Australia is a massive country which brings in a whole range of different climates, landscapes and opportunities. However, there is no doubt that over the last 20 years or so there has been significant interest in people moving to Australia and while the number of expats applying to the country continues to grow there is in fact a marked slowdown in the growth of the Australian economy. This is an economy and a country which has benefited enormously from an ever-growing population although this situation seems to be slowing down in the short term.

We have been investigating the top five regions in Australia where expats are moving to as a means of giving you an idea of where you should be looking if you are considering a move to Australia.

Sydney

The city of Sydney is by far and away the largest in New South Wales with a population of over 4.5 million people and the honour of perhaps being Australia's best-known city. Many people will be surprised to learn that the top five cities in Australia are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide despite the fact that Canberra is in fact the capital of the country. So what exactly does Sydney have to offer and why are so many expats moving to the region?

The area itself is situated on the south-east coast of Australia and as we will see from other cities across Australia it is the location on the coast which has in many ways assisted the growth in the local population. It is interesting to note that Sydney is actually the largest English-speaking city in the world after London and New York City, something which is a reflection of the British colonial bygone years. The area is renowned for beautiful architecture, the Sydney Opera House, the arts, fashion and culture, however there is so much more to the region.

There is no doubt that Sydney has cemented its position as the financial and economic centre of Australia with a significant swing in the employment market from a manufacturing base to services and information sectors. Areas such as property, business services, retail, health and community services as well as manufacturing are still prominent in the local economy and it is interesting to see that the Australian Stock Exchange and the Reserve Bank of Australia are situated in Sydney. In total there are 90 major corporation headquarters in the region as well as a vibrant commercial and social scene. The population of Sydney has more than doubled since 1962 and this is one of the cities within Australia which has benefited significantly from immigration.

I got a job offer in Sydney my office will be in North Sydney on Pacific Highway.

Melbourne

Melbourne is the capital city of Victoria and has a population which has now topped 4 million for the first time and many expect this to grow significantly in the medium to longer term. It is the second-largest city in Australia, behind Sydney, and is also very well-known for a variety of different reasons. Again, this is a city which is situated towards the south-east coast of Australia and again it has benefited from this very prominent and important location.

The city and the area of Melbourne have a history which goes back to 1835 having been declared a city in 1847 by Queen Victoria. Indeed if you go back as far as 1901, Melbourne was the location for the Australian government which left the region in 1927. The economy of Melbourne is now built up around arts, commerce, education, entertainment, sport and tourism. Indeed, the education sector has brought in significant income and significant talent to the region which has benefited Australia as a whole. Unlike some of Australia's other large cities and conurbations Melbourne is perhaps more diversified than the others because as well as being home to 6 of the country's largest companies by capitalisation it also contains the largest and busiest seaport in Australia, handling more than $75 billion of trade each and every year. As financial markets continue to grow and become more and more prominent in local and national economies, there is no doubt that Melbourne is well-positioned to benefit from this expanding area of the worldwide economy. The area is also very prominent in the automotive industry, biotechnology industry and as we suggested above, tourism is also playing a larger role going forward.

The climate in and around Melbourne tends to peak in the period between November and March with average temperatures approaching 26°C. However, highs of 46°C have been reported in January in recent years. There is no doubt that a mixture of tourism, climate, landscape and business opportunities continue to attract more and more people to the Melbourne region, thereby improving the mix of the skilled workforce and the number of expats and overseas companies looking to break into the region.

I have been living in Adelaide for over 10 years...i used to hate this place, but now seem to get used to the laid back of it, it's quiet, peaceful....good environment, etc... I am working in IT field, but lately got lots of calls from head hunters not just in Adelaide but also Melbourne, and i am in the position of deciding whether to move to another company and stay in Adelaide or move to Melbourne .

Brisbane

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and while it is the third-largest city in Australia, with a population of around 2 million people, it is not in the same league as Sydney and Melbourne which have more than double the population of Brisbane living in and around their city centres. However, that is not to say that Brisbane does not attract more than its fair share of expats because figures suggest there is increasing interest in the region.

Like so many of Australia's more "successful" cities, Brisbane is situated on the east coast of the country which is vital for the trade routes and the import and export of goods. The history of Brisbane goes back to the 1800s and indeed the city itself is named after the Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane who was the Gov of New South Wales between 1821 and 1825. Even though Brisbane is only the third-largest city in Australia it does have a relatively large economy with particular growth in information technology, financial services, public sector administration as well as petroleum refining, paper milling, metalwork and railway workshops. It is this mix of different business sectors which has allowed the economy of Brisbane to grow significantly in the short, medium and longer term and which many believe places the area in a strong position going forward.

