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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Australia Offers Plenty of Opportunities for Leisure — But Not for Travel

Australia falls five places to 17th overall in 2019. Expats are disappointed by a lack of travel opportunities and high healthcare costs. However, they love the leisure options.
  • Australia ranks 1st worldwide for the availability of leisure options.
  • Over one-fourth of expats (27%) are unsatisfied with the healthcare costs.
  • Australia ranks in the bottom 10 for travel opportunities (56th out of 64).
  • Over six in ten expats (62%) rate their career prospects highly.
  • The cost of living was a main concern before moving for 51% of expats.
  • 66% say moving abroad has made them happier (vs. 61% globally).

Healthcare Provisions on the Decline

After ranking in the top 10 for quality of life in 2018 (8th), Australia now finds itself in a less impressive 15th place. A main contributor to this decline could be a decrease in political stability, where the country has fallen ten places to 27th out of 64 destinations, its lowest-ever finish for this factor.

What is more, Australia has dropped 13 places to 44th for the affordability of healthcare. Close to three in ten expats (27%) are unsatisfied with the healthcare costs, with one Russian expat bemoaning the “unaffordable healthcare for expats”. The quality of medical care also appears to be in decline as Australia has slipped nine places to 21st for this factor.

Leisure Options: Spoiled for Choice

Australia boasts a wealth of leisure options as it returns to number one for the availability of leisure activities in general (second place in 2018). Over nine in ten expats (91%) are pleased with the leisure activities on offer, 16 percentage points above the global average (75%). Three in five (60%) even say the leisure activities are very good (vs. 36% globally). A French expat, for example, exclaims that “there are lots of beautiful places to go to for visits and so many activities”.

There are lots of beautiful places to go to for visits and so many activities.

Additionally, respondents are delighted with Australia’s climate and weather: Close to nine in ten expats (87%) enjoy this factor (vs. 61% globally). One German expat even names the “beautiful weather” as one of her favorite things about living in Australia.

Travel Difficulties Down Under

Expats seem to struggle with Australia’s geographical isolation as the country ranks among the bottom 10 for the opportunity to travel (56th). With 18% of expats disappointed with their travel opportunities (vs. 8% globally), it is no surprise that an Argentinian expat names “the distance from the rest of the world” as one of the worst things about life in Australia.

Australia has also fallen seven places for transportation infrastructure to rank 34th out of 64 destinations, its lowest-ever rank for this factor. A German expat explicitly mentions that “the transport infrastructure is not on par with European cities”.

The transport infrastructure is not on par with European cities.

Easy-Going Aussie Culture Easy to Get Used To

Australia has climbed six places to rank in the top 10 (10th out of 64) for expats feeling at home in the local culture for the first time. Exactly seven in ten expats (70%) feel at home in the Australian culture, ten percentage points above the global average (60%). In fact, an Indonesian expat names “not experiencing culture shock” as one of the best things about her new life in Australia.

What is more, expats continue to benefit from English being the main language in Australia. Over half the expats who are happy in Australia (51%) cite not struggling with the language as one of the main reasons for their happiness. However, as the Expat Insider survey is conducted in English, results for this factor may be biased. Still, moving to Australia without adequate English skills proves tricky for many expats, as the country is among the most difficult to live in without speaking the local language (58th out of 64).

Unsatisfactory Job Security

Respondents in 2019 are somewhat disappointed with their working life in Australia: the location has fallen six places to 19th out of 64 countries in the Working Abroad Index. It only ranked lower in 2017 (32nd out of 65). For example, over one in five expats (22%) are unsatisfied with their job security, with the country losing seven ranks for this factor (from 30th out of 68 to 37th out of 64).

Work-life balance is a lot more important here.

However, there are still many positives to working in Australia, such as the career prospects, where the country ranks in the top 10 (10th). Over six in ten respondents (62%) rate their career options highly, with one-fifth (20%) even saying they could not be any better. A good work-life balance also seems to be an advantage of working in Australia: Over two-thirds of expats (69%) are pleased with this factor. One British expat appreciates how “work-life balance is a lot more important here”.

Fun for the Whole Family

It is no surprise that one French expat highlights the “opportunities and a great life for children”, considering that expat parents rank Australia in 3rd place out of 36 countries for family life in general. Parents are particularly happy with the leisure activities available to their children, with a staggering nine in ten (90%) pleased with what’s on offer. In fact, 65% even say the available activities could not be any better, the highest share worldwide for this factor.

Moreover, childcare and education in Australia appear to be widely available as the country has climbed 10 ranks to 8th place in this subcategory. In terms of education options for children, Australia has ranked in the top 5 for the past four years (3rd in 2019). However, Australia performs very badly for the affordability of childcare, ranking in the bottom 5 for this factor (33rd out of 36 countries).

High Cost of Living a Major Concern for Expats

Personal finance generally seems to be a bit of a struggle for expats in Australia. The country has fallen 12 places to 52nd in the Personal Finance Index, with almost one in five expats (19%) unhappy with their financial situation. Additionally, over half (51%) name the high cost of living as one of the three biggest concerns they had before moving to Australia.

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