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New Zealand - Finding Employment

To obtain a visa for New Zealand from the UK, you will most likely need to secure a job before relocating. There are several visa options available depending on whether you intend to stay temporarily or on a more long-term basis. If you are aged between 18 and 30 and looking for temporary work, you can apply for the working holiday visa, which lasts between 12 and 23 months. To be eligible, you must primarily be visiting the country on holiday, with employment a secondary intention.

More permanent visa options include:

• Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) – for those with the relevant skills, qualifications and experience required by New Zealand employers.
• Essential skills work visa – available to individuals who possess the qualifications and experience necessary for a specific role and who have been offered a job accordingly. This visa is valid for up to five years.
• Work to Residence Category – for anyone qualified to work in an in-demand profession.

Immigration New Zealand uses a points system to allocate visas. Points are awarded for age, experience, employability and qualifications.

For individuals in possession of the right skills, the option to apply for work in New Zealand is always available. There are currently numerous vacancies in industries such as engineering, IT and medicine as well as areas requiring less specialist skills.

Certain skills are needed more than others and, to help attract the necessary applicants, Immigration New Zealand have devised both long-term and immediate skill shortage lists.

Applications for jobs are generally made online with a CV and covering letter. You may need to amend your CV by removing your list of past jobs and replacing the section with details of the skills you have and examples of how you have used them. Your qualifications should be recognisable to New Zealand employers as the country’s educational framework is based on the system in England.

Once shortlisted for a role, you may be offered an interview over the telephone or online. Face-to-face interviews are typically informal.

Many jobs are not advertised in the formal sense, so making connections via networking alongside applying speculatively can prove effective in gaining employment.

Numerous seasonal jobs are available annually, including thousands of vacancies for individuals needed to harvest New Zealand’s fruit crops every summer. Additionally, short-term jobs in the tourist sector are increasingly abundant and offer a great way to see more of the country than a long-term position in one area can provide.

Teaching is a competitive field to find work in unless you fulfil the country-wide requirement for more science, technology and mathematics teachers. Even so, successful applicants will have been chosen based on their teaching experience and qualifications. Upon arrival in the country, teachers must register with the New Zealand Teachers Council so that their qualifications can be assessed by the Qualifications Authority.

While New Zealand has three official languages - English, Maori and New Zealand sign language – most business is undertaken in English and many workers are native speakers. Knowledge of Maori is not normally necessary.

On average, employees in New Zealand work between 37 and 40 hours a week spread across five days. The minimum wage equates to around £9 an hour.

The work-life balance in New Zealand is good - employees are typically entitled to at least four weeks of annual leave each year and the country also has ten public holidays. If you work on a public holiday, your employer is obligated to pay you at a higher rate.

You will be subject to income tax on all earnings, regardless of whether your stay in the country is temporary or long-term. The tax is calculated as follows:

• 10.5% on income up to $14,000
• 17.5% on income between $14,001 and $48,000
• 30% on income between $48,001 and $70,000
• 33% on income over $70,000

In most cases, you will need to secure employment before travelling to New Zealand. There are, however, many worthwhile voluntary opportunities available in the country, particularly for exciting gap-year experiences.

Read more about this country

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