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China or Australia: Where Should You Migrate?

13 July, 2016

Going back a century or two ago, China was the one sending its migrants abroad. The Chinese citizens, most of them laborers and the unemployed, traveled as far as the United Kingdom, United States, or even Australia, looking for new jobs and a new life. Fast forward to the current times, people are now going to China for opportunities. The last three decades of accelerated economic growth placed the country in the global spot of immigration, characterized by the increasing number of foreigners and expats there.

Today we compare the Red Dragon with the Land Down Under.








China’s economy is the second largest in the world (beyond the United States), the largest in terms of purchasing power parity, and fastest-growing one. Its major industries include mining and ore processing, iron, steel, aluminum, petroleum, cement, chemicals, transportation equipment, heavy engineering, commercial space launch vehicles, among many others. Current unemployment rate is at 4.05% with an inflation rate of 1.4%.

However, this robust economy does not automatically translate to well-regarded working conditions. Chinese law mandated a 40-hour weekly working period, but this is not widely practiced. Working overtime is very ordinary and most employers never compensated their workers for it. Each year, employees are entitles to three holiday offs only, each one lasting for a week. Even by then, they are mandated to make up on these offs by working through the previous weekend.



One of the largest mixed market economies in the world, Australia’s economy is primarily driven by its service sector, comprising 68% of its GDP. Other sectors (and biggest employers) include mining, manufacturing, agriculture, finance, tourism, media, education, and logistics. It is the 12th largest in the world in terms of GDP. Unemployment here is higher by a small margin at 5.8% with an inflation rate of 1.3%

At 1,664 working hours annually (or 32 hours a week), it is lower than in China, and way lower than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 1,770. However, this cannot be strictly applied to professions with special working conditions.




Health Care



The Ministry of Health of the State Council manages the health services system. Close to all the major medical facilities are managed by the government. The country spends 5.4% of its gross domestic product on healthcare expenditures, a number still much lower as compared to OECD countries. Because of its expansive size, conditions of care, access to facilities, and related costs differ vastly across locations and institutions. Cities might have quick access to hospitals and clinics, but rural will have to travel hours to obtain medical services.

Private healthcare is mostly well-represented only in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou and other large cities. They offer English-speaking staff with Western training, though the price will be double of those in public hospitals.



Medicare, the Australian government’s universal public health insurance scheme, provides residents free treatment as a public patient in a public hospital and free or subsidized treatment for optometrist, dental care, and psychology services as well as treatment by doctors.

The extent to which the health care system is used is adjustable among Australian citizens, overseas visitors, and temporary and permanent visa holders.  Their needs, entitlements, and expectations are influenced by many components such as the nature and degree of their health status, age, gender, location, and cultural background.

Check here how the Australian Public Health Care System Works.







Chinese cuisine can be dated back to thousands of years of history, constantly changing from period to period. It is primarily divided into different categories, known as "Eight Culinary Cuisines," they are  Anhui, Cantonese, Fujian, Hunan, Jiangsu, Shandong, Sichuan, and Zhejiang cuisines. Chinese food staples include rice, noodles, vegetables, and sauces and seasonings.

When dining out, wait for the host to start eating before doing so. Also, it is expected that you say "youyi," meaning “here’s to friendship” before eating or drinking anything. Likewise, you should thanks the host after the dinner. Never refill you own glass. This goes the same with your neighbors. Only use the chopstick and never your fingers. Otherwise, ask for Western utensils. Tipping here is considered illegal, so do not leave any loose change on the table.



Australian cuisine is a fusion of native aboriginal inventiveness and British colonial contribution, with mix of Asian and Mediterranean traditions provided by wave after wave of post-colonial migrations and helped transform their cuisine. They usually take advantage of meat available in the continent, such as lamb, kangaroo, and emu, as well as pork, beef, and chickens.

Business discussions over a non-business dinner is not encouraged here. And heading straight to business talk on a lunch/dinner meeting is frowned upon.

When going for an exclusive restaurant, you are expected to make reservations first and confirm. In informal restaurants, you might be expected to share a table. Be open to conversations when invited. Australians are not known to decline a friendly chat.







Since the late 1970s, the Chinese government has been pushing through the commercialization of housing in urban areas. This led into the property business expanding in the country. Apartments are getting built at fast-paced rate, resulting into soaring prices. This largely outgrew the number of people who can afford them. Currently, there 89 million houses, apartment complexes, and shopping malls currently unoccupied for years now.

Experts say that China is now undergoing a housing bubble, and is nearing collapse. This will result in a pin fall of housing values, putting homeowners underwater. The bubble is supposed to burst in 2011, but kept afloat these days due to China’s strong economic condition.



Owning a house is also not very common in Australia. Around 33% of residents here lives in a fully owned properties, 31.4% rents their home, while 35%of homes are mortgaged.

