Christchurch's economy is based around two main sectors: agriculture and industry. The surrounding countryside is home to some of the biggest farms on the South Island, and these employ many people that live in the city. Additionally, Christchurch is the second largest manufacturing center in New Zealand afterAuckland.
However, Christchurch's service sector has become more prominent in recent years, particularly through technology and software businesses, and these now form a major part of the local economy. This includes both major national and international corporations, and small, local businesses started by students from the excellent technology departments of the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.
Expatriates working in Christchurch tend to do so in senior or technical positions in the agricultural or industrial sectors, or in software development.
Expatriates wanting to work in Christchurch will need a work permit in order to do so. There are a number of different types of work permit available in New Zealand, each designed for a particular role or expatriate. The most common are the Working Holiday Scheme permit and the Skilled Migrant permit.
The Working Holiday permit is designed for young people wanting to work in Christchurch for up to a year in order to fund further travel around New Zealand, and is available to citizens of many nations.
The Skilled Migrant permit is for expatriates with specific skills that are in high demand in the country, and in order to apply you must fulfill certain criteria in a points based system. These are also temporary visas, which give you the right to live in New Zealand for their duration.
In some cases, the New Zealand government will also specifically recruit expatriates for particular industries in which underemployment is an issue. In these cases, you will not need to apply for a work permit.
Expatriates living and working in Christchurch will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. However, the income on which you will pay income tax at New Zealand rates depends on your residency status. If you live and work in Christchurch for 183 days in a year, you will be liable to pay income tax at New Zealand rates on your New Zealand income only.
Expatriates living and working in Christchurch will only pay income tax at New Zealand rates on their worldwide income after they have lived in New Zealand for more than four years. The income tax rates for expatriates and foreigners working in Christchurch in 2015 are as follows:
However, all expatriates earning in excess of 113,768 NZD per year will also be required to pay an ACC earner's levy of 1.7%, which covers the cost of non-related work injuries to their employer. This is collected through PAYE by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).