Moving to Perth brings you to the capital of Western Australia, the largest among the country’s states or territories, and to the fourth-largest city in terms of population, right after Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. It is also one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and projections estimate that by 2050, between 3.9 and 5.4 million people will call the city home, a sizeable portion of which will be descendants of today’s visa- holding expats. However, unlike these metropolises, the city of Perth is located in a rather remote part of Australia, in the southwestern corner of the continent.
Expats moving to Perth should be well aware that they are about to settle in one of the most geographically isolated cities on the globe. In fact, when planning a vacation, it would be good to know that Perth is actually closer to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, than to Brisbane, the capital of Queensland on Australia’s opposite coast. Geographically, Perth is mostly surrounded by ocean to the west and desert to the east. Thus, it would be quite hard to take a sporadic road trip!
Nonetheless, the Perth area offers distinct advantages, especially for those who enjoy a relaxed lifestyle on sandy beaches. The region has a pleasant climate, reminiscent of the Mediterranean or comparable to Cape Town in South Africa. More specifically, Perth has hot and dry summers, cool and wet winters, and plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
The sunny weather, high quality of life, and also Western Australia’s job opportunities are some of the main reasons why moving to Perth is becoming more popular. Both the local government of Perth and the Australian federal government are actively trying to attract skilled and well-qualified immigrants in order to address the demands of the flourishing Western economy.
In 2011, Perth officially became a ‘Regional Hardship Area’, meaning that the city needs more workers to meet the number of available jobs. It is now one of the easiest cities in Australia for qualified workers in the mining and service industries to receive a Skilled Regional (provisional) visa for.
Although this visa is a great option for potential expats, a nomination from a State or Territory government agency is still required to ensure that you are a needed worker. Also, people who obtain this visa have to reside and work in low population growth areas. In Western Australia, low population growth areas are anywhere besides Perth and its surrounding areas. More information about the Skilled Regional (provisional) visa is available on the Australia Department of Border Control website.
Currently, the job market is very promising in Western Australia for qualified expats. This is apparent in both the primary and tertiary sectors of Australia’s economy. According to the Australian government, in the year 2015, one in three employers had trouble finding qualified workers to hire. Without the necessary employees, companies have trouble growing their businesses and meeting market demands. This is mostly why parts of the primary and tertiary sections are definitely worth looking into for people interested in either moving to Perth or, more generally speaking, to Western Australia.
Although there still are many job opportunities, there are far less in the mining and construction industries in 2016 than there were in 2011. Although these two industries are not as profitable as they used to be, the Australian government still projects a substantial amount of growth to occur over the next five years. Hence, there is still a need for qualified workers in the mining and construction industries in Western Australia.
While most of Perth’s and Western Australia’s economic success was once based on agriculture, forestry, and fishing, Australia’s government states that these industries are in fact detracting from the Gross State Product. Although agriculture is generally declining, Australian farmers still provide 93 percent of Australia’s food.
As far as the tertiary sector is concerned, professional services such as retail, healthcare, and social assistance are essential for the residents of Western Australia. The service sector in Western Australia supplies nearly over 50 percent of the state's GDP and generates more than 80 percent of the state’s employment. Hence, this sector creates an abundance of jobs for qualified foreigners looking to move to Perth.
Alternatively, you might be moving to Perth to start a job in tourism. With its beautiful weather and sunny beaches, Perth, like Melbourne and Sydney, is a major tourist destination. Between March 2015 and March 2016, 9.8 million overnight visitors came to Western Australia, most finding the big city. In the future, Perth is planning on using more of its beautiful landscape and laidback lifestyle to expand its tourism industry.
It is hardly surprising that the Perth metropolitan area, which has a population of an estimated two million inhabitants, also holds a diverse demographic mix. Most of the Australian-born residents living in Perth and Western Australia have English, Scottish, or Irish ancestry. These Australians are mostly descendants of the 19th-century British settlers who squatted on the territory of the indigenous Whadjik Noongar people. There are also numerous residents of Perth with ancestors from Italy, Portugal, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, or are of Anglo-Indian, Anglo-Burmese, and Chinese descent.
In recent years, the birthplace countries of migrants moving to Perth have shown a shift towards Asia. In addition to the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa, it is China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam that account for the majority of new residents calling Perth home. There are also sizable communities of migrants or expats born in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the US.
Nowadays, up to 31% of all residents in the City of Perth were born overseas. Among the religious population of Perth, there is noticeable diversity as well: After Catholics and Anglicans, Buddhists and Muslims now form sizable religious communities.
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