How To Move To New Zealand
The complete guide!

Find A Job

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.


Apply For A Visa/Permit

New Zealand, with its stunning scenery and unique wildlife, is a popular destination for tourists and working expats alike. Young Antipodean-bound Britons, along with those of many other nationalities, have for many years treated it as a destination for working holidays. If you too are drawn to New Zealand, then you may need to apply for a visa. Read on for further information.



Whether or not you need a visa to enter New Zealand will depend on your nationality. If you are Australian, you will not need one at all. If you are from a country with which New Zealand has a visa waiver treaty, such as the UK, you may be able to remain in the country for a period of time without a full visa. For some nationalities, such as the UK, this will be six months, whereas for others, it will only be three.

The country’s government has recently introduced a new tourism and transit pass (NZeTA), and if you come from a visa-waiver nation, you will still need to apply for this. You can do so online.

The eTA for New Zealand will grant you multiple entries to the country and is valid for two years. As above, holders of the NZeTA are generally allowed to stay in the country for stays of up to 90 days from their date of arrival, unless they are British, in which case they can remain for six months. Passports must have a minimum validity of at least three months from the expected date of departure from New Zealand.

If you want to stay in the country for more than 90 days, as a tourist, to visit family and friends, or to study a short course, you are likely to need a visitor visa. You will need enough money to support yourself, as well as anyone else included in your application, during your stay.

To apply for a visitor visa, you must:

• Show that you are a genuine tourist or visitor and intend to leave New Zealand at the end of your stay
• Have enough money to live on while you’re in New Zealand or have an acceptable sponsor
• Have a ticket to leave New Zealand or be sponsored for the cost of your onward travel

You can stay in the country for up to nine months on a visitor visa. After this period, you can apply for another visitor visa, or for a work visa if you wish to take up employment.

You can apply for a NZeTA before you travel. It costs NZD $9 (£4.44) on the New Zealand government’s new app, or NZD$12 (£5.92) if you apply online.

You must also pay an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL), which costs NZD $35 (£17.26) and is paid for at the same time as your NZeTA.

A skilled migrant category resident visa costs NZD$2710 (£1336).

A visitor visa costs NZD$211 (£104).

A working holiday visa costs NZD$245 (£120).

You will be able to access your NZeTA pretty much immediately if you apply online.

Visitor visas and student visas can take several months to process, so it is important to apply well before you intend to travel. Some forms of temporary visa can take up to six months to process, such as the skilled migrant visa.

In saying this, the immigration authorities estimate that 90% of visas are processed within 33 days.


Work Permits

Skilled migrant category resident visa

Under this visa, skilled workers are invited to apply for residence. It aims to attract people who have the skills to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth.

The process operates on a points system and is not straightforward. It is based on factors such as age, work experience, qualifications, and whether or not you have an offer of skilled employment. You must not be over 55 years old, and you must meet English language, health, and character requirements.

There are two main stages when applying for this visa:

• Your Expression of Interest (you will need to give details of your employment in New Zealand, work experience, and qualifications)
• Your resident visa application

In many cases, external qualification assessments must be obtained, and you may have to apply for your professional registration.

Business visa

You will be able to travel to New Zealand under this visa for up to three months each year. However, if you are from a visa waiver country, you will not need to apply for a business visa, but can instead enter on a NZeTA.

United Kingdom working holiday visa

You can apply for this type of visa if your main reason for coming to New Zealand is for a holiday, but you want to work or study while you are there. You can apply if you’re 18 to 30 years old and a citizen of the United Kingdom. You must be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom.

You will need at least NZ $350 for each month of your stay, as well as enough money to buy a ticket home.

The visa is valid for 23 months. You can choose to apply for a 12 or 23 month visa.

If you have been working in the horticulture or viticulture industries for three months, you may be able to apply for a working holiday extension work visa while you’re in New Zealand.


Get Health Insurance

Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.

When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.

Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.

Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.

Important questions to ask the insurance provider:

1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?

2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?

3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.

4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?

5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.

6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.

7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.

8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?

9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.

