts.
  • Energy efficiency engineers.
  • Doctors.
  • Teachers.
  • Respiratory therapists.

Salaries in Australia

Yes, the process of working in Australia is a bit cumbersome, but it’s worth it for the wages! The minimum wage is 23.23 AUD* per hour. If you get a skilled job, it pays 30 to 70 AUD*, which adds up to 4,500 to 11,000 AUD* per month. With that figure, life in Australia is hassle-free!

*All prices listed above are for reference and may vary over time.

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What to do for an unforgettable time in Australia?

We may have already mentioned that life in Australia is a lot of fun, but it bears repeating! As living in Australia is not all about studying or working, we have prepared a selection of some activities to do in the Aussie country. There is something for everyone, so find the ideal one for you!

  1. Come and live in Cairns for a few days and dive into the Great Barrier Reef.
  2. Visit the surf beaches in Sydney or the other cities, and ride the highest waves!
  3. Tour the Cairns Museum or the Queensland State Museum of the Tropics to learn about Australia’s history.
  4. Take a tour of central Australia and sleep under the stars in the middle of the desert! Or else, take a camel ride and get to know the flora of the place.
  5. Visit some parks! The most famous Australian monuments are Kakadu National Park, Litchfield National Park and Mount Field National Park.
  6. Gather your friends and have a barbecue on the beach to eat kangaroo or crocodile meat. #YumYum

Requirements to live in Australia

Well, we’ve told you all about life in Australia, so are you ready to emigrate to the land of kangaroos? If so, you need a visa, but we’ll explain that later. First, let’s talk about the requirements to get your visa approved, so pay close attention!

1. Identity documents

One of the requirements to live in Australia is to prove your identity. To do this, the Immigration authorities ask for photos of your passport pages showing your face, your personal details, and the expiration date. Also, if possible, attach a copy of your national identification card.

2. International health insurance

To study and work, international medical insurance valid until you leave the country is another of the requirements to live in Australia. Some services are free, but, if you require specialized care or surgery, you will have to cover these quite high expenses.

3. Letter of acceptance and letter of intent

As a student, you must enroll in a course before applying for a visa to study in Australia. When you apply, you will be asked for a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), which is the acceptance document issued by the schools. In addition, you need to write a letter explaining your intentions to travel.

4. Other documents according to your type of travel

The requirements for living in Australia that you saw above are general. When you intend to study or work, there are specific requirements imposed by the government. Below, we point them out to you so that you can meet them and have your visa approved without any problem:

  • Funds to cover the cost of your stay in Australia.
  • Depending on the course you take, a certificate of your English level.
  • Criminal record and medical evidence if required by the authorities.
  • Proof of your work experience.
  • High level of English to work in Australia.
  • Nomination from an employer for a work visa.
  • University degree in one of the professions in demand in Australia.

To work, you need these documents as well. You are not asked for them when you apply for your visa, but you process them when you are already in Australia:

  • The Tax File Number (TFN) or the Australian Business Number (ABN) if you work on your own.
  • Special permits depending on the type of job you get: the White Card to work in construction, the Blue Card to work with children or the RSA to look for a job in bars.
  • Resume adapted to the Australian standard.

Visas to live in Australia

Now that you know the requirements, it is time to talk about visas to live in Australia as a foreigner. Whether you want to study or work, you need a specific visa. To guide you a little, we have prepared a list of the most common travel permits to enter the Aussie country:

  • Visitor visa: is a permit to vacation and study in Australia for 3 months.
  • Student visa: allows you to live in Australia for 3 months to 5 years to study and work. The duration depends on the length of your course.
  • Work And Holiday visa: is a visa for vacationing and working in Australia with no time limit of 12 months.
  • Working Holiday visa: as above, allows you to vacation and work in Australia for 12 months, but is only available for countries in North America and Europe except Spain.
  • Temporary Work visa: is a visa for qualified professionals valid for 3 to 6 months.
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa: within this category, a 2 to 4-year permit and a 4-year permit are available for qualified professionals.

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Final tips to live in Australia

Living in Australia is possible. All you need is to have attitude and desire to have a good time and follow these tips that we have prepared for you. If you take them into account before and during your trip, life in Australia will be like paradise. Take a look at them!

  1. Organize your trip at least 6 months before the date you have chosen. Remember that you have to do many things (apply for a visa, take out insurance…) and that takes time.
  2. Travel in winter. During this season, cities are less crowded and you have a better chance of getting a job if that is your goal.
  3. Apply for a student visa. This way, you will be able to obtain a work permit and your life in Australia will be more comfortable.
  4. Choose your ideal city. All cities in Australia are amazing, but you must take into account the climate, the cost of living, study and work opportunities…
  5. Get to know the Aussie city you are moving to. This way, you will choose an area to live in that suits your needs, your tastes and, very importantly, your budget.
  6. Do not look for accommodation from your country. Although it may seem like a good idea, you can get ripped off.
  7. Stay in a hostel for the first few days of your stay in Australia. Once you are settled here, you can calmly look for the ideal permanent accommodation.
  8. Get a rommie. Sharing an apartment or a room in Australia is a great way to save a lot of money.
  9. Prepare a strong CV. If you make sure your CV meets Australian standards and is attractive, you won’t have much trouble getting a job in Australia.

Plan your study trip to Australia with GrowPro!

If you want to study abroad, we can help you! At GrowPro we are specialists in study trips to Australia, so we offer courses for you to live an unforgettable and enriching experience.

How to do it? First, select the course you are interested in. Then, fill out a form and our Student Advisors will contact you to clarify your doubts, explain what it is like to live in Australia, talk to you about the process of booking the course and start with the necessary paperwork for you to travel as soon as possible.

Don’t think twice and live the adventure of a lifetime in the country of your dreams. See you, future grower!

About the author

Tatiana Forero Rubiano
Tatiana Forero Rubiano

Tatiana viajó como mochilera por Canadá, Ecuador, Perú, Bolivia, Chile y Brasil. Allí, mientras hacía una pasantía en Marketing Digital, descubrió su pasión para escribir sobre viajes. Desde 2018 se ha especializado en Content Marketing y, actualmente, es editora del blog de GrowPro.

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