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Moving to New Zealand

A Comprehensive Guide to Moving to New Zealand

If you are planning on relocating to New Zealand, this guide prepares you for all the steps for moving to the country, from their short visa application windows and vacancies to their confusing healthcare system. However, it also reassures you about their simple and efficient housing market, overall good working conditions, and the friendly and peculiar Kiwi and Māori culture.

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In this guide, we show you how to move to New Zealand as hassle-free as possible, by providing you with all the information you may need beforehand. Each section covers in depth all of the specificities of New Zealand when it comes to your relocation, from obtaining a visa, navigating the housing market, finding good schools for your children, or taking care of your finances.

The work-life balance and general quality of life you will experience are some of the main benefits of moving to New Zealand. However, there are many other reasons why you should move to New Zealand, whether that is the friendly Kiwi culture, the relaxed work culture, or the breathtaking landscapes you get to enjoy regularly.

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relocating

Relocating

If you want to know more about the process of moving to New Zealand, you should know in advance this requires some preparation. New Zealand goes to great length to protect its biodiversity. That is why many restrictions apply to what can be imported in the country, be it personal household goods or animal or plant species.

Whether you are shipping your household goods to New Zealand by air or by sea, you will need to know all the items that you are not allowed to bring into the country. Some of your belongings may have to be quarantined. You will also need a detailed list of your belongings and their corresponding value to go through customs. When moving your goods, you may choose from several international airports or seaports in the country.

If you are planning on moving to New Zealand with your pets, you might need to go through some trouble. Laws in New Zealand about importing animals are very strict. Depending on where you are coming from, your four-legged friend may not even be allowed in. There is a list of approved countries from which pets may be imported. If your country is not on the list, you will not be able to take your pet with you.

New Zealand does not allow mixed breeds or hybrids into the country. Your dog or cat has to be pure-bred but even then, some breeds are strictly prohibited. It does not get much easier for other animals either. Apart from dogs and cats, most other species are forbidden to be imported into the country. And even if your pet does not fall under such restrictions, prepare to have all the required vaccinations, microchips, and paperwork in order to obtain a permit.

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Visas & Work Permits

To get a visa in New Zealand you are expected to have a job offer. However, even that will not guarantee you entry into the country.  The visa quotas for New Zealand are very low for applicants from most countries and the deadlines for applications are short and open only once a year. That is why you need to look out for the right time to apply for a New Zealand visa as the vacancies fill up quickly in the first few days.

New Zealand visa has many requirements you must meet, from proof of character and overall good health attested through medical exams to a financial buffer that allows you to support yourself in the country or to pay for your return home.

This section of the guide covers the most common types of New Zealand visas and their application process. Most visas require a job offer or funds to start your business or invest in the country. The costs vary slightly for each visa type but usually include the cost of the visa itself and the immigration levy.

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housing

Housing

Renting and purchasing accommodation in New Zealand is overall a very straightforward, safe process. Buying a house in New Zealand is so simple it may even take just a matter of weeks.

If you want to know how to rent a house or an apartment, keep in mind that you might have a hard time finding furnished rentals. That is because most furnished options on the market are studios or one-bedrooms typically preferred and often taken by students.

Before you sign a rental contract, you will need to fill a pre-tenancy application form with some information about you, which will help landlords pick a tenant among the applicants.

When you do find and settle on a place, note that paying weekly rent is common in New Zealand. You should also know that you will have to pay for all the expenses that result from living in the accommodation unless you agree otherwise with your landlord.

In this section, you will also learn all about the type of houses you can find in the country, whether you plan on renting or buying property.

We introduce you to everything you need to know about housing in New Zealand, from average house prices and rent prices, to how to buy a house as a foreigner, and more.

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healthcare

Healthcare

In this section, we cover New Zealand’s healthcare system. The public healthcare that New Zealand offers to its citizens and residents is a mix of private and public services.

Public healthcare in New Zealand is not entirely free, and a small fee is can be asked when seeking some medical services. You will need to check your eligibility for public healthcare in New Zealand, but, in general, you need to have a visa that allows you to live in the country for two years in order to qualify.

You will also need to know the difference between enrolling and registering with your family doctor, and whether or not you should take out private health insurance in the country. Keep in mind that if you are not eligible for public healthcare, private healthcare is also not available to you. The requirements to take out private health insurance in New Zealand are the same as for public healthcare.

In this guide, we cover how to find doctors, from general practitioners to specialists and dentists, and how much these will cost on average. We also explain what it is like to give birth in New Zealand, in terms of the process of finding a specialized medical practitioner and what medical care to expect.

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Banks & Taxes

Opening a bank account in New Zealand is likely one of your first financial concerns after moving to the country. If you are wondering whether you can open a bank account as a non-resident, rest assured you will not find this process difficult. In fact, some banks allow you to open an account while still overseas. Once in the country, however, you are typically asked to visit a branch to prove your identity, and you will typically need some sort of long-term visa to be allowed to open a bank account in the first place.

In this section, we also discuss some of the best banks for expats in New Zealand and the most suitable accounts they offer, with features such as no fees, online banking, or both.

You might also want to look into the tax system and current tax rates in New Zealand. You should know their tax system is very simple overall—you may not need to file another tax return after your first year in the country. Whether you are working as an employee or as self-employed, it is important to consider what the tax rate is to understand the real value of your salaries or profits.

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education

Education

Whether you are looking for international schools in New Zealand or public schooling, you will be glad to know the New Zealand education system has high standards and good outcomes. You won’t have a shortage of options for best quality schools when it comes to good quality education for your young ones.

The school system in New Zealand has a mix of public and private options. Public schools follow a national curriculum and prioritize their vacancies to the residents of each area.

Private schools, on the other hand, tend to freely choose their curriculum. These are primarily Catholic schools, though the religious component of these schools in the actual classroom is often toned down.

You may find many options for international schools as well, although if you are looking for schools that teach in a language other than English, you may have fewer options.

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working

Working

Finding work in New Zealand should be a priority, as you will likely need it for your visa application. That is why one of the first things to know when thinking of relocation to New Zealand is finding out how to get a job there.

In this section, we introduce you to some of the most common sources on finding a job, from the standard websites used by most job seekers, to a national program that connects foreign employees to New Zealand employers. We also cover the average salary in the country, so you know what to expect of job offers, as well as the salaries for the most common and the most in-demand professions.

If you would prefer to be self-employed, you will be pleased to know there aren’t many bureaucracies that would stand in your way. However, there are some disadvantages that come with self-employment in New Zealand, mainly when it comes to working benefits. Still, the overall the job market is friendly for freelancers and business owners.

You may also like to know about the relaxed yet high-performing business culture, or some of the social security benefits you may expect when working in New Zealand.

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country-facts

Country Facts

Before you start your new life in New Zealand, get familiarized with the Kiwi and Maori culture—expect a friendly atmosphere, an overall appreciation for nature, and a good work-life balance with a competitive and efficient working culture.

Make sure you are equipped to drive in the country (and are up for a challenge) if you plan on living outside a city center. If you will be living in the center, you should know buses are your best options for public transportation, but some cities also have train lines.

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Updated on: July 01, 2019
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