The 5 Minute Guide On How To Emigrate To New Zealand

Published: 2 Oct at 1 PM
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Filed: Emigrating,New Zealand
Read this useful guide that summarises key information you should know for immigrating and settling in New Zealand.


New Zealand welcomes a range of skilled workers and investors through its long-term visa programmes with the goal of improving the economic health of the nation. Applicants who are in good health, under the age of 55, can speak English competently and have no criminal background stand a decent chance of getting a visa that can lead to permanent residency.

The country’s Work to Residence is its main avenue for skilled migrants who have something special to offer the country or can fill job sectors that are in demand. Besides traditional work fields involved with established companies, there are also visas for those skilled in art, culture and sports. Successful applicants for any of these visas get a two-year temporary visa, after which they can apply for permanent residency via the Residence from Work programme. It’s advised to look over the jobs listed on the Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL) on the government website here to see if you qualify for any specific jobs. If you are able to fill one of these positions, this is the most direct route towards the Work to Residence programme.

Another popular category of long-term visa is designed for investors and entrepreneurs, who have the cash and business ideas to boost New Zealand’s economy. There are a number of options in this category, including Entrepreneur/Entrepreneur Plus, Investor/Investor Plus and Long Term Business Visa. All of these visas use a points system to determine eligibility and are largely based on the amount of money you have available to invest into local business. On the plus side, all these visas lead to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The government’s official immigration website explains everything in detail.

Regardless of the visa category, the process to apply is among the easiest in the developed world. The first step is submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form either online or via paper, which lays out your qualifications and assigns points to your skills, experience and other factors. After the EOI has been approved, you will be invited to apply for your specific visa. This step takes several weeks to complete.

While filling in the actual visa application you will need to provide official documentation verifying your education, experience, health, quality of character and English skills ability. If the immigration authorities are satisfied with your paperwork you will be offered the appropriate visa. Any problems with the documents such as missing papers or incorrect information will greatly delay the process.

The entire process may take as long as six months depending on individual circumstances. Every thing you need to know and all the relevant forms are available online at the government’s website.

Money and Costs

The monthly expenses involved with living in New Zealand depend largely on where you live. The two main cities of Auckland and Wellington are the most expensive in terms of housing, food and leisure activities. Here, the costs of living are similar to those of the UK or USA. In New Zealand’s smaller towns and cities things can be noticeably cheaper. Either way, housing and utilities consume an average of 25 per cent of your paycheck. Food, transport and leisure average another 40 per cent of your monthly income.

New Zealand’s average annual wage is NZ$75,000 (?39,449), which is more than enough to live comfortably in most places. The prices of most amenities like petrol, food and utilities are affordable compared to many other developed countries. As an example, Auckland is New Zealand’s most expensive city based on surveys by Mercer. But compared to the global rankings it is listed at 118. New Zealand’s extremely remote location, however, means that many white goods and other special imports are rather expensive.


Relocating your entire life to New Zealand is a stressful enough proposition without even considering the logistics of moving house. The remote location of the country means most emigrants have to ship their household goods by sea, a tricky process that is best handled by experts. Despite the expenses involved, hiring a professional international moving company is worth every penny. Firms like Transworld can take care of every stage of the move, from your original home to your new house in New Zealand. They deal with all the customs paperwork and arrange the logistics of shipping goods by land and sea.


New Zealand is a unique country within the developed world due to its location and overall demographics and economy. There are plenty of jobs here for those willing to relocate to New Zealand, and the government keeps a list of jobs under the Long Term Skills Shortage List. Engineering, healthcare, IT skills and science are all major fields of employment that need highly skilled workers. You don’t even need to secure a job from a New Zealand company in advance if your qualifications are strong enough. But you certainly need to have higher education, specific skills training and some level of experience in your field.


Opening your own business is a popular avenue towards permanent residency in New Zealand. But there are some stringent requirements to even be considered for these visas. The main issue is cash flow. Emigrants must be able to transfer a least NZ$500,000 into a New Zealand bank to prove their solvency. But this is almost a guaranteed way to get a long-term visa. Another option is the Long Term Business Visa Category, which gives emigrants nine months to get their business started and only requires minimal sufficient funds for the start-up and running of the business for the first nine months. At the end of this probation period, any form of economic success should result in a new three-year visa that will eventually lead to permanent residency.

Another way to go is the Investor or Entrepreneur visa categories. These are really for wealthy people with large amounts of cash to invest in or buy an existing New Zealand company. While there are many advantages to buying a business turn-key, the costs exclude many would-be emigrants. If cash is not a problem, however, this is a very safe road to permanent residency in New Zealand. The government website covering this visa option is very informational.


New Zealand is not as multicultural as other countries like the United States or the UK, but it still has small pockets of ethnic communities in its larger towns like Wellington and Auckland. The ethnic communities provide excellent support and a helpful connection with home when you first arrive. This is why many emigrants end up living in the larger cities of New Zealand. Websites like this provide useful information about settling in a new culture.

