OFW Guide to Living and Working in New Zealand

Perhaps, it was that scene in Lord of the Rings that makes you want to visit New Zealand and if possible, to even work there. More than the scenery, New Zealand is a favorite among expats, not just Filipinos but also citizens from other countries – and it’s not surprising why.

For starters, New Zealand is the safest country in the world. Second, the people are among the friendliest and most open-minded ones. Third, you will never run out of beautiful sceneries to see.

If you plan to work in New Zealand, then here are some of the things you need to know first about this country:

General Facts

New Zealand is a sovereign island country located in the southwest of Pacific Ocean. With Wellington as its capital city, the country has Australia, Fiji, and Tonga as its neighbors. Because of its remoteness, New Zealand was one of the last lands occupied by early humans. This isolation allowed the inhabitants to develop a distinct biodiversity of biological life.

Its form of government is unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. This means legislative authority is vested on a unicameral Parliament, executive authority on the Cabinet led by a Prime Minister, and Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State.

At present, New Zealand is among the countries that offer the best health care, education, highest economic freedom, and overall quality of life; hence making the country one of the top expat destinations. In case you plan to migrate with your family for good, then you’ll be happy to see that New Zealand is among, if not the top country to raise a family around the world.

Language

Since it was under British rule until 1947, English is widely spoken in New Zealand. This means you won’t have a hard time conversing with the people. Aside from English, Maori is also one of the two official languages, but this one is seldom used.

Since 2006, the government also recognized New Zealand Sign Language as among their modes of communication.

Cost of Living 

New Zealand among the developed countries with highest cost of living standards, especially if you will live in major cities like Auckland and Wellington. This is due to stronger economy and increase in accommodation cost / rental property and demand.

Still, living in rural areas would mean lower cost of living compared to living in the city.

Public Transportation

Despite New Zealand being a developed country, it’s public transport system is not at par with that of Japan or even Hong Kong.

If you work in New Zealand, you will notice that most people bring their own cars since it is the most convenient way to go from A to B. Surprisingly, only Wellington and Auckland have suburban rail system, but if you will live and work outside the big cities, then public transportation is limited. There are buses that connect the cities, but having your own car is the best way to go around.

In case you will cross the island, ferry system is available at your disposal.

Of course, it is impractical for you to buy a car when you are only limited to two years contract. Big cities have buses, but make sure you ask your employer regarding transportation benefits.

Weather

You will enjoy the climate in New Zealand. Climate is mild and adjusting to it won’t be much of an issue. Still, rains and snowfall can be prominent, especially on mountainous areas so don’t forget to pack your thermal jacket in case you will work nearby.

Working in New Zealand

Don’t get too excited yet. Working in New Zealand is not as simple as submitting your resume. Before you apply, you need to check if your skills are among those posted by Immigration authorities in the Essential Skills in Demand List. The list shows jobs wherein even New Zealanders cannot fulfill the job or there are no locals available to take the job.

If your skills and qualifications match what were indicated in the list, then you can apply for Essential Skills Work Visa. When you apply for this type of visa, you should have a confirmed job offer and signed employment contract. The duration of the visa varies, although some have a maximum of three years. In case your work visa is good for more than two years, then you may qualify for the government’s healthcare benefits in case something happens.

Aside from the Essential Skills list, you may also be asked to undergo Labor Market Test before the work visa will be issued to you.

Looking for a job in New Zealand – or any other countries in and out of the Philippines – is not easy. Make use of your spare time honing your skills, attending trainings, and taking advantage of (free) seminars to improve your skills. Employers would love to see your willingness to learn.

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