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Rent Or Buy Property


Renting Property

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) in New Zealand has a tenancy website, which is an extremely useful resource for those looking to rent property in the country. It has a plethora of information, which covers everything from tenancy agreements to tribunal applications. It provides guides in several different languages, including English, Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese.

There are two different types of rental tenancies in New Zealand: fixed term and periodic. Fixed term tenancies have pre-determined start and end dates, and cannot be terminated before the agreed tenancy period has ended. Periodic tenancies are considerably more flexible, and tend to work on more of a month-by-month or rolling basis. Periodic tenancies can be terminated by either party, as long as the agreed notice period is met. This notice period can range from 21 to 90 days.

If someone else lives in the house (or apartment) but is not named on the tenancy agreement, then they are considered to be a flatmate. By law, the named tenant is responsible for the entirety of the rent, which means that the flatmate is essentially only responsible for paying their portion of the money to the named tenant. When signing a tenancy contract, you will likely need to provide references and identification. When renting a room, you may just need identification and proof of earnings.

Rent in New Zealand is typically advertised as a weekly price instead of a monthly one. Legally, landlords can only ask for up to two weeks’ rent in advance, depending on whether you will pay your rent on a weekly or fortnightly basis. A deposit/bond can only be the equivalent of up to four weeks’ rent. You should always be given a receipt upon paying your deposit, as your landlord must lodge it with the New Zealand Tenancy Services within 23 days. Tenancy Services will hold your deposit money until your tenancy at the property ends.

There is an option in New Zealand, which is quite uncommon in many other countries, to pay a holding fee of up to a week’s worth of rent. This is done if you are interested in renting the property, but are not yet ready to commit, or if you need to wait for certain information or documents. If you then agree to the tenancy contract, the landlord must either give this holding fee back to you, or must deduct it from your first rent payment.

Landlords and their agents can neither charge you a letting fee for granting you a tenancy, nor ‘key money’. In nearly all circumstances, the landlord is responsible for insuring the building; the tenants need only be responsible for insuring the contents appropriately. Local council rates are paid by the landlord, but day-to-day running costs, such as electricity and gas, are paid by the tenant. You will need to check with your landlord or the letting agents to see whether you are responsible for paying the water bill, and this will sometimes depend on whether the property has a water metre.

Usually, people find rentals through a letting agent. A popular privately operated website in New Zealand is called TradeMe Property. People looking for new flatmates also advertise on TradeMe in the ‘Flatmates wanted’ section. Boarding house vacancies are also advertised there. Alternatively, you can look at adverts in local papers or pinned up on bulletin boards. Some houses may also advertise vacancies on a sign.

Rent prices vary, depending on a number of factors, including the property’s size and location. Trademe Property has a property price index, which you can read here. The index reports that rental prices are at an all time high in New Zealand, claiming: “Tenants around the country started the New Year with record-breaking rents after the national median weekly rent rose 4 per cent in January 2019, to a new high of *$515 per week, according to the latest Trade Me Rental Price Index.”

A quick look around the website’s rental section shows that, on the lower end of the spectrum, renting a furnished bedroom in a shared house in Auckland can cost around $180 per week. A small one-bedroom apartment in Auckland will likely cost you upwards of $250 per week. The further from the main cities you go, the more you get for your money.


Buying Property

Property prices in New Zealand have been increasing by as much as 11.8% each year. In major cities, property prices have been growing exponentially.

At one point, the housing market was open to investors worldwide, but in a bid to curb the rising house prices and increase native home ownership, the government implemented a ban on foreigners buying homes. As it stands, only foreigners with residency status are able to buy homes in New Zealand, as will as Australians and Singaporeans.

The process of buying a property in New Zealand is quite straightforward, and not dissimilar to how it looks in many other developed countries. It can take as little as three to four weeks to complete a house purchase from beginning to end. Once a bid is formally accepted, last minute offers cannot be considered. Generally, most sales in New Zealand are dealt with through a licensed real estate agent, and only a small proportion of sales are handled privately. Whichever route you decide on, it is still a good idea to get independent advice from a lawyer, before you purchase anything.

