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Popular Destinations and Jobs for Expats

Thousands of people from around the world head out to New Zealand every year in order to live and work there, making the country a popular expat destination. This InterNations guide offers advice on moving to New Zealand, including information on the economy, visa regulations, and more.
The bright red cable cars are one of Wellington's main attractions.

The City of Sails

Located in the northern part of New Zealand’s North Island, Auckland is home to 1.4 million residents, just over 30% of the country’s population. As New Zealand’s largest city, it offers many professional opportunities for expatriates, along with countless leisure activities, a mild climate, and a beautiful environment.

Almost entirely surrounded by water, the “City of Sails” has two harbors surrounded by beautiful beaches, and there are plenty of residential areas near the seafront. Some expats are put off by the limited public transportation options and increasing housing costs. Nevertheless, Auckland is still widely popular among expats and locals. 

Windy Wellington

Home to approximately 405,000 residents, Wellington is at the southwestern tip of New Zealand’s North Island, earning it the title of the world’s southernmost national capital. Positioned in a long mountain chain, Wellington has a reputation for being one of the windiest cities in the world.  It’s also known as the country’s political and cultural center; all national political institutions and foreign diplomatic missions as well as a vibrant arts, film, and theater scene are located in the capital.

As the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, the city of Christchurch also has plenty of employment opportunities for expats. After the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, the city has been rebuilding itself and working on plans to boost visitor numbers. Even when the reconstruction projects are completed, civil engineering and construction skills will continue to be in high demand.

Tips and Tricks for Job Hunting

As mentioned above, finding a job in New Zealand is not particularly easy, especially without an intra-company transfer. If you have not secured an expat assignment, you should start looking for job opportunities ahead of time. Expats and emigrants who have succeeded in finding work stress the importance of being persistent and — most importantly — not easily discouraged.

While this is important for everyone who is seeking employment abroad, it is even more essential for New Zealand. Although this country is extremely popular among expats, it does not have a high demand for foreign specialists like other major expat destinations; expats have to find their own niche in the New Zealand job market.

The government offers several free services for migrants to find employment. New Kiwis for example, is a service that guides you through the process of finding work in your industry and helps you prepare for interviews.

Calling Nurses, Engineers, and Teachers

After the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 the government has put up a list of skills that are in chronically short supply, and an additional list of the skills needed during the process of rebuilding the Canterbury region. If you have any of the skills listed, getting a work and residence visa will be much easier.

Generally speaking, expats-to-be with professional skills and experience in healthcare, financial planning and education have good chances of finding a job in New Zealand. The same can be said for professionals in IT, engineering, and the natural sciences. To find out more about which skills are needed check out our article on working in New Zealand.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Serhat Ahmed

"With all of the information that InterNations provided on Wellington, it made my move from Turkey easier than I could have imagined."

Melanie Rasbery

"Since I knew about the active expat network in New Zealand, InterNations made moving to Wellington more exciting than it had seemed before."

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