A guide to settling in Sydney

Settling in Sydney

A pleasant climate, beautiful beaches and a multicultural population… Sydney has what it takes to attract many new expats each year. Around 40% of the city’s population was born abroad. Planning on settling in Sydney? Take a look at our tips to organizing your expat life in Australia.

 

Landing a job

To be able to settle in Sydney, you must be ready to showcase your skills in order to find an employer and get a work visa. Indeed, Australia gives priority to skilled workers migration. You will also need to be able to demonstrate a good level of English language proficiency. The type of visa you will request mostly depends on whether or not you have landed a job before leaving your home country.

Visit immi.gov.au to find a suitable visa and apply online. When you begin job hunting, remember to register on Australian JobSearch. Upon arrival in Sydney, get your Tax File Number (TFN), which is a personal reference number you will need when you start a job.

Finding a place to live

Living in Sydney is expensive and rents tend to be high. For example, renting a 85 square meters furnished apartment in a nice area of ​​the city can cost you over AUD3,100 per month. Do note that rent rates are advertised as weekly and not monthly amounts. Also, prices depend mostly on the number of rooms rather than on the number of square meters. You can search for a place to live on websites like realestate.com.au, gumtree.com.au or property.com.au.

If you decide to get in touch with a real estate agent, you will generally need to provide several documents in order to prove your identity. Each document is worth a certain number of points. You must obtain 100 points for your application to be valid. This procedure is called "100 Point ID check." As for the deposit, landlords will usually charge the equivalent to 4 week’s rent.

Sending the kids to school

There are different options to enroll your children in school in Sydney. You can consider choosing an international or a bilingual school. Bear in mind that enrollment fees can be quite high. Your children can also attend a private or public Australian school. Holders of temporary resident visas can enroll in New South Wales public schools on payment of an annual fee, generally between AUD5,000 and AUD6,000.

Using public transport

In Sydney you can use:

  • the subway or train
  • the bus,
  • the light rail,
  • the ferry.

If you plan to use public transport on a regular basis, remember to purchase a card or the right type of tickets. For easy access to all types of public transport in Sydney, get an electronic Opal card. You can order and top up your Opal card online.

Staying healthy

Temporary residents in Australia are not eligible for Medicare, the local health care scheme, unless they are citizens of a country which has signed a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with the Australian government. These countries are: Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Only holders of permanent resident visas are all eligible for Medicare. However, as dental care is not covered, top-up insurance can be necessary. So remember, before you settle in Sydney, subscribe to private medical insurance.

Having fun

Beaches and water sports of all kinds, hiking trails, botanical gardens... You won’t get bored in Sydney! A few ideas to get started:

  • surfing at Bondi beach,
  • enjoying a cocktail at Manly beach,
  • exploring the Blue Mountains,
  • visiting Taronga Zoo,
  • exploring the national parcs around Sydney.

 

To find out more about:

How much does living in Sydney cost? Visit Expatistan.com to learn about the cost of living in the Australian capital.

Date of publication May 2 2015