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Living in Sydney

So, you have decided to start living in Sydney soon. Don’t rush into things! Life in Sydney is multi-faceted, and there are many things expats should consider. InterNations gives you helpful pointers for your future in Sydney, from education and leisure to transport and healthcare.
Living in Sydney has a lot of advantages for expats.
  • Many expatriates from around the world are drawn to Sydney’s high standards of living.
  • Attending school is mandatory for all children from the age of 6 to 17.
  • Since Sydney is so culturally diverse, there is an abundance of private and public international schools to choose from.
  • You are not eligible for Medicare if you have a temporary visa; all temporary visa applicants and visa holders need a private healthcare plan.
  • Sydney is home to a vibrant live music and theater scene with an abundance of open-air festivals and events.


Expats living in Sydney can consider themselves lucky in many respects: Not only have they chosen one of the ten most livable cities in the world, but their city also ranks 18th in the 2015 Innovation City Top 100 index. The capital of New South Wales offers many perks to anyone living in Sydney: Australia’s biggest and most populous city is a truly exciting and multi-cultural metropolis with the country’s leading economy, surrounded by impressive scenery, both natural, like Bondi Beach, and man-made, like Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The large number of skilled migrants living in Sydney is one of the factors that make it such an attractive place for international business. While the cost of living also exceeds that of any other Australian city, the quality of life in Sydney you get in return makes the experience worthwhile for many expatriates. The high standards of education and healthcare encourage plenty of expats to bring their families to Sydney.


Like in most parts of Australia, children living in Sydney have to attend school between the ages of 6 and 17, but most of them are sent to preschool at the age of 4. A large proportion of Sydney’s students stay in high school until grade twelve; many go on to university or do vocational training. Australian school facilities are held in very high esteem, whether your child wants to pursue an artistic, scientific, or technical career.

The NSW Government enforces a policy to ensure that all children in Sydney are guaranteed a place in their local state school. Thus, while you are free to apply for admission at any school of your choice, your child will only be guaranteed a place at schools within a certain catchment area.

While state schooling is free to permanent residents of Australia, children of temporary residents may be subject to an administration fee. Applications of international students living in Sydney are handled by the NSW Department of Education and Communities rather than the individual schools. Further information, including an online application form, can be found on the DEC International website.

If you are looking for specific information and help with choosing a Sydney state school, please consult the NSW Public Schools website.

Private and International Schools

Due to the high numbers of international migrants and expats living in Sydney, the city is full of private and international schools. While quite a few of them serve predominantly as boarding schools for students from Southeast Asia, there are also bilingual French, German, and Japanese schools in Sydney.

Quite a few schools offer an International Baccalaureate program and classes in English as a Second Language for expat children. They are a good choice for families who attach a particular importance to staying in touch with their native culture and language. If you are looking for a suitable private school in and around Sydney, the Private Schools Directory of Australian non-government schools is a good place to look into.


Continue to the next page to read more about life 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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