It is a good idea to have a consultation with a mortgage provider and get pre-approved for a loan, so that you know what your budget is. Always view the property yourself, and pay an independent surveyor to look it over and check for any potential problems. Your agent should be able to walk you through the rest of the steps.

The ever popular TradeMe is every Kiwi’s go-to for all things property related, whether buying, renting, sharing, etc. You will also likely spot “For Sale” signs when you’re out and about. Alternatively, there are real estate agents that you can work with to find your perfect property.

Home loans are available from all major banks in New Zealand. You can contact them directly, and many banks even have a “migrant banking” service with multilingual staff available. You can also work through mortgage brokers, who negotiate with the banks on your behalf.

You will typically need to have between 20% and 30% deposit to put down to get approved for a mortgage. You may need to present your previous credit history from your home country if you have not yet built up a substantial enough credit history in New Zealand.

*All prices in this article are shown in New Zealand Dollars.


Move Your Belongings

Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.

Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.

If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.

The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).

Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.

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Register For Healthcare

QUICK LINK: New Zealand health insurance

The standards of healthcare services in New Zealand are quite high. The hospitals in this country are capable of handling patients with all types of illnesses including chronic conditions. There are however a few exceptions that may require patients to travel abroad for further treatment.

The public healthcare system has high standards. Subsidized healthcare is accessible to all citizens, specific visitors, and permanent residents. The standards of the New Zealand healthcare system can be compared to those of Germany or France. Although the state covers a major share of the cost of medical treatment, citizens are expected to make small contributions to cover their healthcare. Unlike the British National Health Service, New Zealand requires visitors and expats to cover their healthcare costs.

New Zealand’s ministry of health funds the state’s healthcare system. The District Health Board meets the objective of the government by spending allocated funds in the most cost-effective way. The funding buys healthcare services from providers such as hospitals, family doctors, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions.

New Zealand’s healthcare system has been in place since 1993 and has contributed to the reformation of most hospitals. It has effectively boosted healthy competition in the healthcare sector, which has helped people to access quality healthcare at some of the best rates in the world. However, this has not been without its fair share of challenges. The healthcare system in New Zealand is increasingly feeling the pressure of dealing with an increase in demand for healthcare services.

Politicians have found ways to reduce the healthcare budget to lessen the burden on taxpayers. Some hospitals ended up closing and the waiting list for non-emergency treatment has increased significantly. Disruption of services is frequent with the government experimenting with different measures to provide better healthcare services at a lower cost. The rise in the number of chronic diseases and increase in population has created challenges for the state’s healthcare system. The provided budget is not enough to pay medical staff as well as provide medical supplies.

According to the New Zealand Medical Association, there is shortage of rural general practitioners and professionals in some branches of medicine. Many doctors have big student debts and prefer to work abroad and earn higher salaries. Although you will not be turned away from a hospital when you need emergency medical attention, it is important to obtain medical insurance to cover your healthcare costs. The country does not deduct social security health contributions as the cost of providing health services is met by taxation. Many New Zealanders have tried alternative therapies to treat certain medical conditions. Some of the most used alternative therapies include homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractic services, and osteopathy.

Alcohol related diseases are very common in New Zealand. There are few cases of smoking related disease. Research indicates that poverty related diseases such as TB and rickets are increasing. The infant mortality rate currently stands at six deaths for a thousand live births and the life expectancy has decreased to 78 years.

Hospital inpatient treatment is provided for free whereas outpatient and non-hospital treatment is catered for by the patient albeit at a subsidized cost. Low-income earners can apply for a Community Services Card, which allows them to get discounted healthcare services. There are no special charges for specific groups, though free doctor services are provided to children under the age of six. On the other hand, pensioners are not entitled to reduced healthcare service costs unless they are in the low-income category. Optical and dental services are not catered for in the state healthcare scheme.

As an alternative to public healthcare, some people use private health treatment to seek second opinions and for complementary medicine. You may pay for private healthcare through insurance or with cash. However, most people accessing private healthcare use private health insurance to avoid the long waiting lists associated with public hospitals. People with medical insurance cover can go to the hospital or healthcare professional of their choice. However, it is important to ensure that the private healthcare provider you choose is qualified to provide the relevant treatment.

