Finding a job in New Zealand

Samuel Clennett
08.11.19
5 minute read

Recently, there’s been a rise in interest among Australian residents looking to move to New Zealand, but numbers moving between the two countries have always been fairly high.

Whether you’re tempted to make the move because of family ties, career options, or simply desire for a change of scene, close relations between the two countries mean that you won’t get the sort of culture shock you would if you moved further afield. There are still differences, though.

Finding a job is one thing that can always be tough, especially when moving abroad. This article will give you some tips on finding work in New Zealand if you’re coming from Australia.

What is life like in New Zealand?

It’s not just Australians who are keen to move to New Zealand: Aotearoa is one of the world’s top destinations for expats according to HSBC – in fifth place globally, one in front of Australia¹.

What makes it so great? The stunning natural beauty of the place is a key reason, and of course it’s a particularly great place to live if you like exploring the great outdoors. But its cities are also renowned as some of the most liveable places in the world: Auckland and Wellington in particular boast superb quality of life. People are easygoing and hospitable, and they’re used to having Australians around: there are some 62,000 Australian-born people in the country, according to the 2013 census.

Is it all great? Not quite. Public transport is notoriously bad. Food is on the pricey side, too.

Do you need a visa to work in New Zealand?

If you’re a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, you have the right to live and work in New Zealand. You do need a visa – the Australian Resident Visa – but you can just get one when you arrive at the border².

So, no months of planning, no expensive trips to the embassy, no uncertainty: it’s a lot easier than emigration usually is. You literally can’t apply for a visa before you get there.

If you don’t have permanent Australian residence or citizenship, on the other hand, you’ll have to go through the conventional procedure.

If you’re an Australian permanent resident (i.e. not a citizen), you will need a little bit of paperwork before your trip: the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA)³.

Is there an age restriction to working in New Zealand as a foreigner?

This isn’t something you need to worry about: the Australian Resident Visa has you covered.

What about tax?

Tax sometimes gets tricky when people move between countries, and this may even be the case with two closely linked countries like New Zealand and Australia. They have different standard income years, for example: while in Australia the year normally runs from 1 July to 30 June, in New Zealand it’s normally 1 April to 31 March⁴.

The good news, though, is that the basic rule for tax is pretty simple: residents (of either country) are taxed on all the income they earn worldwide⁴. So the key question is simply which country you count as “resident” in. If you’re actually moving to New Zealand to work, it’ll probably be New Zealand.

There is a double taxation agreement between the countries, so you shouldn’t ever have to pay tax on the same income twice.

Where to look for jobs in New Zealand

Here are a few of the best ways to find work.

Online

True to form for an immigration-friendly country, the New Zealand government has some helpful online resources about finding work.

While you’re still abroad, you can check out two jobs websites that specialize in finding posts for migrants:

It’s sometimes useful to be more specific, too, so do check if there are any jobs sites that specialize in your particular line of work. For instance, there are specialist sites for healthcare jobs, education jobs, farming jobs, jobs in science, and so forth. The government has a detailed list of industry-specific jobs sites you can browse too.

Or, there are more general jobs sites like Seek and Trademe.

New Kiwis

There’s also another government-run scheme called New Kiwis, which aims to connect migrants looking for work in New Zealand with employers who are looking. It’s free to use, so could be well worth checking out.

Recruitment agencies

Don’t forget about recruitment agencies too, if you want someone to assist you personally in the search. There’s a list provided on the government site once again.

Networking

Don’t forget about networking: a personal connection can go a surprisingly long way. Do you have any existing connections to New Zealand? Whether it’s work contacts, family or friends, now could be the time to call in favours, and to start attending any useful-sounding events. You never know where the perfect lead is going to come from.

Opening a bank account in New Zealand

One thing that’s always difficult when you move abroad is sorting out your finances. Moving to New Zealand is no exception. You will certainly need to open up a New Zealand bank account when you make the move – even though some of the names of New Zealand’s top banks, like ANZ and Westpac, may look pretty familiar to you as an Australian. Other options include BNZ, ASB and Kiwibank (owned by New Zealand Post).

You can often get the process started from overseas, and may even be able to get an account number before you get there. But to start using your account, you’ll likely still have to visit a branch with proof of ID and proof of your New Zealand address – things that might well have to wait until after you’ve moved.

That still leaves a potential awkward period as you get set up. And of course the other problem you’ll face is how to get some of your Australian dollars converted to New Zealand dollars, so that you can actually spend some money in your new home country before you’ve been working there long enough to get paid.

One way to get out of this jam is to use a TransferWise borderless account, which lets you hold money in some 40+ international currencies while converting between them at the real mid-market rate.

The borderless account is not just a great value way to convert your funds: it also comes with virtual account details in New Zealand dollars (as well as in Australian and US dollars, British pounds and euros). That lets you pay and get paid just like a local from before you arrive in New Zealand – whether or not you have a full bank account there. It could prove crucial during your transition.

Good luck hunting down a job in New Zealand – and indeed with managing the move in general. It’s a country full of opportunities: we hope you find the perfect one for you.

Sources:

  1. https://expatexplorer.hsbc.com/survey/

  2. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/visa-factsheet/australian-resident-visa

  3. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta

  4. https://www.classic.ird.govt.nz/international/business/ausnz/comp-inctax/comp-income-tax.html

All sources accurate as of 10 October 2019


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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