Moving to New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand

Moving to New Zealand

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South Africans are drawn to New Zealand by its stunning landscapes, high quality of life, and welcoming communities. Today, we look at the visa application process and visa types and offer practical advice for those considering making New Zealand their new home.

Preparing for a visa application when moving to New Zealand

Understanding visa options

New Zealand offers various visa types, catering to different needs such as work, study, and residence. The Skilled Migrant Category, which we unpack below, is popular among professionals seeking long-term opportunities. According to New Zealand Immigration, applicants are assessed on factors like age, work experience, and qualifications.

Application process

The visa application process involves gathering necessary documents, including proof of identity, health certificates, and police clearance. Immigration experts emphasise the importance of accuracy in the application to avoid delays. The official New Zealand Immigration website provides a detailed checklist for applicants preparing for a visa application.

Skilled Migrant Category Resident visa

Apply for a skilled migrant visa if you currently work or you have a job offer from an accredited employer and qualify for 6 points for your skills and work in New Zealand. You may submit an expression of interest (EOI) online.

Skilled Migrant Visa application conditions

Your stay: Indefinite.

Age requirement: 55 years and under.

Cost: From NZD $4290.

You can: Live, work, and study in New Zealand.

Your family: Your residence application includes your partner and children under 24 years of age.

Advantages: If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, you can claim 3 to 6 points for your qualification, New Zealand occupational registration or income.

Important to note: You must have 6 points to apply; you must have a job or job offer with an accredited employer.

Other visa application considerations

When moving to New Zealand, choosing the right visa type is crucial

Identify the visa that best suits your situation. This may not be a Skilled Migrant visa, but rather, for example, a ‘Straight to Residence visa’, Transport Work to Residence visa’, ‘Long-term Skilled Shortage List visa’, or ‘Talent (Accredited Employer) visa’. There are also options for a ‘Parent Retirement Resident visa’, ‘Dependent Child Resident visa’, and ‘Religious Worker Resident visa’.

New Zealand’s immigration website offers a tool to explore and select an appropriate visa.

See a full list of currently available visa options.

Gather the necessary documents early

You will need to provide various documents, including proof of identity, such as passports and acceptable photos (your photo must be less than 6 months old and clearly identify you, and it must also meet all the technical requirements), evidence of good health, and police certificates to demonstrate good character. The requirements for these documents can vary by visa type. For a successful application process, we recommend gathering all the necessary documents early in the application process.

Understanding the financial requirements

Applicants must show they can support themselves financially during their stay. This could involve demonstrating sufficient funds for the duration of your visit or acceptable investments, depending on the visa type.

Meeting the health standards

Most visa applications require health information to ensure you meet New Zealand’s acceptable standard of health. This might include medical examinations and health certificates. Visit the Acceptable standard of health criteria for visa approvals if you are unsure about the health requirements for visa applications.

Proving identity and character

You’ll need to provide evidence of your identity and character. This includes obtaining police certificates from countries you’ve lived in for more than 12 months in the last ten years and ensuring your visa photos meet the specified requirements.

English language proficiency

For certain visas, you must demonstrate your ability to speak and understand English. This can be through approved test results, evidence of an English-speaking background, or, in some cases, purchasing English language lessons.

Is New Zealand Right for You?

Lifestyle and culture

New Zealand is known for its work-life balance, community, and outdoor lifestyle. However, adapting to a new culture requires openness and flexibility. Expats often highlight the initial challenge of integrating into local communities but also the long-term rewards of doing so.

Economic considerations

The cost of living varies across regions, with Auckland and Wellington being more expensive. Despite this, New Zealand offers competitive salaries in sectors such as IT, healthcare, and engineering. Prospective migrants should evaluate their financial readiness and job prospects.

Living and working in New Zealand

New Zealand’s economy is robust, with sectors like agriculture, tourism, and technology driving growth. Networking and local qualifications can enhance job prospects. The government’s Essential Skills Work Visa supports employers in filling skill shortages with overseas talent.

Housing and education

The housing market can be competitive, especially in major cities. Expats recommend starting the search online and considering both renting and buying options. New Zealand’s education system is highly regarded, offering quality public and private schooling options.

Getting Public Health Care when moving to New Zealand

Access and eligibility

Residents and certain visa holders are entitled to publicly funded healthcare. To find out if you qualify and for which services, visit Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand. It is important to note that in New Zealand, although one may be considered to receive free or partially-funded healthcare, the government notes that you are not entitled to it.

Healthcare system overview

New Zealand’s healthcare system includes public and private services. Public healthcare covers most necessary medical services at a low cost. However, waiting times for non-emergency procedures can be lengthy.

If you are pregnant

If you are pregnant, it is important to know that you must be able to cover the costs of your maternity care if you have a temporary visa to visit, study or work in New Zealand, cannot get publicly funded health care, and will be in the country during your pregnancy or for the birth.

Moving to and settling in New Zealand

If your visa application is successful or you already have a visa and you are making the move to New Zealand, visit the free NZ Ready Planning tool or the moving information page to help you plan your move.

Choose Elliott when moving to New Zealand

Elliott’s international team are ready to help you move your belongings abroad. Our top-tier moving services and broad network of partners ensure a stress-free experience for individuals opting to relocate with their belongings. If you are uncertain about the best method to transport your items internationally, our international team is on hand to guide you through the optimal choices for air and sea freight. For those considering shared shipping options, we invite you to explore our piece, “Groupage Services for International Relocations” and our comprehensive international moving guide.

Final thoughts

Moving to New Zealand requires careful planning and consideration. From choosing the right visa to understanding the healthcare system, it’s crucial to be well-informed. By following expert advice and preparing thoroughly, you can make your transition to life in New Zealand as smooth as possible. Whether you’re drawn by career opportunities, the lifestyle, or the natural beauty, New Zealand offers a welcoming and vibrant community for those ready to call it home.

Want to explore more about life in New Zealand? Visit this comprehensive guide to life in New Zealand by InterNations.

Resources and useful information

Please keep in mind that the information in our blogs is for information purposes only. Additionally, country laws and immigration rules change. It is, therefore, essential to get in touch with the local home affairs office and use the current government immigration or citizenship resources they make available to you.


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