Immigration Tips
You may just be curious at this stage and simply day dreaming about immigrating to New Zealand in which case here are a few pointers that may be helpful,  alternatively you might be already applying for your which case you may already have come across some kind of 'chicken & egg' scenario with each stage of the process being dependent on something else needing to be sorted first.  It can be a little frustrating but it may help to remember that this might be one of those times when all you can do is be patient and persevere which is easier said than done especially if you need things to happen quickly.

If you are serious about starting the immigration process be prepared to supply any information needed and try not to get too frustrated if it feels like your future is in the hands of someone else and there's nothing you can do about it.

If you think New Zealand would be really lucky to have you but you have to go through the same procedures and jump through the same hoops as everyone else, don't be surprised and don't take it personally.  At the end of the day the process is there for a reason, it all makes good sense in the end and well worth the effort.

Everyone's circumstances will be different however the process will probably include some of the following:-

  • Deciding whether immigration is the right thing for you and your family
  • Applying for and obtaining the correct visa
  • Selling existing property
  • Leaving family and friends
  • Leaving jobs
  • Moving pets
  • Deciding what to sell/bring
  • Shipping belongings 
  • Finding temporary accommodation and rentals
  • Buying a property
  • Settling in and adjusting to your new life

Deciding if immigration is the right thing for your and your family

If you are single then it's probably going to be part of a big adventure.  If you have a family then it's probably going to be part of an even bigger adventure!  Everyone will have different reasons for considering immigration, it works for some and not for others but if you spend time doing thorough research first, it may increase the chances of your relocation being successful.

Ask yourself a few hard questions and be honest, think about the following in more detail.

  • Can you afford the lifestyle you are dreaming of?

  • Will you be able to maintain the standard of living you have been accustomed to, are you happy to make some compromises if not?
  • Do you think you will be able to find work and at the level you have been used to or at a level you would be comfortable with, could you manage on this income?
  • Have you checked the rate of pay and living costs that will apply to you in New Zealand?

Applying for and obtaining the correct visa
You can apply for this yourself or use an agency to advise you and apply on your behalf. Regulations require
immigration advisers to be licensed so check this is the case. Click here to find out more about the different kinds of visas.

Selling existing property
This will always come down to individual circumstances and taking into account the current housing market and currency exchange rates, both where you live and in New Zealand. 

If the market is booming, chances are you will have no problem selling your property but if it's a slow market you may have to sit it out or consider renting your property.  This can cause delays in allowing you to really settle in New Zealand, especially if you have been used to owning your own home.  On the plus side, if you are forced into waiting a while and have to rent for longer than you originally planned to, it will give you a much better idea about what you are looking for, the area that is right for you and a better understanding of the housing market and buying real estate in New Zealand.

Leaving family & friends
If you have family and friends that you are leaving there is no getting around the fact that it is probably one of the hardest things to do.  Even if you are the toughest cookie there will most likely be something or someone that will really pull on the heart strings. It isn't easy, try to get things into perspective, remember what your reasons were for considering emigration in the first place and be prepared to give things a chance to work.

The easiest method of keeping in touch that works for you can be fairly quickly established, it's just a matter of working out the best times to phone or Skype given the difference in time zones.  Emails are great because both parties can fit them into their day but to start with you may need to talk on the phone. Once you have a land line enquire about the best option for making international calls to keep your bill down or buy a phone card with pre paid credit on.

If you are homesick it isn't going to help if you think about nothing but home.  Get out and about, keep busy, and try to get involved by joining new clubs, trying new sports or there is a great volunteer organisation if you have some spare time on your hands which will help someone else at the same time it helps you.

Leaving jobs
If you need to give notice to your employer, wait until you are absolutely sure you are going ahead with the move before doing so, just in case there is a hitch or you change your mind, it could backfire on you!  Telling colleagues about your emigration plans are probably best left until after you have spoken to your boss, this kind of news has a habit of spreading very fast and it's better that your boss hears it from you first. 

Whether you are self employed or employed, check what you need to do regarding your tax responsibilities and pensions, if you are keeping any property or will continue to have some kind of income, you may need to look at having a tax agent who can take care of this for you.

Moving Pets
The following link can help with this in more detail;

Deciding What to Sell/Bring
If you are not sure what to keep, store or sell, try to find out how much a replacement item would cost to buy in New Zealand, if you can't afford new then check out second hand prices on a popular New Zealand website Trademe.  

The larger electrical items all seem to work fine apart from televisions, DVD and video players will work with any existing compatible DVD's and videos however may not work with new ones bought in New Zealand.  Fridges, freezers and washing machines can take up a lot of space and should be thoroughly dried before being transported. Computers, cookers, (cookers are generally left in the house for the new purchaser in NZ), tumble dryers and small electrical items are all fine, just put a new plug on when you arrive. Many houses have built in wardrobes but bedside tables and drawers are handy. Garden furniture and bikes, (are quite expensive to replace here) are worth bringing, you will need to give these all a good clean and wash with disinfectant to get them through customs but it's worth it, same with tools and outdoor children's toys.

Possessions that are of sentimental value, photos, certificates, heirlooms etc are all irreplaceable and will make you feel more at home.

