I’ve received a few messages and queries about how my husband and I immigrated from South Africa to Australia, the process and the cost of living in Sydney. The truth is, there is no simple answer. Everyone will have a different life situation, a different case and a different result. I did, however, decide to write this post about our personal experience and the process that we followed, as well as our average living expenses in Sydney.
*I do have to reiterate that this is based solely on our personal experience and can differ greatly depending on your life situation.
The decision to immigrate
My husband and I both had global career and lifestyle ambitions. As I have British Citizenship, we had originally contemplated moving to London, however; we very quickly changed our minds after researching the weather and climate conditions! We knew that we wanted something very similar to South Africa in terms of weather, culture and environment but most importantly – a better quality of life.
We first became interested in Australia in 2015 after I attended a presentation in Durban by IMMagine Australia. My husband (boyfriend, at that stage) was finishing his degree and we were only just starting out on our journey together. After we got engaged in January 2016, we decided that we were ready to move forward with the immigration process. It was a difficult decision as we had just purchased our first home in beautiful Ballito, had fantastic jobs and had many friends and family that we were very close to, both in heart and in proximity.
Unfortunately, we knew that despite the material things that we held and the special relationships we had with those around us, we could not foresee a future for our next generations. More importantly, we had a desire to explore, to travel and to experience a new way of life, surrounded by new cultures. Ultimately, we both desired a positive change.
The immigration process
In summary, the process took us 10 months from the final decision to immigrate and the visa grant. Nine and a half of those months were dedicated to getting our documents and tests together for the application. In a record setting time, our grant only took 2 weeks from application (it’s very rare for it to be this quick but we made sure that we were 100% complete on everything that we required before we submitted.)
In a quick Q&A, here are some of the details to get you started…
Q. Where do I start?
A. Start by referring to the visa options on the Australian Government website.
Q. What visa did we come over with?
A. We got granted the Independent Skilled Visa Class 189 for permanent residency.
Q. How many points did we need?
A. We needed 60 points, with my husband being the main applicant. This is dependent on your qualifications/ career path.
Q. What documents did we need and what process did we follow?
A. Refer to this link showing 100 steps for immigration (yes, it’s literally that many steps!)
Q. Had we ever been to Australia and if not, how did we know that we would like it?
A. No, we had not ever been to Australia. We watched countless YouTube videos, searched through Google & Instagram. We loved what we saw and it seemed to meet our needs and expectations.
Q. How much did it cost us?
A. It depends on the exchange rate and what you consider in the costs but all-in-all from the decision to leave to arriving in Australia, it cost us R110 000 (+/- $11 000 AUD).
Q. What shipping company did we use & how much did it cost?
A. We used Seven Seas Worldwide and we were very happy with their service. We only had 20 small/med boxes and it cost us R16 000 ($1600 AUD) including immigration taxes/ duties.
The cost of living in Sydney
Before I jump into the costs, let me just remind you that you will more than likely be earning a higher salary in Australia vs South Africa. Also, you are paying for a better quality of life – clean streets, safe, beautiful, neat and a sense of freedom. They say a picture says a thousand words so here are a few photos from our past year in Sydney.
Our average monthly living costs:
- Just under $6000 a month with the largest portion ($2500) going towards rent.
- The next highest cost is for groceries ($900). We purchase bulk from Costco. I find Aldi to be the cheapest and Coles to be the most pricey (excluding promotions and special offers).
* Bare in mind that most things are paid weekly here, so I have just averaged it out to get the monthly cost
* Depending on what you classify as ‘comfortable living’, your expenses can be a lot less or a lot more
If you have any more questions, comment below or message me!
I hope that this has been helpful.