Salaries for Expats in Australia

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Australia is one of the world's most desirable expat destinations, and many who decide to relocate there to live and work do so for reasons outside of financial gain. The country's high quality of life, gorgeous natural scenery, multicultural cities and ideal climate mean that many expats are content to subsist in Australia without necessarily saving too much money at the end of every month.
The following guide has been written to help expats draw up a rough monthly expenses budget for Australia – so they can determine their minimum salary requirements before entering into contract negotiations with their prospective Australian employer. 

Visa minimum salary requirements

For starters, expats are advised that there are minimum salary requirements based on Australian market salary rates for those applying for a Temporary Residence (Long-stay Business) Visa. Although the figure varies a bit from area to area and job to job (with IT and Communications professionals needing to earn more), the general minimum requirement is set at a standard rate.

Cost of living and minimum monthly expenses budget for Australia

In terms of individual monthly expenses, please note that while a great deal of research has been undertaken to ensure that the following figures are accurate, they are – of course – highly variable, and can be influenced by a wide range of considerations. An expat's monthly expenses in Australia will chiefly be determined by the city/state one chooses to move to (Sydney and Melbourne are the most expensive), how big or luxurious the accommodation one chooses to rent is, whether one chooses to own a car or to rely on public transport – and perhaps most tellingly, what category of Australian visa one is in possession of (as this will make a large difference to one's tax payments and schooling and healthcare costs).
As a pre-emptory note, perhaps to prepare wanna-be Australian expats for the news which is to follow, it is worth bearing in mind that Australian cities feature quite highly on the world's most expensive cities for expats to live in. 
Elements to consider when drawing up a monthly expenses budget for Australia:
  • Tax: As expats will soon find out, Australia's tax rates are high, and its tax system is confusing. 
  • Rent: Rent is pretty steep in Australia, with five Australian cities featuring in the Top 40 most expensive places for expats to live in terms of household accommodation costs. 
  • Utilities: If renting accommodation in Australia, one's landlord will be responsible for council rates. However, an expat will have to pay their own gas, electric and water bills, which arrive every quarter (three months). 
  • Transport: If choosing to have a car in Australia, it'll cost about AUD 100 a month in compulsory car insurance and petrol. If using public transport, budget for (a minimum) of about AUD 50 a week.
  • Healthcare and medical insurance: All Australian taxpayers contribute about 1.5 percent of their salary to Medicare, Australia's national healthcare plan. However, expats on the working visa are also required to purchase private health insurance to cover themselves while in Australia.
  • Groceries: This will depend on dietary proclivities. Cost of living provides a rough estimate of monthly costs. 
  • Entertainment: Drinking alcohol and eating out are pretty expensive pursuits in Australia. 
  • Schooling: Schooling costs will depend on the type of visa an expat is on the area of Australia in which one intends to live. 

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