Suburban fringes of cities and towns sports the inner-city medium to high-rise apartments and the low-density townhouses/fully detached houses, while Melbourne and Sydney cradles the inner-city public housing is generally found in They are usually 3-5 story walk-up flats and 11-22 story high-rise towers. Low-density suburban estates is located in almost every city and town in the country.

Expectedly, rents are cheaper in rural than urban areas. It’s also lower the further a property is from a large city or town, public transport or other facilities. The average rents are highest in Sydney, Melbourne and Darwin.




Public and Private Transport



Due to its vast size, rail is the primary mode of transport in China, since it is accessible to everybody and can cover large distances.  The country has over 600,000 freight cars and 50,000 coaches in its disposal. Also, the metro, subway, and rapid systems are undergoing rapid construction. There are currently 40 subway systems and 15 rapids transit systems across the country and more are coming along the way. At twelve lines, 233 stations, and 420 km (261 mi) of track in operation, the Shanghai Metro is by far the longest metro system in the world. Buses also operate in the country on a provincial level while shuttle and trolley buses like this link smaller towns. Taxis can be found in almost every city. Tipping is not a custom.

A one way train ticket here costs US$0.30, while a monthly pass is at around US$22.43. Starting taxi tariff is US$1.50 with US$0.34 for the first one kilometer. A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car) will set you back US$22,428.90. Gasoline is at US$0.98 for every litter.



All of Australian cities have reliable, affordable public bus networks and train lines, plus taxis operate nationwide. These train lines include commuter rail networks, trams, light rails, and rapid transits. Despite this, driving is the most used mode of transport, and this number continues to rise. It is followed by train, walking (the country has a very good culture of walking), bus, and lastly, train.

A one-way ticket here sets you back by US$2.96 while going for a monthly pass will increase it to US$96.96. A kilometer ride of taxi is US$1.62 with US$2.98 as starting tariff. If you want your own car, A Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (or any equivalent new car) will cost you US$18,644.84 plus US$0.96 for every litter of gasoline.

If you want to find out how commuting etiquette here works, check here.




Weather and Climate



Because of its massive size, the climate in China differs from region to region. The winters in North China are quite unrelenting since temperatures drop as an impact of the cold and dry northerly winds. In Beijing, the weather is cold and sometimes snowy, but also dry and sunny. While in South China, the weather here remains humid from April through September due to the typhoons that usually affect the coastal regions. The summers in Central China are very warm and very humid. The winter months are also very cold, with freezing temperatures.



Just Like China, Australia goes through differing climates as well. This fact is characterized by the severely hot climate in the Kimberley region in the north-west of the continent to below zero in the Snowy Mountains in the south. Also due to its size, there just can’t be one seasonal calendar for the whole continent.

Depending upon where in the continent you are each month, the seasons will vary, whether the weather is defined by the Temperate zone seasons or the tropical seasons. To find out more what is the climate and weather patterns in each of the states in the country, check our blog here.



Benefits of Citizenship



Article 7 of the Nationality Law of the PRC states that foreigners can apply to become Chinese citizens if they:

  1. Have Chinese national close relatives
  2. Have settled in a part of China.
  3. Have other legitimate reasons for citizenship.

Chinese citizens who are employed in PRC are entitled to the following

  • Social welfare benefits
  • Medical benefits
  • Housing benefits
  • Pension
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Insurance



Advantages of Australian Citizenship include:

  • Being able to work for the federal government
  • Children will be Australian citizens
  • The right to vote
  • Being able to run for public office
  • Avoid deportation
  • Entitlement for Australian passport
  • Access to consular help
  • Eligibility for the deferral of education fees
  • Full residence rights in New Zealand
  • Being able to adopt
  • Being able to represent Australia in international sporting events

For a more detailed information about these benefits, check our blog here.





The Takeaway


China and Australia are two of the biggest nations out there, in terms of landmass and economy. Both are also prime destinations for expats looking for better opportunities. And that’s where the similarities end.

Culturally, China is a powerhouse, especially if you’re from a Western country looking for a more Oriental life. Also, it’s easier to travel to other Asian countries since they are closer. Not to mention, there will be a lot of opportunities especially if you work for the I.T. Industry and/or project management, since the Chinese highly regard those with western training. Though you might have to deal with the severe traffic that is gripping the major cities these days, especially the more congested ones. And most television channels and Internet sites are blocked in China, since the government heavily censors them. Not to mention, there’s the language barrier.

Australia, on the other hand, is as Western as it gets because of the UK and US influences, so there is much freedom in the media, and English is the main language here. Expats are also treated very well since most of its history and economy is built by immigrants. There isn’t much traffic since the cities are not as congested as in China. Though, compared to China, the cost of living here is higher. Private schooling can be expensive, and getting between states can be take a while if you are not flying because of its size.





Interested with Australia but don’t have a migration professional yet? Throw us a message in the enquiry section below or call us at 1300 619 977 and we will help you get here!

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