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Working in Polynesia?

Join InterNations to meet other expats where you live and read more articles like Working in Polynesia with relevant information for expats.

Ivan Dlouhy

Living in New Zealand, from the Czech Republic

"A platform like InterNations makes life easier for the scattered expat community of Polynesia. "

Mireille Auffret

Living in New Zealand, from Cameroon

"Polynesia is very far away from my home country, but InterNations helped me and my entire family cope with the transition. "

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Polynesia at a Glance

Working in Polynesia

Polynesia is widely recognized for the attractiveness of its islands and blue, crystal waters, as well as a economy based on tourism, agriculture and fishing. Trying to find a job in Polynesia yourself? Read upon on the economic situation, job hunting and work permits for Polynesia in our guide.

Economic Overview

One of Polynesia’s highest exports is cultured pearls, which brings in over 100m USD every year, though this has dropped steadily over the last decade. The islands also export manufactured goods such as beer, sandalwood oil, and refined coconut meat which is used in many cosmetic products. Tourism is a great source of income for Polynesia as costs are higher than traveling to many other countries. Agriculture is strong on the islands as well, and many children grow up learning about agriculture so they can work on farms with their family.

Fishing is another common activity on the islands, supporting the economy. The waters around Polynesia are rich in minerals, but mining these minerals for export has become more difficult as the islands are endangered, so mining off the coast is discouraged. Graduate opportunities and work for professionals are few and far between; the economy in much of Polynesia is poorly developed, with many countries relying heavily on foreign aid.

Job Hunting in Polynesia

Paid employment in Polynesia is not easy to come by, with the exception of English teaching jobs, which are available though not in large supply. Volunteering is popular among young people, and volunteer work can be found in agriculture, maintaining infrastructure, health, building projects and youth programs. These are competitive and it will usually also cost money to be able to have this experience.

You will need to have secured a volunteer position before traveling to Polynesia, and these are usually found online through international organizations, or if you are studying, through university programs. They may require submitting personal essays as part of the application, and the costs of getting there vary greatly, depending on the length and the nature of the project you would like to work on. 

Work Permits for Polynesia

If you are intending to start working in Polynesia, a work permit is a requirement, but the application is slightly different depending on the duration that you are intending to stay on the islands. If you are intending to stay for 15 days or less for work, a certificate will need to be supplied stating all the employees’ details, and the details of the work that you will be doing.

If the employer is based in Polynesia, they can supply these documents, but it will usually be the case that the company in question is not based in Polynesia. Organizations running volunteering programs will be familiar with the policies and procedures, and they will also be expected to provide the forms with all of the details and terms of employment.

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