What to think about before you move to New Zealand

Discover whether your skills will help you find work in New Zealand.

Things to consider before you move

People decide to settle in New Zealand for many reasons – for work or family opportunities, a relaxed lifestyle in a community that accepts different views and ideas, or to make a fresh start.

When making the decision whether or not to move here, think about things that might be important to you, such as:

  • what opportunities will be available for your family (work, education, lifestyle)
  • the cost of living, including medical and dental charges
  • if you will buy or rent a home
  • transport options for getting to work, including public transport
  • what sort of community support is available
  • how much you could earn and how much you will need to earn to live comfortably in New Zealand. Remember, salaries are quoted in gross amounts – income tax will be deducted from this amount.

Most importantly, you will need to find out if you are eligible to live here. Visit the Immigration New Zealand website to see if you qualify to work here.

It’s really important that you have some kind of support here. Before coming, you tend to just look at the positives – but you should consider risks such as what will happen if you don’t get a job.

Farah Sia

Farah Sia

Software Tester

How do you know if New Zealand is right for you?

Many people who are thinking of moving to New Zealand first come for a short-term visit, to learn more about life and work here. You can get a taste of New Zealand as a tourist, student, or worker on a temporary working visa.

What you'll need if you decide to move to New Zealand

If you have already made your decision to come to New Zealand to live and work, you'll need to prepare.

1. Get your documents together

Bring original or certified copies of important documents about you and your family. These include:

  • medical and dental records
  • vaccination certificates
  • qualifications (such as degree certificates) or certificates of registrations that license you to work in certain jobs
  • references from an employer that describe your work experience, skills and character, and include the dates you were employed
  • references about your participation in other aspects of life such as community groups or churches
  • contact details for people you might want to use as job referees. New Zealand employers like to make personal contact with referees, so make sure you have a telephone number and email addresses
  • information records like photographs, which help to show what work you have done.

2. Get your CV ready

Make a start on your CV (a formal written summary of your skills and experience). Do the same for other family members who plan to work in New Zealand. Even if they have not had full-time jobs, they will have skills and experience they could use to get a job in New Zealand.

3. Be prepared in case you don't find a job immediately

It can take a long time to find a job and you might not be able to do the same work in New Zealand that you did at home. Prepare for this by bringing any savings you have. You may also have to take a lower-level job than you have done before.

You can get an idea of what opportunities are like in New Zealand by using our website, as well as looking at job vacancies online. This will help you find out:

  • if your current role exists
  • how easy it will be for you to get a job
  • how much you are likely to earn.

4. Get your qualifications evaluated to see if they suit New Zealand

If you have formal tertiary qualifications (university, polytechnic or trade) you can have them evaluated by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

If you work in a job where registration is required by law, you'll need to check to see if your qualifications allow you to become registered in New Zealand. (Registration is a licence to work in a particular industry, but it doesn't necessarily entitle you to a job.)

Updated 4 Nov 2020