Moving to New Zealand

Whether it’s for work purposes, living closer to family or just because you fancy a change, there are several things you’ll need to consider and plan out before moving to New Zealand. From finding somewhere to stay, to securing the right visa and the cost of living, Universal Partners FX is here to make sure you’re clued up on the ins and out of becoming a fully-fledged kiwi.

Research, research, research

The first thing that we recommend doing before you make the big decision of emigrating to New Zealand is doing as much research about the country as you possibly can. Jump online and take a look at what New Zealand has to offer and in particular if there is anything that you can offer New Zealand. If you possess certain skills that are in demand, then making the move can be a whole lot easier. The best way to find out if New Zealand is the place for you, however, is to simply visit.

Book a flight for a holiday and use it as an opportunity to experience the lifestyle, the culture, the people, the weather or to meet potential employers. The best way of knowing whether New Zealand is for you is to get up and go there.

Visa time

Once you’ve decided that New Zealand is the place for you, the next thing to do is to secure your visa and the right visa for what you intend to do after you get there. The reasons behind your move to New Zealand will dictate which visa type you ultimately choose, including the length of your stay, whether you have a job lined up already and the time needed to gather the required documentation. Some of the most popular visa types are a Working Holiday Visa that allows you to work in New Zealand for up to a year. An Essential Skills Visa for people temporarily working for a specific employer or Skilled Migrant Visa that provides people residence in New Zealand.

Now, if your intention is to move to New Zealand, which is the whole purpose of reading this blog, then there are two visas for you. The Skilled Migrant Visa which we’ve already looked at and the Work to Residence Visa which always provides a pathway to living permanently in New Zealand. However, there are certain conditions that need to be met to acquire each of these visas types.

  • Skilled Migrant Visa – This visa is best suited to people who want to stay in New Zealand indefinitely, have been offered a job and possess the skills, qualifications and experience that the country needs. In order to obtain this visa, however, you will need to send the New Zealand government an Expression of Interest (EOI) telling them about the skills you have the job that you’ve been offered. A points-based system will be used to asses your application, where if granted the required number of points, you will progress onto the visa application. This visa is available to peopled aged 55 and under, lasts for an indefinite amount of time and takes approximately 11 months to process. The cost of the EOI is $530 whereas the application sits at $2,710.
  • Work to Residence Visa – This type of visa is best suited to people who have been offered a full-time job and want to eventually live in New Zealand permanently. This visa is tied to a specific occupation in an area of skill shortage with an accredited employer. You’ll be able to apply for residence if you continue working for your employer for two years. Available to anyone aged 55 and under, a Work to Residence Visa lasts for a total of 30 months, costs $635 and takes approximately 2-4 months to process.

Find out about other New Zealand visa types here.

The job hunt

If you’ve made the decision to move to New Zealand without having a job lined up, finding a job whilst you’re out there may not be as daunting as you think. New Zealand’s job market has been strong over recent years, with solid economic performances a huge driving factor. The New Zealand government expects the country to need around 47,000 more workers per year going well into the 2020s, a very promising statistic for anyone looking for a permanent position in the country. The majority of the new jobs will be in highly-skilled occupations where an expectation exists that most of these roles will be filled by people from overseas countries.

Job openings will grow for virtually every area of work, but the largest increases will be seen in business services, health care/social assistance, construction/utilities and education. The chances of landing a job will be particularly high if your skills are on any of the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) lists of skill shortages which is updated regularly by Immigration New Zealand.

The right move

Now that your visa and hopefully job is covered, finding somewhere to live is the next thing to check off the list. That is of course if you haven’t already got somewhere to live. Finding accommodation in New Zealand should be relatively stress-free. The housing market is well regulated, with options for both short and longer-term contracts, with buying a house taking only a matter of weeks.

  • Renting – Rent in New Zealand is calculated weekly, so it’s important to keep that in mind when considering the value of the rent you’ve been advertised. The average rent is around 400 NZD a week for a small home and 530 NZD for a two or four-bedroom apartment or house. Rent prices, however, will be largely affected by the region of New Zealand you choose to live in. