Working in New Zealand

The breathtaking beauty of New Zealand's landscape is not only famous since the making of Tolkien's "The Lord of The Rings". For many people, New Zealand has always been a favourite holiday resort, and the idea of working at the other end of the world is truly thrilling. Nevertheless, it is the New Zealand Government's policy to only let such persons immigrate into the country who have a very good education. So you should have sound professional qualifications.

Entry and residence

No matter why you are heading for New Zealand, you will have to apply for a visa. Thorough planning of your stay pays off as you will have to follow various formalities depending on your personal aims. In particular, you must decide in advance whether you need to apply for a tourist visa or a work permit.

If you want to settle down in New Zealand or want to set up a business, you will need a "Long Term Business Visa", that allows you to work for an initial period of nine months, and that can be prolonged for another three years later on. If the company you work for sets up a subsidiary or branch in New Zealand, you need a visa called "Employees of Relocating Business" allowing for an initial work permit of 24 months. If these do not apply in your case and if you are not an investor willing to invest a minimum of 1 million NZ$ ("Investor Visa"), you will have to fill in the standard form "Application to Work in New Zealand".

However, the granting of a work visa for New Zealand is restricted by various conditions. As an applicant you have to produce a job offer from a New Zealand employer, who has tried everything possible to find a suitable resident employee. Whether you obtain one of the sought-after visas will be decided on the basis of a points system that considers professional qualifications and experience, knowledge of English and the health of the applicant.

If you have successfully taken these steps and hold a valid visa, you are entitled to live and work in New Zealand for a maximum of three years. After these three years have expired - and if homesickness doesn't overcome you - you can apply for a new visa. In principle, the amount of applications for a visa are not restricted.

Job search and CVs

Even though New Zealand also faces problems of unemployment, there is demand for certain jobs. The chance of finding a job are especially good in the IT sector. But also trade and tourism have a demand for qualified personnel. However, the effort of finding the right job should not be underestimated. You should use your contacts and regularly visit online job boards in order not to miss any opportunity.

It should also be a part of your planning that you contact the "New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)" before your departure. This organisation evaluates your academic and economic qualifications by New Zealand standards. As many New Zealand employers attach great value to this, it is advisable, that you apply for this evaluation well in advance.

Certain jobs require a registration the lack of which prevents you from being employed. This applies for example to doctors and lawyers (see links). Your job application should include a cover letter and a short and concise CV that summarises your skills. Certificates and job references do not have to be included; you will be asked to produce these during the selection process.

Working conditions

Even though the sunny weather and the beautiful beaches of New Zealand are more than tempting and indicate a laid back life style, New Zealanders are quite career orientated, and the labour market is fairly competitive. A proficient knowledge of English is an absolute "must" in order to compete with local job seekers. The minimum wage in New Zealand is regulated by laws. The minimum for adolescents (17-17 years) is $ 6.40 per hour, older employees (18 or older) get $ 8.00 per hour.

Every employee is entitled to 3 weeks of paid holiday per year if he has worked for the same employer for at least 12 months.

Health insurance

The New Zealand health system is often compared with a "two class society". This refers to those persons with private health insurance on the one side, and those without on the other side. One of the predominant advantages of a private insurance is the shorter waiting time. It is therefore likely that non private patients have to wait a couple of weeks before they are examined in a public hospital in not so urgent cases whereas private patients are attended to within days.

As the contributions to private health insurance is affordable, many New Zealanders have opted for private insurance. One of the biggest and most popular insurers is Southern Cross. If you plan to stay longer than 24 months in New Zealand you have to hand in a medical certificate and a radiograph. In order to receive the same medical treatment as the inhabitants of New Zealand, you have to stay for a minimum of two years. If your stay is shorter you should take out health insurance cover for abroad.