Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to New Zealand

Planning a Move to the Land of the Long White Cloud?

New Zealand is known for its spectacular scenery, laid back lifestyle and friendly people. It is also known for its opportunities for outdoor activities year round. Being a safe and peaceful place to live, with a high quality of life, it is no wonder that people come here to settle from all over the world. If you are moving to New Zealand, keep reading for some important information you should know before your trip.

What Visa do You Need?

The right New Zealand visa for you depends on whether you plan to live and work in New Zealand for a year, or for a longer period.

The Working Holiday Visa may be the right fit for you if:

  • You are between the ages of 18 to 30 (18 to 35 in some countries).
  • You are from one of the qualifying countries.
  • You plan to work for up to 12 months (or 23 months if you are from the UK or Canada).
  • You can prove that you have enough funds to support yourself if you do not find a job right away.

If you plan to study during your time in New Zealand, you will apply for a Student Visa. For those who want to move to New Zealand to live and work permanently, there is the option for a Skilled Migrant Visa.

In order to apply, you need to send an expression of interest. This tells the people looking at your application all about your employment, your qualifications, your experience and where you intend to work in New Zealand. If your expression of interest is approved, you will be offered the opportunity to apply to live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.

The expression of interest is judged via a points system. For example, you will get points for having a recognized qualification, skilled work experience or an offer of employment in New Zealand.

Take note, this visa is not designed for people who are self-employed. If you want to move to New Zealand and work in your own business, you need to apply for an Entrepreneur Resident Visa instead.

Setting up a Bank Account

The first step will be to choose the bank you want to use. The three largest banks are ANZ, WestPac and BNZ. Each will have their own options and types of accounts, so it is up to you to compare and choose the one that works best for your lifestyle, spending habits and savings goals.

When going to the bank to set up your account, you will need:

  • Proof of address. (It must be a New Zealand address.)
  • Proof of identification. (This can be your passport.)
  • Overseas tax identification number. (This will be your social security, national identity or other personal number depending on where you are from.)
  • Copy of your visa. (The bank may check your work visa.)

Once your bank account is set up, you will receive an EFTPOS card. This stands for Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale and it is what is used for almost all transactions in New Zealand. You may need to use cash in some circumstances such as shopping at a local market, but most of the time your transactions will be done with card.

Finding a Job

Once you have the appropriate work visa, the next step will be to find a job. Of course, this process will depend on your skills, experience, the duration of your stay and what sort of job you want to find.

If you are moving to New Zealand on a Skilled Migrant Visa, you will need to already have a job offer for an approved position. However, if you are coming to New Zealand on the Working Holiday Visa, you can take up employment in any industry. You can find a larger selection of jobs in the bigger cities, such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Travelers who come to New Zealand on a Working Holiday Visa usually end up working in temporary, seasonal jobs such as picking fruit, farm labor, retail, or ski and snowboard instruction. These types of jobs work well for backpackers as they are short term and they offer a great chance to meet other young people while enjoying your stay.

Getting Settled

Here are a few more tips that will help you get settled in your new life in New Zealand.

  • Before you go, check if you know anyone who already lives in New Zealand. Sometimes having one familiar connection can make the move a lot less intimidating.
  • Do your research before you go. Look at the different cities and regions to find the best fit for you.
  • Join in with activities, clubs and events to make new friends. It can be intimidating at first but getting to know people will help you feel more at home.
  • Know that not everything will go exactly as planned. Be patient and go with the flow.

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