Expat Q&A: Moving to Sydney

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is continuously ranked as one of the world’s best cities to live. Companies such as the Big Four advisory firms are found in Sydney's central business district.  With attractive career opportunities for expats, Sydney has become a multicultural and diverse destination that is ideal for relocation.

However, don’t take our word for it! We’ve interviewed Michael, an advisor, to give us some insider information on what it’s like to be an expat in Sydney. We start off covering some questions expats would have before moving to Sydney, next, we discuss the city’s residential areas and finally, we wrap up with questions about life as an expat in Sydney.

Sydney Harbour View

Moving to Sydney

What documents did you need when moving to Sydney?

Passport and visa. Australians love their cars and drive a lot so it's worth bringing your driver's licence or getting one if you don't have a license.

What is the healthcare service like in Sydney?

Healthcare is of a very good standard in Sydney. You don't need to register with a particular GP and should be able to get an appointment within a few days. For extras such as physio or dental it's worth investigating private health insurance, particularly if you earn over $90,000 you are subject to additional tax unless you have private health insurance.

What’s Sydney Like?

What is the public transport like?

Public transport is sufficient but not great. As mentioned before, Australians love driving just about anywhere that's not the CBD, so a car may be a better option.

Which parts of Sydney are the most popular amongst expats to live in?

The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney (i.e. Bondi and Coogee) attract a large expat population as it gives ready access to the beaches and a relatively short commute to the city, depending on the method of travel. Alternatively, on the north side of the city suburbs like Waverton and North Sydney are reasonable. Balmain is an in-demand area with Victorian terraces, trendy restaurants and specialty coffee shops. However, the prices reflect the property demand as well as the modern architecture that sits behind Balmain's historical facades.

How did you find a place to live in Sydney?

Mostly via sites like Domain.com.au or Realestate.com.au that show places to buy and rent. If you want to move in with flatmates, there are websites such as Flatmates Finder which are useful.

Bondi Beach Sydney

Life As An Expat

What is the work culture like in Australia?

Sydneysiders work hard to be able to head to the bar on a Friday afternoon. Particularly in summer.

How did you engage with both the local and expat community upon your arrival? 

If you're not meeting enough people through work, joining a sports club is a good idea. There are weeknight and weekend competitions for many different sports that you will invariably find expats involved in. Also, Meetup.com is a website where you can find all sorts of social clubs that align with your interests.

Was there a language barrier? 

Bar a few Aussie slang words you pick up, there's no barrier.

What advice would you give to an expat moving into Sydney?

It's worth considering your lifestyle priorities in choosing a place to live. Cost of living will vary between areas, however it is also largely influenced by salary income and expat relocation package. Senior professionals will likely find Sydney quite reasonable and very enjoyable. For a general idea about cost of living, Numbeo.com provides up-to-date statistics and comparisons with other cities.

If you are an International Tax professional interested in a move to Australia or anywhere else in the world, please contact a member of the team

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