Working in New Zealand

Although many of our readers go to New Zealand on a short holiday, I realize there are mates who would love to stay there longer. But we all have duties and bills to pay so this isn’t the easiest thing to do. Unless of course you go there to work which can expand your stay for quite long time and let you enjoy New Zealand fully. Going to work in another country has always quite a few aspects.

We’ll list the more important ones from New Zealand perspective below:

Work Visas

Three types of work visas are available:

  • Temporary work visa. It is valid for between 9 months and 3 years. There are different sub-types depending on where you alredy have work arrangement or you plan to just go there and search for work. In the second case you need to have skilled profession and be under 35 years old.
  • Long-term “Work to residence” visa is valid for up to 30 months and lets you apply for residence visa.
  • Working holiday visa is valid for 12 – 23 months and covers wider range of professions. The cost of this visa when applying through visa agency will be between €100 and €200.

One of the good pages that explains a lot and well about New Zealand work visas can be found here.

... another fun work location, Southland, New Zealand, 26 August 2008

Work Programs

Many companies – visa agencies, travel agencies, etc, offer so called “work programs in New Zealand” for fees usually between $500 and $1,500. I think calling them “work programs” is a bit misleading because most of them don’t secure you any work. Don’t get me wrong, they are still helpful, just don’t expect most of them to guarantee you a job position there. Most often they do the following:

  • They help you with the visa application/process your visa
  • They provide you assistance and advice when you apply for job
  • Often some kind of accomodation, transfer and social events are included
  • Some will help you learn driving in NZ and apply for driver’s license

In any case carefully read what’s included and judge yourself whether it’s worth the money. Do not expect that paying few bucks (even if a lot) will guarantee you a job.

What Kind Of Work Is Available

Generally said, all kind of work is available. But if you are looking to get hired, you may want to know what are the most sought skills:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Construction workers and engineers
  • Education specialists
  • IT

For a lot more detailed overview see the essential skills in demand here.

Starting Small Business

Almost every democratic country in the world will welcome you if you want to invest your own money and a start a small (or large) business. New Zealand is not different. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing special as requirement to start business there. So if you have a good idea and the money to start it, just go ahead.

There are entrepreneur visas available for you. More information here.

Cost of Living

Like in most countries the cost of living differs vastly depending on which city you want to live in. Auckland is most expensive especially considering the housing costs. Going South the cost of living goes down. In general the cost of living in New Zealand is comparable to this of Western Europe.

Here’s a guide giving more specifics.

If you have any other questions regarding working in NZ let us know in the comments.

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