While many of Australia's larger companies will have significant exposure to the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, numerous international companies have maintained and continue to grow their presence in Brisbane. It is the inward investment by the local authorities and the ability to look forward with regards to business and the economy which has benefited the region significantly. As we saw with Melbourne and Sydney, the location on the Australian coast has also encouraged the import and export of goods and the Port of Brisbane is the third-largest in the country.

With regards to the climate in and around Brisbane the temperatures tend to peak between November and March at upwards of 30°C on average, although temperatures of over 40°C have been recorded in recent times. These are the kind of temperatures which can attract the attention of tourists and expats although some people may find them difficult to cope with going forward.

I am from Louisiana, USA and was wondering if their are many US citizens living in Brisbane , and also is this a good city to live in, will be working in office in Fortitude Valley area. also how much would I need to Budget for utilities ,internet and cable tv.

Perth

The territory of Western Australia is dominated by the capital Perth which has a population of around 1.7 million people. It is the fourth largest area in Australia behind Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane although it has shown significant growth in both economic strength and population over the last few years.

However unlike the three largest cities in Australia, Perth is situated on the south west coast of the country which has perhaps been a major element in the growth in the region. Indeed, the city was listed in the Economist 2010 list of the "world's most liveable cities" at joint eighth which is a definite feather in the cap of the city. Like so many cities around Australia it has a history goes back hundreds of years and there is a very close association with British colonialism.

It is interesting to see that growth in the Perth population and the Perth economy has been above average in recent years which is partly because the city is the administrative centre for business and government in the state. However, if you look further into the history of Perth and the region as a whole you will see that the local economy has been constantly shifting from a manufacturing base to a service led industry since the 1950s. There is still a significant presence with regards to the agricultural industry but this is consistently been eroded as the services sector continues to grow.

In direct comparison with the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Perth is somewhat geographically isolated and has in many ways been forced to build up its own internal markets and local economy. While there has been and continues to be a large influence from the heavy industry sector of the economy, with such activities as oil refinery, steel mills, blast furnace, power stations and nickel refinery, there is no doubt that the services sector is now leading the way.

Interestingly, growth in the education sector has been very marked over the last few years with the University of Western Australia, Curtin University, Murdoch University and the Edith Cowan University all located in Western Australia. There is also the privately owned and privately operated University of Notre Dame which has helped to create a very strong and very attractive educational sector. The number of overseas students looking to move to Australia has been growing significantly over the last decade as the authorities look to attract a skilled workforce for the future. There is no doubt that this investment has been very successful indeed!

What does Perth have which is more attractive than Melbourne?

Adelaide

Adelaide is situated in South Australia and is the capital of the state with a population of 1.2 million which most definitely puts it in the second tier, behind Sydney and Melbourne, of Australia's larger cities and suburbs. Situated on the south coast of Australia, Adelaide recently ranked very highly in the Economist top 10 list of the world's most liveable cities index. As we mentioned above, Adelaide is not the only Australian city to rank in this particular index which perfectly illustrates the growing attractions of the lifestyle in Australia.

A review of Australia's larger cities and larger suburbs certainly brings to light the very different make-up of the employment markets in each of these regions. The employment market in Adelaide is dominated by the healthcare and social assistance sectors which employ the lion’s share of people in the region. This has obviously attracted the attention of the various medical companies and healthcare companies around the world which have been drawn to the Adelaide region like a magnet.

However, there is much more to the Adelaide economy than just healthcare and social assistance with manufacturing, defence technology, exporting and corresponding service industries all very visible and very prominent. The area is also home to more than 40% of Australia's high-tech electronics industry which is certainly an area of business which is highly likely to show more growth in the short, medium and longer term. This has allowed the local authorities to position the Adelaide economy for the future, with many expecting significant growth in both the economy and the population in the medium to longer term.

The temperature in and around Adelaide tends to peak between November and March hitting an average high of around 29.2°C in January. Again, this is the kind of climate which continues to attract the attention of tourists and expats around the world although for some people it may take some getting used to!

I am looking to move to Adelaide and was wondering whether anyone could give me advice on good areas to look at living in ie good schools, am looking at public schools initially, does anyone know where are the good public schools? (have been told you need to live in the catchment areas to allow acceptance to schools).

Conclusion

While the individual make-up of the various economies in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide are very different, it is very noticeable that they are all situated on the coast of Australia. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide are "relatively close" while Perth, seen by many as geographically isolated, would appear to have grabbed the lion’s share of economic activity on the West Coast.

Over the last 20 years or so there has been significant growth in the Australian economy and the number of expats and skilled workers looking to the country has also increased. However, over the last couple of years we have seen a slight slowdown in the growth of the Australian population which may well be a sign that the authorities are cutting back on immigration numbers. This may be bad news for those looking to move to Australia in the short term but there is no doubt that large gaps in the skilled workforce still need to be filled which should see growth in expat numbers grow again in due course.