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Moving to New York from Australia

The bright lights and towering skyscrapers of the the Big Apple attract people from all around the world, like moths to a flame. The backdrop to countless movies, New York has a special kind of magic. The US city is made up of five boroughs – Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island – each with their own character. This energetic metropolis is home to over 8.4 million people living, working, studying and playing amongst the iconic cityscape.

You could fit almost 90,000 Manhattans into the space of Australia. And yet you could fit over a third of Australia’s entire population into the city of New York! But although it may be one of the most densely populated cities in the world, New York is also home to some of the most beautiful parks in the US, not to mention the picturesque waters that surround the city, giving you plenty of open spaces to relax in.

New Yorkers are a dynamic bunch and the city has unparalleled opportunities for those who move there. A prosperous financial hub, an epicentre of arts and culture, a mecca for foodies – New York has many different hats and it wears them all with style. For Australians who take the plunge, this vibrant and diverse city can be a truly exhilarating new place to call home.

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Economy/Job market

New York is a fast-paced city with a varied employment market. The financial sector is, of course, a key industry thanks to the buzz of the Wall Street banks. Careers in analysis, trading and banking are some of the most lucrative and competitive New York job options. The sector is vulnerable to boom-and-bust but has been recovering well since the financial crisis of 2008. Lawyers and accountants also make a good living out of New York’s thriving financial district.

Healthcare, education, retail and trade are also key industries, with thousands of shops, bars and restaurants in need of workers. Skilled construction workers are in demand as the city’s skyscrapers continue to grow and New York also has a healthy manufacturing sector, especially in the areas of computer and electrical products. &

New Yorkers work hard. The US is not known for it’s fantastic work-life balance in general, but the city that never sleeps takes things to a whole new level. Employees are often expected to work long hours and be available at all times. There is little in the way of paid parental leave and no national minimum holiday allowance – that’s left up to employers to decide. The average number of paid vacation days after one year of service is 10 days per year and this usually increases the longer you are with the company. There are also 8 public holidays per year, which may be paid or unpaid.

House Prices and Renting

Housing in New York is in high demand and as a result can be among the world’s most expensive. It is thought that the real estate market is currently cooling, which means prices have stopped rising - &but they’re still high! Prices vary massively according to location. If you want to live in Manhattan, you need to be prepared to pay a premium. More affordable boroughs include the Bronx, southern Brooklyn and Queens - &all of which are connected to Manhattan via an efficient public transportation system.

House prices in Manhattan made the news in 2016 when they averaged over A$2.5 million, around double the average of Australia’s most expensive city, Sydney. Average rental prices are roughly comparable per square metre with Sydney, although New York apartments tend to be bigger and so more expensive in total. &The average rent in Manhattan is around A$4,400 per month, falling to around A$1,300 in the South Bronx.

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Education

The American education system has a lot in common with Australia in terms of their approach to teaching and learning. American schools are organised slightly differently, dividing up into elementary, middle and high schools. Many New York schools are publicly funded, although you will also find some of the country’s most prestigious fee-paying institutions here. Schools vary according to district and it is possible to apply for a place at a school in a different district to where you reside. Places are allocated according to your ranked school preferences, spaces available and admissions priorities.

New York is one of the most popular higher education destinations in the world, with no fewer than 11 world-class universities to choose from. The top-ranking New York colleges are:

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Culture/Things to do

From world-famous galleries to iconic landmarks, New York is crammed with things to see and do.

Art lovers can spend countless happy days exploring the city’s galleries. You can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art or the Guggenheim - &and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Take the family to the Hayden Planetarium, the Bronx Zoo or the Museum of Natural History for a fun New York day out.

The city’s spectacular landmarks are among the top attractions, whether you fancy scaling the heights of the Empire State Building, admiring the Art Deco beauty of the Chrysler Building, strolling along the Brooklyn Bridge or taking a ferry ride to see Lady Liberty herself. Avid readers should head to the impressive New York Public Library, while a visit to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum is a powerful and moving experience. And when Christmas comes, don’t miss a magical afternoon of ice skating at the Rockefeller Centre – just like in the movies!

If you love to get outside, New York has over a hundred breath-taking public parks. The enormous Central Park in Manhattan tops the bill, but Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens are also beautiful.

Food and Drink

New York is renowned for its exciting food scene, celebrating cuisines from all around the world. A city built by immigrant communities, New York’s varied heritage is reflected in the wide array of foods you can sample. Highlights include smoked salmon bagels brought by the Jewish community, epic hot dogs brought by German immigrants, vast cheesy pizza slices from the Neapolitans and sticky, spicy General Tso’s Chinese fried chicken. And of course, you can’t miss out on a taste of sweet, creamy New York cheesecake.

New York has a dizzying array of diners and restaurants, including a new wave of vegetarian- friendly eateries. Try Bunna café for vegan Ethiopian food or Mimi’s Hummus for - you guessed it - &the best hummus (and vegetarian accompaniments) in town. Whether you want to slurp Ramen noodles, splash out on Michelin-starred fine dining or enjoy a leisurely brunch like only the Americans can, you could eat out in New York for the rest of your life and still have endless exciting places left to try.

Nightlife

New York nightlife is legendary. From the hottest clubs to the coolest rooftop bars, the city is packed with entertainment options. Sample the dangerously strong tipples of Manhattan’s stylish Soho cocktail bars, dive into the Brooklyn’s underground music scene or hit the dancefloor at the iconic four-storey superclub, Pacha NYC. Greenwich Village is credited with being the birthplace of gay pride, while buzzing Hell’s Kitchen is New York’s up-and-coming LGBT hotspot.

If your idea of a fun evening is a little more laid-back, you’ll find world-class menu of cultural offerings. Catch a musical on Broadway, immerse yourself in drama in the city’s Theatre District, or treat yourself to a night of live show at Radio City Music Hall.

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Becoming a Citizen of the USA

America has notoriously strict immigration laws. All Australian citizens will need to apply for a visa for stays over 90 days. If you plan to study or work you will need to be granted to the relevant study or work visa.

If you take to life in the Big Apple, you may be able to apply for a Green Card. This will give you permission to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. You will often need to be sponsored by an employer or a family member.

Learn more on how to become a US citizen here.