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Expat Insider - The World Through Expat Eyes

Australia: Great Leisure Options & a Flourishing Social Life

A beautiful environment, a great working life, and plenty of leisure options in Australia make up for expensive living costs and healthcare.

Top Findings

  • Australia (7th out of 59) lands among the top 10 destinations worldwide.
  • Nearly every respondent in Australia is happy with the natural environment.
  • 88% of expats are satisfied with the quality of healthcare (vs. 71% globally).
  • Close to four in five (79%) rate the state of the Australian economy positively.
  • But 41% of expats are unhappy with the local cost of living (vs. 34% globally).
  • A similar share says the pandemic affected personal travel the most.

A Beautiful Natural Environment

Australia (7th out of 59) lands among the top 10 destinations worldwide. In the Quality of Life Index (6th), it narrowly misses out on a spot in the top 5. This great performance is partly due to Australia’s leisure options and the quality of the environment. It comes first worldwide for its local leisure activities, which 87% of expats rank positively (vs. 72% globally). An impressive 97% of respondents praise the natural environment (vs. 84% globally). “Living in close proximity to nature — close to the beach and the rainforest — is so amazing!”, says a US American expat.

Living in close proximity to nature is so amazing!

Great Digital Life, Expensive Healthcare

Australia also does very well in the Digital Life subcategory (8th) of the Quality of Life Index. For instance, expats appreciate the availability of government services online, which 89% rate positively (vs. 63% worldwide). They also give the cashless payment options a favorable rating (96% vs. 83% worldwide). Opinions on the topic of healthcare in Australia are not quite as enthusiastic: while 88% of expats are satisfied with its quality (vs. 71% globally), just 68% consider it affordable, though this is still above the global average (61%). A US American expat shares, “I like the affordable and universal healthcare.” Moreover, only 76% of respondents are happy with their travel opportunities (vs. 84% globally), although 83% rate the country’s transportation infrastructure positively (vs. 76% worldwide).

Good Working Life, Easygoing Culture

Australia also does quite well in the Working Abroad Index (10th). Expats are especially satisfied with their local career opportunities (60% positive ratings vs. 45% globally) and their work-life balance (76% vs. 66% globally). Nearly four in five expats (79%) also rate the state of the Australian economy positively (vs. 62% worldwide). Even Australia’s somewhat worse results in the Ease of Settling In Index (18th) still places it in the top 20. Expats find it especially easy to get used to the local culture (76% vs. 65% globally) and to settle down in Australia (74% vs. 62% worldwide). A Pakistani expat shares: “I like the diverse community with the mixed culture — almost all value and respect others.” However, only a slightly above-average 54% think it is easy to find new friends in Australia (vs. 48% globally).

I like the diverse community with the mixed culture.

The Drawback: High Expenses

Even worse, just 63% of respondents are happy with their financial situation, about the same as the global average (64%). No wonder then that Australia only comes in 39th place in both the Personal Finance Index and the Cost of Living Index. In fact, 41% of expats are unhappy with the local cost of living (vs. 34% globally). “I don’t like the cost of living, specifically housing,” says an expat from Brazil. “Rent is very high in the major cities, and in the last five to eight years it has become almost impossible to buy property here.”

The Impact of COVID-19 on Expat Life

Expats are highly satisfied with Australia’s official communication regarding the COVID-19 pandemic: 87% rate it positively (vs. 66% globally). Most of them also rely on official government channels (66% vs. 48% globally) and local news (65% vs. 47% worldwide) to get updates on COVID-19 and related regulations. When it comes to being personally affected by the fallout of the pandemic, expats in Australia do better than average with regard to their social life — only 12% say this is the area in which COVID-19 has the biggest impact on their life right now (vs. 24% globally). A British expat even shares that “COVID-19 restrictions make me feel safe”. However, it curbs their travel opportunities even further: 40% say it has affected personal travel the most (vs. 28% globally), and this is also where expats see the biggest long-term impact on their life (41% vs. 25% globally).