Top Five Destinations for Aussie Expats

As inhabitants of an island nation, Aussies love to travel for work & leisure. Keep reading for more info on the top five destinations for Australian expats!

As a vast island nation that’s similar in size to continental Europe and the United States, Australia offers a variety of climates and landscapes few other nations can match. With our cities regularly ranking towards the top of global “most liveable” lists, not to mention our enviable income levels, world beating health outcomes and abundance of sunshine – Australia is arguably one of the best places to call home on this planet. However, with a comparatively small population of 25 million, living down under does have its disadvantages – namely our long distances from most other places (New Zealand and Indonesia aside), our small domestic market and the feeling that life here is simply too orderly and predictable, lacking in the buzz and excitement of global centres such as London, New York City or Shanghai.

For these reasons it’s no surprise Aussies love to travel overseas, with many deciding to move abroad for longer periods of time to pursue exciting career opportunities. Whilst specific figures are difficult to come across, Advance Australia estimates approximately 8 million Aussies travel overseas per annum, whilst the number of Australians expats living abroad on a permanent basis is placed around the one million mark. Using information from the Department of Home Affairs, ApplyDirect have put together a list of the top 5 overseas destinations luring Aussie expats for a new way of life.

  • #1: United Kingdom

Share of Aussie Expats: 160,000 (16%)

Population: 65,648,000 (June 2017)

Median Income: £22,400 (AUD $40,000) (2017)

Distance Sydney to London: 22 hours, 40 mins (16,989 KM)

Popular Destinations: London, Manchester, Edinburgh 

Unsurprisingly the United Kingdom remains the most popular destination for Australian expats by quite a wide margin. Connected by a common culture forged through history and membership of the Commonwealth, not to mention a shared love of beer and general jovial banter, Aussies have been making their way to the so called “mother country” for decades – in search of career opportunities or as a base for their European adventures. At the same time, Brits have been flocking to our shores in return, seeking sun, surf and a more relaxed pace of life. The UK capital London in particular, remains a magnet – not just for Aussies but for people from all around the world. 

  • #2: United States

Share of Aussie Expats: 93,000 (9.3%) (2013)

Population: 327,480,000 (April 2018)

Median Income: USD $31,099 (AUD $40,348) (2016)

Distance Sydney to NYC: 21 hours, 55 mins (15,979 KM)

Popular Destinations: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco 

For many Australian expats, the US remains the “land of opportunity”, with this vast nation pulling in budding tech entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, wannabe movie or music stars to the bright lights of Los Angeles and corporate ladder climbers to the boardrooms and cavernous streets of New York City. Like the United Kingdom, Australia and the US benefit from a similar culture, similar values and a strong government to government relationship forged through common history. However a lack of public healthcare, concerns around gun crime and a much faster pace of life are noticeable differences. 

  • #3: Hong Kong

Share of Aussie Expats: 80,000 (8.0%) (2012)

Population: 7,409,800 (December 2017)

Median Income: HKD $180,000 (AUD $29,000) (2017)

Distance Sydney to Auckland: 9 hours, 20 mins (7,381 KM)

Popular Destinations: Hong Kong

At the southern edge of China’s massive, developing market, with a spectacular setting amongst towering limestone mountains lies Hong Kong, a buzzing city state of some 7.4 million people and the third most popular destination for Australian expats. With ultra low taxes (like Singapore) and a strong corporate sector, Hong Kong offers great opportunities for career progression and attractive expat packages to boot. However, like Singapore it is a pretty expensive place to live, with rental accommodation very small and crowded, whilst the working culture is definitely focused on long hours and a cut throat competitive ethos. 

  • #4: New Zealand

Share of Aussie Expats: 70,000 (7.0%) (2013)

Population: 4,870,000 (April 2018)

Median Income: NZD $48,000 (AUD $45,391) (2016)

Distance Sydney to Auckland: 3 hours (2,155 KM)

Popular Destinations: Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown

A short hop across “the ditch” is the dual island nation of New Zealand, the country that is arguably the most similar to Australia and certainly the closest. Possessing breathtaking scenery, a strong Pacific Island culture, an outdoors-focused lifestyle and a much more relaxed pace of life compared to Australia’s big urban centres (New Zealand’s population is the same as Melbourne), the land of the Kiwi’s offers an easy change for Aussie expats seeking a slightly different way of life without having to literally move to the other side of the world. There are downsides however, namely New Zealand’s higher cost of living and lower median wages – driven largely by its small population and isolation. 

  • #5: Singapore

Share of Aussie Expats: 20,000 (2.0%) (2012)

Population: 5,610,000 (April 2018)

Median Income: SGD $50,784 (AUD $50,223) (2017)

Distance Sydney to Singapore: 8 hours, 15 mins (6,302 KM)

Popular Destinations: Singapore City

Renowned around the world for its highly efficient government, ultra low taxes, safe streets, cleanliness and long working hours is Singapore – the fifth most popular destination for Australian expats. These obvious virtues aside, Singapore also enjoys an enviable location in the heart of fast growing South East Asia – making it to Asia what London is to Europe, a popular base for those wishing to explore the region and a melting pot of exotic cultures. Expats in Singapore also enjoy high incomes, delicious street food and a balmy, year round subtropical climate. The downsides of course are its high cost of living (the highest in the world) and a fast paced, high pressure working culture that can easily lead to burnout.

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