Moving to Sydney?

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Moving to Sydney

Thinking about moving to Sydney? Let us give you some relevant information. InterNations gives you a brief overview of what to keep in mind for your move: visa requirements, housing, popular neighborhoods, and more.
Sydney has far more to offer than its famous opera house.
  • Sydney’s location, temperate climate, and culturally diverse community are some of the reasons why the city is growing in popularity among expats.
  • If you are planning to apply for a visa to Australia, make sure you have all the necessary visa requirements. You will find these on the Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.
  • The Australian government uses the SkillSelect system to manage its skilled migration program and address regional shortages.

If you are thinking about moving to Sydney from overseas, you are not alone: immigrants account for a considerable percentage of the city’s annual population growth. According to the 2011 census, 40% of all residents in the Sydney Metropolitan Area were born abroad. Most foreign nationals moving to Sydney, and indeed Australia in general, are British, Chinese, or Indian.

On the one hand, these statistics show obvious advantages for newly arrived expatriates: not only will an existing network of visa-holding overseas residents be able to support you, but there’s a whole infrastructure to deal with migrants and expats moving to Sydney.

On the other hand, this huge influx of often highly skilled and well-to-do migrants did not only help make Sydney into one of the richest cities in the world, it also sent up property and rental prices, as well as the general cost of living, to a level higher than that of any other Australian city.

Why Move to Sydney?

The capital of New South Wales (NSW) has a lot to offer. People from all over the world move to Sydney for various reasons: its temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters; its proximity to some amazingly beautiful countryside and national treasures like the Great Barrier Reef; its outdoorsy lifestyle; its prominent cultural and academic position within Australia; and, of course, the job market.

It’s not only individuals that take advantage of moving to Sydney, but many national and international companies appreciate it too. Between 2007 and 2012, more than 2,000 businesses were added to the city, many of them the headquarters of international banks, offering plenty of jobs for those willing to travel to Sydney for them. Comfortably surviving the worldwide recession, Sydney is Australia’s greatest city economy, generating more than 108 billion AUD per annum. Ultimately, this amounts to more than seven percent of Australia’s total economy.

Throughout the world economic crisis, Sydney’s economy has proven to remain resilient and stable. Although the city has a strong economy, there is always room for improvement; the government of Sydney recently comprised a ten-year economic development strategy to ensure a prosperous future. This development strategy encompasses a new vision for the city to create a more environmentally friendly and sustainable economy. Hence, Australia is slowly loosening its ties with the once booming mining industry in order to place more emphasis on its growing service and technology sectors. 

A Bright Future

Sydney not only attracts business and working expats, but also aspiring scholars. With five universities, many laboratories, and a conservatorium of music, the city attracts a growing number of international students.

Culturally speaking, Sydney also profits from its immigrant and expat population; the presence of so many cultural and ethnic groups makes for an interesting and varied cultural life. This helps to enhance and support a prominent art scene.

Visa Requirements

It is important that you are aware of your visa options and the application process before your move to Sydney. The best way to make sure you apply for the correct visa and meet all requirements is to familiarize yourself with the Australian Government website of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

There are a few requirements that everyone applying for an Australian visa must meet.

  • Non-native speakers of English will be assessed according to standardized testing like the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic), the OET (Occupational English Test), and the Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE).
  • Skills and qualifications must be officially recognized by the relevant Assessing Authority.
  • Depending on your country of origin, intended occupation, and visa category, a health check might be required. Temporary visa applicants also need proof of sufficient healthcare arrangements.
  • Everybody wishing to enter Australia will be assessed against the character requirement and asked to sign the Australian Value Statement. You may need to provide a penal clearance (i.e. a clean criminal record or a certificate of good conduct) before you are granted a visa and are allowed to move to Sydney.

Employee Sponsored Migration

There are several visa categories relevant for expats moving to Sydney in order to work there on a temporary or a permanent basis. Classic expat assignments fall under the category Employer Sponsored Migration.

This includes the Long Stay Business Visa (457), a standard business sponsorship which gives a nominee the right to work in Sydney for a maximum period of four years. People who have this visa are able to leave the country as many times as they like, and are also able to bring immediate family members along as secondary visa holders. For example, holders of this visa are able to bring their spouse (including de facto partners) and dependent children. Expatriates with this visa can also bring along their elders, if they are financially dependent on them. Secondary visa holders are also able to live, work, and study in Sydney until their 457 visa expires.

In order to qualify for this type of visa, the candidates must show evidence that they have the proper skills and experience required to fill the nominated position. 

Continue to the next page of this guide for more information about migration visas and housing in Sydney.



We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Serhat Ahmed

"Without experience of having lived abroad, I thought it would be hard to get to know other expats. But not with InterNations."

Lotta Koskinen

"When I first attended the Sydney Bar night I was really nervous. But everyone welcomed me and I quickly felt as part of the community."

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