It looks like New Zealand’s international borders will progressively reopen to the world in 2022 (new Covid variants permitting, of course). So if you’re planning to move to New Zealand from the UK, and have never lived here before, here are some key things to know.
First of all, check if you can travel
In November 2021, the New Zealand Government announced that, as of 30 April 2022, fully vaccinated foreign travellers will be allowed into the country, with all visitors needing to self-isolate for seven days.
But remember: travel advice can change quickly, so before you quit your job and pack your bags, make sure you read the latest updates on Immigration.govt.nz – and be prepared to change your plans if need be.
Your visa options
This is another key area that have seen several changes in the past few years. Generally speaking, Immigration NZ offers a number of temporary work visa options to UK citizens, including working holiday visas for people aged 18-30 years, essential skills work visas of up to three years (which can be renewed indefinitely), long-term skill shortage list visas, and more. You can find an up-to-date list here.
There’s also a skilled migrant category resident visa, for people aged 55 years or under. Again, eligibility criteria and processing times may vary, so make sure you always refer to the Immigration NZ website for the most current information. It may also be a good idea to contact an immigration adviser, to discuss next steps.
Are your skills in demand?
Most work visa options in New Zealand require applicants to have demonstrable work experience and qualifications, with some visas being only available to occupations on a skill-shortage list.
The Skill Shortage List Checker on the Immigration NZ website is a good place to start. Simply enter your occupation to find out the skill level classification, see if your job is on any skill shortage list, and explore your visa options.
And if you’d like to view pay ranges, you can find a salary guide and lots of helpful resources on Careers.govt.nz.
How does the cost of living in New Zealand compare?
Cost comparisons vary widely depending on where in the UK you come from, and where in New Zealand you’re going to. For more information, you may find some ballpark figures in our previous article ‘Cost of Living: How do the UK and New Zealand compare?’.
Will you qualify for public healthcare?
Public healthcare is free or low cost in New Zealand for citizens, people who hold a NZ resident class visa, and those who hold a work visa entitling them to remain for two years or more. Click here to learn more about eligibility criteria for publicly funded health services.
On top of this, everyone in New Zealand – regardless of their immigration status – is covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)’s no-fault scheme if they suffer a personal injury, which can be either work or non-work related. The financial compensation covers the costs of your recovery, which can include payment towards treatment, help with your income, and help at home and work.
Many people also have private health insurance to get faster access to treatment, but strictly speaking, this is only compulsory for people on a student visa or a working holiday visa. Once you’re in New Zealand, you may consider discussing your needs with an insurance adviser.
North Island or South Island?
You may be surprised, but although similar culturally, there are many differences between the North Island and the South Island.
According to Stats NZ, three in four New Zealanders live in the North Island, although with 3.7 million people, it certainly isn’t over-populated. Most of the largest cities, including Auckland and Wellington, are on the North Island, whereas in the South Island you can find smaller towns reliant on agriculture and fishing, and a more laid-back atmosphere.
While the South Island is more than 30 per cent larger by land surface area than the North Island, a lot of it is occupied by the Southern Alps and fjords. It’s also generally a lot colder in winter, so if you’re into warmer climates and sub-tropical beaches, then the North Island is more likely to suit your taste. Lastly, salaries are generally higher in the North Island, especially in the cities – but so is the cost of living.
Some pros and cons of living in New Zealand
Moving to the opposite side of the world is not an easy decision to make, so it’s important to understand the full picture. Many people enjoy the beautiful scenery, the temperate climate, and New Zealanders’ friendly and relaxed attitude. But for others, New Zealand’s isolation is a negative factor, as flying to and from anywhere can be long and generally expensive. Plus, for some fields of employment, career options might be limited.
Whether New Zealand will be your ‘next home’ or not, only time will tell. The key thing is to carefully consider all the positives and negatives before jumping on the next plane. And if you decide that New Zealand is for you…
We’re here to help
If you choose to move to New Zealand, keep us in mind: we’re UK pension transfer experts. We can help you understand if a pension transfer is an appropriate move for you, so that you can make a well-informed decision about your future.
Like to know more? Click here to contact us.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current developments or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance. Past fund performance is no guarantee of future returns.