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A tale of two cities

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New Indian migrants ask which city to call home – Sydney or Melbourne?

Over the past few months at Indian Link we have received a number of queries from new migrants who have either just arrived in Australia or have received their residency confirmation in India about this new chapter in their lives.
Sydney or Melbourne.Indian Link
Being referred to Indian Link, either online or through word of mouth, has given them a contact point to ask questions about settling Down Under.
One of the first questions many ask is, which is the best city to settle in? An important consideration is their financial management, but also the lifestyle they can enjoy.
Sydney or Melbourne.Indian Link
This is especially relevant to those who have limited family connections or social networks in Australia. Though a couple of people making enquiries have confided that while they do have distant family members here in Australia, they want to have some space from them!
Since the student unrest of 2009-2010, the face of Indian migration to Australia has steadily changed. Prior to that time, most new settlers were students who moved into permanent residency. Now the new settlers seem to be professionally and tertiary qualified young Indians.

For those not locked into any restrictions of regional migration, the choice often comes down to two cities – Sydney or Melbourne. This is not for any other reason than these two cities have positioned themselves well in the mind of Indians in India.

The Gold Coast, Brisbane and Cairns are often on top of the list for holidaying Indians but not for permanent relocation, while Adelaide, Perth and Hobart still have to market themselves better.
We have borne witness to the fact that both these cities are dynamic hubs for the local Indian community. Over the past 15 years, the community has grown strongly. There is a huge range of Indian restaurants (including regional cuisines); spice shops have sprung up all over the various suburbs; almost every weekend there are community activities, including options for youngsters to learn more about their culture through language and dance classes; and various senior forums have emerged to allow social interaction for the older members of our community.
Sydney or Melbourne.Indian Link
Where Melbourne has an edge over Sydney is that the cost of living is lower. This is especially the case when you factor in the cost of accommodation, either renting or home ownership with a mortgage. For about $600,000 you can get a decent four-bedroom house within 30 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.
For the same price, you would be lucky to get a decent two-bedroom unit in Sydney within one hour’s drive of the city. If accommodation soaks up a large part of your disposable income, it does reduce funds for other leisure activities.
Sydney or Melbourne.Indian Link
It’s like making a choice between Mumbai and Delhi or New York and LA.  Melbourne boasts of its café culture; Sydney of its beautiful beaches. Melbourne is classy; Sydney is laid-back. Melbourne is cooler (as in its original weather connotation); Sydney is sunnier. Melbourne has better shopping and is a tad more multicultural; Sydney is better for enjoying the outdoors.
Both feature on lists of the ‘World’s Most Liveable Cities’ (okay, so Melbourne is often higher). But in the end it will come down to what you want for you and your family, eager new Indian migrant.

Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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