Professionals in public hospitals in New Zealand are just as qualified as those in private hospitals. Do not make the mistake of assuming that a doctor in private practice is more experienced than one in a public hospital. In many cases, doctors work in shifts alternating between private and public hospitals because of the huge demand for their services.

Public healthcare system does not cover the medical treatment of people involved in an accident. The treatment is instead covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation. The benefits of the scheme include catering for surgery, specialists, medicine, hospital care, and doctors fee regardless of who or how the accident occurred.

In case of a medical emergency, call 111 and ask for an ambulance, which will take you to the nearest hospital. The ambulance service is free of charge and is provided by different institutions depending on the region you are in. Teams of paramedics provide ambulance services to people in need of emergency medical care. There are car and helicopter ambulances for remote areas. Trained search and rescue teams and doctors are usually dispatched to remote areas in case of accidents. These specialists are able to perform minor surgeries and treatments on the spot.

If your condition does not require a hospital visit, you can consult a family doctor. Some towns have after hours health centers where you see a surgeon or general practitioner when your doctor’s office is closed. Accident Info Services is a company that offers telephone information services and helps callers to access the healthcare services. The company provides information to people looking for doctors and hospitals in various locations. You can access their services by calling 0800-263345 or 09-5290488.


Open A Bank Account

There two categories of financial institutions in New Zealand: registered banks and other financial institutions. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand does not fit in any of the two categories and acts as the central bank of the country. The role it plays is similar to that of the Federal Reserve Bank in the US or the Bank of England in the UK. Apart from managing the money supply, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand implements the financial policy of the country, controls the exchange rate, supervises commercial banks, and acts as a registrar for government stocks.

Saving banks in New Zealand were in the past mutual organizations owned by investors or members. They focused on mortgages for residential property and personal savings. The deregulation of the financial sector during the 1980s led to the introduction of commercial banks. Their expertise in marketing and expanded financial influence have made them dominate the financial market in the country making most saving banks to change to commercial or registered banks. The transformation of the industry has allowed people to easily access banking services, mortgages, and loans.

The two major banks in New Zealand are Australia-New Zealand Bank and the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB). ASB is has been rated the best in customer satisfaction for several years. Although it is Australian-owned, the bank of New Zealand is one of the largest banks in the country. The Westpac NZ and National Bank have the largest market share in the country.

Some banks are internet or telephone based. For example, PSIS is a financial institution owned by customers. It offers banking services that are operated by the Bank of New Zealand. The AMP insurance group also provides banking services. Around 12 percent of New Zealand banks are operated through indigenous banks. The banking operations of Australian banks are separate so clients of the Australian Westpac cannot gain access to their Australian accounts in the New Zealand Westpac.

Aside from local registered banks, there are a number of international banks that have branches in New Zealand. They are mostly located in Auckland and Wellington, which are the two biggest cities. Foreign-owned banks may not have branches all over the country. There are also leasing companies and merchant banks that cater to the business industry. They are not allowed to collect deposits from any registered banks or the public. Finance companies are not viewed as registered banks, but they provide credits such as time purchases and loans.

New Zealand banks are efficient. The staff are informal and friendly. Cashless banking has reduced the amount of cash going through bank counters. The banks operate from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Many banks do not open during weekends and public holidays.

Opening a bank account in New Zealand is easy and can be done either upon arrival in the country or prior to getting there. To open an account, you need to have a resident or work visa. You can open the account online in some banks while in others, you will be required you to present relevant documents in person. Unless you visit the bank in person, you will not be able to use your account for transfers or withdrawals. Other requirements for opening an account include a driver’s license, a passport size photo, and an opening balance of around 10 to 500 New Zealand dollars. If you have an IRD number from the Inland Revenue, you will be required to provide it as well. The IRD is not a mandatory requirement for opening an account, but you will pay a resident withholding tax of 33 percent without it.