Settling in to your new home if surprisingly easy in New Zealand. You can open bank accounts from abroad if you have your IRD tax number already, or you can wait until you get settled in. A photo ID like a passport and proof of your residence address like a utility bill is all you need to open a bank account. The same holds true for establishing services like internet, cable tv and mobile phone plans.

New Zealanders, or Kiwis as they’re affectionately known, are very down-to-earth people with a deep connection to the land. They tend to prefer a relaxed pace of life over the hustle bustle common in places like New York City and London. Kiwis are also known to be strong-willed, independent people who are not afraid to express their opinion or stand up for their individual rights.

The climate in New Zealand ranges widely given the long skinny geography of the islands. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed from those in much of the world. In general, the country has mild temperatures, relatively high rainfall and loads of snow in the Southern Alps. The sea and the mountains greatly affect the local weather throughout the country. The South Island tends to be much colder than the North Island, which is wetter.


Most newly-arrived emigrants opt to rent their house before looking into the option of buying property. There are solid rental markets in most towns of size, especially the main cities. Renting a property is not much of an obstacle in New Zealand, as the rules and procedure is quite relaxed. Here, rent is paid every two weeks instead of monthly as in other countries. To move in to a property, the landlord will request a security deposit of either two or four weeks rent. Rental leases are typically for at least six months, and often a year. Real estate brokers help renters find properties, taking the equivalent of a week’s rent as their commission. When you complete your lease you can expect the deposit to be returned. You can compare rental rates throughout the country at sites like New Zealand

It is also possible to buy your own house or apartment. Again, a real estate agent is a vital part of the process. They will show properties, negotiate the sale and deal with all the legal paperwork involved with the transaction. There are plenty of properties available for sale in a range of budgets. Websites like this can give you an idea of prices in all parts of New Zealand.


Residents of New Zealand have two options when it comes to healthcare. The government provides free public healthcare at its state-run hospitals that is more than adequate for most medical problems. Many people also purchase private medical insurance to allow them to access the more exclusive private hospitals in the country. The free healthcare covers emergency services, consultant and diagnostic service, operations and aftercare.

The only downside to New Zealand’s public healthcare system is that there are often long wait periods for procedures that are not life threatening. Also, if you choose to go to a local doctor the government will not pay for that visit, but only help out with a subsidy. Dental care is not covered at all under the government program, so this is another reason many people take out private healthcare insurance. The government’s healthcare website gives lots of updated information and advice.


New Zealand offers free public education for all its children. It maintains a three-tier school system that will be familiar to most people from developed nations. The quality of education in the country is very good, currently ranked seventh in the world. Education for children is compulsory in New Zealand, so those who opt out of the public school system need to pay for private schools, which tend to be rather expensive. New Zealand also has seven accredited universities that attract a range of international students majoring in fields that are highly-regarded in New Zealand.


Before the arrival of Europeans, New Zealand was the exclusive domain of the Maori people. Although in many ways they have been marginalised in areas like government, the Maori have managed to preserve their unique culture and heritage. They are a strong prominent presence in many parts of the country, and deserve the respect of anyone who lives in New Zealand.

The European population of New Zealand embodies the pioneer spirit. They are independent, hard working and fiercely opinionated. They are also extremely friendly, and are typically very welcoming to strangers who venture into their corner of the country. Kiwis like their sports like rugby and outdoor recreation such as fishing, hiking and boating. Their stunningly beautiful country is ideal for outdoor activities of every kind.


The official language spoken throughout New Zealand is English. The Kiwis speak it with a distinct accent that can be difficult to understand at first, but in general it is related to the British form of English. To get any form a long-term visa into New Zealand you need to be able to prove you have an understanding of English. The English language certification typically required by New Zealand’s immigration authority is the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is recognised worldwide by most governments as the standard for immigration, work permits and higher education for its thoroughness and excellence. English language schools are pervasive in all the main cities like Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch. There are many online resources for students to find an English school.

Travel & Leisure

Kiwis do a fairly good job of getting out and about in the world, especially around the Asian region. But with so much amazing diversity of nature right in their own country, there are many reasons to travel within New Zealand. From the incredible Southern Alps on the South Island to the coastal towns and national parks lining the North Island, residents are spoiled when it comes to outdoor recreation in New Zealand.

Due to the rugged topography of the islands, rail travel is fairly limited. InterCity Coachline is the main long-distance bus company, connecting more than 600 towns around the country at very reasonable fares. New Zealand’s road network is also an excellent way to get around, not least because of the stunning scenery at every turn. Domestic flights are useful to move between major cities in a flash. But after that you’ll need to travel over land to get around this ruggedly beautiful country. The government has a wonderful website devoted to its tourism sector.
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