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Moving to Christchurch?

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Christchurch at a Glance

Moving to Christchurch

Christchurch, the so-called Garden City, has more than one reason to attract expats. With its livable atmosphere, creative vibe and amazing position between the ocean and the countryside, the city can offer many advantages to expats who are planning a move to Christchurch.

About the City

The largest city on the South Island of New Zealand, Christchurch is the third most populous urban area in the entire country. It is located on the south-east coast of the island, just north of the Banks Peninsula, which is within the city limits. Although christened Christchurch by English settlers in 1848, the Maori name for the city is Ōtautahi, which translates to 'the place of Tautahi'.

Christchurch has a population of nearly 400,000 people, the vast majority of which are 'European New Zealanders'. However, the city is also home to a large Maori population, as well as large Asian and Pacific Islander communities. The official language is English, but some of the Maori community will speak Maori as well.

The Climate in Christchurch

Expatriates moving to Christchurch will need to adjust to a temperate climate, which is characterized by mild temperatures throughout the year and moderate rainfall. The warmest month of the year is January, during which the daily high is around 22.5°C (73°F), but average temperatures tend to be closer to 17.5°C (63.5°F).

Christchurch also experiences the urban heat island phenomenon, where temperatures in the city center are far warmer than those on the coast. The coldest month of the year is July, which has an average temperature of 6.6 C (43.9 F), but it can drop as low as 1.9°C (35.4°F) on exceptionally cold days. Although rainfall is expected throughout the year, even in the summer months, July tends to experience the most, with around 68.4 mm (2.693 inches) falling on average.

Visas for New Zealand

In New Zealand, temporary residence visas are packaged with work permits, so expatriates wanting to move to Christchurch to work for an allotted period of time will only need to make one application. However, should you wish to obtain permanent residency, you will need to do one of the following: you can apply for a Work to Residence visa, or apply for permanent residency after moving to Christchurch.

The Work to Residence visa allows expatriates to move to Christchurch for up to 30 months, during which time they can make an application for permanent residency. In order to be accepted onto the program, you must fulfill certain criteria, including having found a job or promising to make a contribution to New Zealand art, culture, or music. After you've been living and working in Christchurch for more than four years, you can apply for permanent residency, provided you fulfill the criteria laid out by the government.

InterNations Expat Magazine