If you plan to apply for an overdraft, mortgage, or loan in the near future make sure you get a reference from your home country’s bank manager. The reference will prove that your account has a steady flow of funds. Once you activate your bank account, you will be given a debit or credit card. Many New Zealand banks charge maintenance, ATM withdrawal, and manual transaction fees. Checks are not popular because many people have switched to online payment systems for direct transfers and for settling bills. It is advisable to minimize the number of cash transactions you conduct and use electronic banking to minimize bank charges. Find out if there is a flat fee option, which is cheaper if you have to conduct many transactions monthly.

Regular bills like gas, electricity, rent, mortgage, or telephone can be paid directly from your bank account. The bank gives you a form that you will need to complete and return. This serves to protect you from loss resulting from fraud or errors in the system. You can also open a safety box account, which you can use to store your valuables. The yearly rent for a deposit box is 50 New Zealand Dollars and above depending on the bank you use. In addition, it comes with a key bond of 80 NZD that you will have to pay for. Registered banks offer non-banking services such as pensions and life insurance and other services such as securities including bonds, shares, and stock.

The use of debit and credit cards is popular in New Zealand. Most hotels, shops, garages, and restaurants accept them. Credit and charge cards are given by most banks to people who are 18 and above. Some banks will only provide credit to clients with specific types of accounts. The service costs between one and dollar four dollars, and interest is charged from the date of withdrawal. International credit and debit cards including Diners Club, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted and used in New Zealand. You can safely walk around New Zealand without actual cash and still manage to shop.

Credit fraud is one of the biggest problems experienced by most banks. If you lose your credit card, report it immediately to the issuer. Credit card fraud is a serious offense and law enforcement agents usually protect people from liability in case they incur losses as a result of a stolen or lost credit card.


Transfer Money

There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.

International Bank Transfers

For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.

Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.

You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.

When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.

As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.

As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.

Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals

Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.

You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.

Currency Brokers

Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.

Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.

A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:

1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.

2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.

3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.

Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.

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Learn The Language

New Zealand is a popular destination among English-speaking expats, as it is an English-speaking nation. As part of the British Commonwealth, the English that is spoken in New Zealand is close to British English and Britons rarely have any difficulty in making themselves understood in the country.

New Zealand has three official languages:

• English
• Māori
• New Zealand Sign Language

Māori, an Eastern Polynesian language closely related to Tahitian and the language of the Cook Islands, has been an official language in law since 1987. It can be used in legal settings, such as in court, but proceedings are recorded in English, unless private arrangements are made and agreed by the presiding judge. It declined after the Second World War, but since the 1970s the language has undergone a process of revitalisation.

Other languages spoken in New Zealand include:

• Samoan
• Hindi
• Mandarin Chinese
• French
• Yue Chinese

You will not need to take language classes in New Zealand if you are an English-speaking expat. If you are interested in languages, and wish to do so, or if you are working in a business with a number of Māori clients, you will find provision for learning te reo Māori (‘the language’), said to be an easy tongue to learn! It did not initially have a written form and today uses the Latin alphabet. Around 149,000 people in New Zealand currently speak it to some degree.

If you are not a native English speaker and are intending to come to New Zealand to learn the language in an immersive environment, you will find plenty of provision in private language schools or with one-to-one tuition. The New Zealand government website has details of English language training, including for purposes of citizenship.

If you are an English language teacher yourself, there is work available in English teaching in New Zealand, although you will find that there is considerable local competition. Obviously, local New Zealanders do not need to learn the language, but it is taught to children and adults who come to the country from elsewhere, usually South East Asia, to learn English in a native-speaking environment. It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA.

You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in summer schools: there are a number of these around Auckland and Christchurch, mainly teaching South East Asian children whose parents want them to learn English in an English-speaking country.

It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree although most language schools in New Zealand do not formally require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work.

Teaching English is comparatively highly paid: in the region of US$3000 per month. Peak hiring times are November/December and most jobs are located in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, either in the summer school programmes mentioned above or in private language schools. You will need a work visa, which is organised according to a points system.


Choose A School

New Zealand’s education system has three levels:

• early childhood education: from birth to school entry age
• primary and secondary education: from 5 to 19 years of age
• further education: higher and vocational education

You will find plenty of kindergarten provision, managed by a Kindergarten Association. Most accept children between 2-5 years. They will have morning and afternoon sessions for different age groups and may also have all-day education and care or part-day sessions. Some offer a Māori immersion environment but most will be conducted in English, which is one of the official languages of New Zealand. Some pre-school care may be government funded.

Education is free between the ages of 5-19 at state schools if your child is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident, although you may need to pay for things like stationery and school uniforms. You may need to provide the school with evidence of your child’s visa status, but if your child is not eligible to enrol as a domestic student they may still be able to enrol as an international student.

Schooling is compulsory from ages 6-16.

Primary education begins at Year 1 and runs to Year 8 (around 5-12 years of age). Children can attend either a contributing primary school (one which is a couple of years shorter than full primary education, running from Years 1-6 rather than Years 1-8), or a full primary school. Contributing primary schools are more common than full primary schools, so if your child attends one of these, you will need to enrol them with an intermediate school to complete Years 7 and 8.

You may also enrol your child in a ‘state integrated’ school: one which is run according to specific religious or alternative educational principles, for example, Montessori or Steiner schools.

Secondary education runs from Year 9 to Year 13 (around 13-17 years of age) but students may stay on, depending on grades and inclination.

School enrolment is zoned, so your choice of public secondary education will depend on your location. If you want your child to attend a state school outside your zoning area, you must contact the school directly. This may depend on the number of places available and acceptance will not be guaranteed.

Primary education focuses on foundation learning across a range of subjects and competencies but emphasises literacy and numeracy. The secondary curriculum consists of a broad range of subjects, such as history, maths, geography and science, with some specialisation possible in Years 11-13.

Schools that teach in the English language use the New Zealand Curriculum. Those that teach in the Māori language use Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (a curriculum based on Māori philosophies).

At the end of your child’s schooling, they will be tested for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) the national senior secondary school qualification. Your child will normally be assessed during their last three years at school. They can achieve NCEA at three levels in a wide range of courses and subjects.

Students may begin to specialise in vocational learning at senior secondary school level and there are a number of programmes available:

• Youth Guarantee courses: these provide students aged 16–19 with an opportunity to study vocationally-focused courses towards NCEA Level 1-3 or Level 1-3 certificates at tertiary providers free of charge
• Trades academies: these teach trades and technology programmes to students in years 11-13 (ages 15-18). They are run through schools and other providers
• Institutes of technology and polytechnics: these institutions teach professional and vocational education and training from introductory studies to degrees
• Industry training organisations: these represent particular industries (for example, agriculture, building and construction, the motor trade). They offer training and qualifications for those sectors. They are funded by the government and by industry

The school year runs from early February – mid-December for primary schools, late January – late November/early December for secondary schools and polytechnics, and from late February – mid-November for universities.

Public education in New Zealand is of an excellent standard and regularly ranks very highly in OECD educational rankings. Its PISA rating is high. You may, however, choose to enrol your child in the private educational system. Here you will have to pay fees: on average around NZ$20K per annum (US$13K).

The Association of Independent Schools of New Zealand lists all independent schools in the country, and you can contact them for information regarding all aspects of private education.

You will find plenty of choice in the private sector, such as Kristin School, which is an independent private co-educational school from kindergarten through to year 13. Fees are in the region of NZ $28,500 – 35,950 per year (US$18K -22K) and the school offers the International Baccalaureate.

As another example, Auckland Normal Intermediate School is a two-year school catering to students aged 11-13 years and based on the French concept of école normale. It is is co-ed and state-funded with boarding facilities, and is an IB World School with the IB Primary Years Programme. Tuition rates are NZ $12,300 per year (just under US$8K).

Some schools may offer the English National Curriculum, such as the co-educational ACG Parnell College in Auckland which offers GCSE/A Level tuition. Fees here are NZ$19,280 – NZ$27,800 (US$12K – 18K) per annum.

Overall, whether you choose the state or the private sector, your child will receive an excellent standard of education during their time in this country.


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