“It really is the most liveable city in the world,” said expat Sarah Eke, an advertising manager who moved to Melbourne from Essex, England. “I like the cultural diversity of the city and how different the different suburbs are, so you go from one side of the city to the other and you can feel like you are in a completely different place.”
But you don’t get the European flair of this city without some European weather too. Melbourne’s climate inspired the Crowded House song Four Seasons in One Day because the weather is amongst the most unpredictable in the country. You will need to pack a coat for most of the year – and while there are beaches, they are only for the hardy until the middle of summer.
Getting a job
The state of Victoria has an unemployment rate of 6.2%, according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Commentary — just above the national average of 6.1%.
White-collar jobs make up the bulk of Melbourne’s occupations, with professionals accounting for almost a quarter of those employed. Managers, sales workers and clerical staff make up a further 38% of the workforce.
Sponsorship for foreign workers is relatively straightforward with an extensive list of eligible professions found at the Department of Immigration. Some of the most in-demand areas include marketing specialists, business analysts, actuaries, teachers, human resource specialists and doctors, nurses and engineers. Most positions don’t require labour market testing, but certain professions may be subject to a skills test.
Visa applicants will need to prove relevant professional skills, English language skills and meet health and character criteria. As well, they need to prove guaranteed earnings of at least A$53,900 ($38,350).
The visa application fee is A$1,060 ($755) per adult. In some instances a further fee of A$700 ($500) may be payable if the applicant is applying from within Australia and they already hold a temporary visa which they obtained while in Australia.
Finding a home
The city and its fringes have a thriving laneway culture and major stadiums, hospitals and universities all quite close to the centre of the city, what Australians call the Central Business District or CBD, putting inner-city housing prices at a premium.
Compared to Sydney, however, Melbourne still has affordable housing options. “You hear people saying you can’t buy a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney under A$600,000 ($426,900), well you can still buy a very good one-bedroom apartment in Melbourne in the early to mid-A$400,000 ($284,600) range, in a good building,” said Scott McElroy, director of Melbourne property specialists Hocking Stuart. “As for the rental market, it will cost A$700 to A$900 ($500-$640) a week for decent rental property for a family of four.”