The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory of Australia containing the Australian capital city of Canberra and some surrounding townships. It is in the south-east of the country and is an enclave within the state of New South Wales.

The Australian Capital Territory is home to many important institutions of the federal government, national monuments and museums. This includes the Parliament of Australia, the High Court of Australia, the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Australian War Memorial. It also hosts the majority of foreign embassies in Australia as well as regional headquarters of many international organisations, not-for-profit groups, lobbying groups and professional associations. Several major universities also have campuses in the ACT including the Australian National University, the University of Canberra, the University of New South Wales, Charles Sturt University and the Australian Catholic University.


Canberra is the capital city of Australia. It is Australia’s largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. Canberra is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory.

The city is known for its easy access to clean and green open spaces, easy lifestyle and vibrant entertainment and food scenes. Canberrans enjoy a high quality of life, with the beach, ski fields and Sydney within an easy drive.


The current metro area population of Canberra in 2020 is 457,000, a 1.11% increase from 2019.


Canberra has an oceanic climate. In January, the warmest month, the average high is approximately 28 °C (82 °F); however, in July, the coldest month, the average high drops to approximately 11 °C (52 °F).

Frost is common in the winter months. Snow is rare in the CBD (central business district), but the surrounding areas get annual snowfall through winter and often the snow-capped mountains can be seen from the CBD.
Canberra is being impacted by global warming indicated by a long-running tendency for temperatures to increase.

Education and living costs

Canberra is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. Much more than just Australia’s capital, this city welcomes students, businesses, professionals, and families.
It is Canberra’s contrasts that make it such a great place to call home. While the city is known as the seat of government, it is far from a formal city. Canberra has an easy lifestyle and strong community vibe. And it is a beautiful place to explore.

Canberra has the:

  • Highest average income
  • Highest level of education
  • Strongest jobs growth
  • Lowest unemployment
  • This is one of the safest cities in the world, with very low crime rates

Welcoming and multicultural

More than 26% of Canberrans are from overseas. One in four speaks a language other than English.
This is a city where everyone belongs and can participate. More than 90% agree it is good for society to have different cultures. Canberra is the only Australian state or territory to be a refugee welcome zone.

Great community feel

Canberra is a great place to raise a family. The city offers accessible outdoor and natural spaces, a safe environment, and an outstanding education system. Canberra gives you back time to do the things you choose. Because you do not spend hours in traffic, you gain time to be with those you love most. Work life balance is the real deal here.
Sport and recreational activities are a highly prized part of Canberra’s lifestyle. The extensive network of cycleways and footpaths make getting outdoors enjoyable and safe.

Close to everything

Everyday living is easy. All you need for a comfortable life is within easy reach. You are only ever 30 minutes’ drive from the city and each of the suburban town centres is bustling with cafes, shops, and services.

For more information visit:

Canberra is one of the most livable cities in the world. It is also one of Australia’s most affordable.
Moving to Canberra means a higher standard of living and lower living costs than other big cities.


Housing costs differ. This depends on:

  • Whether you buy or rent
  • Whether you live close to the city or further out in the suburbs
  • Lifestyle factors such as commuting, public transport, access to work, schools, and shops

Even if you choose to live in one of the outer suburbs, the commute will still only take about 30 minutes.


For electricity, gas, heating, and water, you will pay about $230 per month. Internet is about $70 per month. Or you can access free wi-fi in the city center, as well as galleries, libraries, and cafes.


Purchase a MyWay card and you can travel on Canberra’s public transport. This includes:

  • a bus network, Transport Canberra
  • the light rail service, Canberra Metro

Many Canberrans drive in private cars. These require registration and servicing. There are taxi and ride share services available.
If you live in the CBD, you can easily get around on foot or ride your bike on our network of cycle paths.


Foodies love the Canberra restaurant scene. You will find cafes, restaurants, and bars from cheap eats through to fine dining. If you are eating out in Canberra, you can expect to pay around $15 for breakfast (plus coffee), $16 for lunch and $25 for dinner.


There is a great variety of bars, clubs, and pubs in Canberra. You may have to pay a cover charge for music or other live entertainment. This is usually no more than $10. At most pubs and bars, you will pay $10-12 for a glass of beer or wine or cider or $12-$25 for spirits or cocktails.

Canberra is a diverse multicultural city with employment opportunities across both private and government sectors.
The city enjoys one of Australia’s most robust economies, coupled with a strong employment market. Canberra is home to a diverse range of employers, from multi‑nationals to micro-businesses. Two in every three jobs in Canberra are in the private sector.

Finding your perfect job

  • ACT Government: Public sector jobs can range from casual or semi-skilled positions, through to administration and professional employment, all the way to senior director roles. Click here for more info.
  • Private Sector: Private enterprise thrives here. Canberra is home to multi-national corporations, keen to establish and grow their presence in Australia. More than 60% of the jobs, across more than 25,000 businesses, are with the private. Click here for more info.
  • Australian Government: The Federal Government are a large employer in Canberra. Canberra-based Federal Government roles, including graduate opportunities, can be found here.Click here for more info.
  • Volunteering: Canberra has the highest participation rate of volunteer work in Australia. It is a great way to get involved in your community. You will meet new people and get hands-on work experience. Click here for more info.

ACT Nomination – Skilled Migration Visa

If you are interested in migrating to Australia and living in Canberra, you may be eligible to apply for ACT nomination of a Skilled Migration visa.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) offers Territory nomination under the following skilled migration streams:

  • Skilled Regional work (provisional) visa (subclass 491)
  • Skilled Nominated (permanent) visa (subclass 190)

You must read the ACT nomination guidelines carefully to make sure that you are eligible to apply for ACT nomination.

If you are eligible, you can formally express an interest in applying for ACT nomination by completing a score-based ‘Canberra Matrix’ where you are allocated points against demonstrated economic contribution or benefit and/or a genuine commitment to be part of the ACT community.

Each month, the highest ranked candidates under the scoring system will then be selected and invited to apply for ACT 491 / 190 nomination.

If you are invited to apply for ACT nomination, your supporting documentation must evidence your eligibility and Matrix score claimed at the date you submitted the Matrix.

For more information visit:

To discover whether you are eligible for a Skilled visa to live and work in Canberra, we invite you to take VisAustralia’s Migration Assessment Tool or to book a consultation with one of our expert migration lawyers.

speak to an expert

Strategic, Comprehensive, Definitive

Book a Consult