Shipping Belongings
This is something that needs to be given serious consideration and the earlier you start to think about what you want to bring with you, the better.  The cost will vary depending on the total volume of your belongings and whether you 'share' or have 'sole use' of the container space.  Someone from the shipping company will usually come to your property and provide you with a quote, it is best to obtain at least 2 or 3 prices to compare costs and their service options.  You only get one shot at this unless you pay for another container or additional space, so the more you can decide at this stage, the easier it will be later on.  It is surprising how much 'stuff' you actually have tucked away in all those drawers and cupboards!

Be as organised as you can, the shipping company send people to pack for you, they will make an inventory as they pack for customs and work quite quickly. It may be several weeks or months before you see your possessions again so the more information about what's in each box, the better. 

Remember to pack your case with the items you want to take with you. If your container goes before you are leaving and you are still in your house or rental, it might be a good idea to borrow a few essential items from friends and family until you leave. 


A few tips....

  • Items considered dangerous and cannot be transported; ammunition, paint, oils, cleaning fluids, charcoal, batteries, gas cylinders (unless emptied/purged), lighters, matches.
  • If you have accumulated 'no claims discount' on you car insurance, bring a copy of your certificate of insurance with details of your 'no claims discount'. If you intend on buying a car when you arrive then your 'no claims discount' can be transferred to your car insurance here as long as you can provide proof of the discount you are entitled to. 
  • Pack some extension leads with multiple sockets and buy some NZ electrical adapters before you leave. It is cheaper and they will prove useful when your container first arrives until you have time to change over the plugs.
  • If you have any flat pack furniture, take this apart to save space in the container, put the screws and bolts in a plastic bag taped to the furniture. It can be hard to find the small items amongst your belongings and it may be some time before you put them together again.
  • If you are keeping a bank account in the country that you are leaving, arrange to have internet and telephone banking facilities in place and keep bank details including passwords and security codes with you so you can access them from any where.
  • If you have children, pack a favourite teddy or a few toys in their suitcase for a bit of familiarity. All other toys will have to go into the container and won't be seen for the next few weeks.


Finding Temporary Accommodation & Rentals

There are various options regarding accommodation for when you first arrive.  Unless your container went well ahead of you and is waiting for you in New Zealand on your arrival, you will probably need to find some temporary furnished accommodation first.

The rates will vary depending on the season and for the length of time you require the accommodation for.  If you are staying in the same accommodation for a reasonable length of time, rates can be negotiated. However remember that the high season last through December to February and you may have to pay a premium rental rate during this period as this will be an extremely valuable time for businesses and probably crucial to their continued success and survival.  

Things to consider:-

If you find a rental through an agent, you may have to pay a fee amounting to approximately one week's rental, enter into a Tenancy Agreement and pay a deposit to the Department of Building and Housing. The deposit is refundable if the inspection of the property is satisfactory when you leave. More Info


If you are going to be responsible for paying the utility bills, you may need to allow extra funding to pay for a new connection.  If you have been used to paying quarterly bills, in New Zealand, electricity and telephone are paid for monthly.

Televisions do not require a license. Sky TV is available in New Zealand

Water in the towns and cities is mainly provided via a mains water supply however rural properties may obtain water from a rural water scheme, rain water or natural bore water.

Buying a Property

Buying a property in New Zealand can be a relatively straight forward process. Viewing properties for sale is mostly carried out at 'Open Homes' held at the weekend by the Real Estate Agent selling the property. Open Homes allow a large number of people to view a property and only inconveniences the owners or tenants for half an hour each week. (Plus the 2 days of cleaning and preparation before the Open Home)! Interested buyers make offers directly to the Real Estate Agent who negotiates the sale on the perspective buyer's behalf with the owners.

Settling in and adjusting to your new life

Of course it will be different for everyone, some people will take to their new life like a duck to water whilst others struggle to find the right 'fit' for them. It's a pretty big move, lots of changes all happening at the same time, new information to take on board and plenty of adjustments to be made.   Exciting and scary at the same time, the familiarity you were accustomed to is replaced with knowing only a few of the basics.

Take one step at a time but be prepared to do a few steps quite quickly and fairly closely together when you first arrive, however things will gradually calm down and the list of 'things to do' will become less and less until some kind of order and routine establishes.

If you are finding it hard to settle

The length of time it take to settle will vary considerably depending on individual circumstances, two years seems to be a point where many will feel truly settled. If you have friends or family that can offer advice or support, it will really help. If not try to get out and about and get to know a few people you can turn to if you need help with anything but it's surprising how resourceful and resilient you can be when you have to be.

Try not to get too despondent or give up too easily if it seems harder for you to settle than for others and try not to put on those 'rose tinted glasses' when you recall how your life was in the country you have left, don't keep looking back, however slowly you do it, try to move forwards.  Keep looking for new ways to meet people and making friends and contacts.  It will take a little while to actually replace everything in your life, 'Rome wasn't built in a day' so you may have to work at it before it all falls into place.  Just get out there, keep trying to make it work, bounce back if you have a few knock backs and eventually you'll get there.

One of the best place to start looking for advice about immigration to New Zealand is on the New Zealand Government's website:- and working in New Zealand.











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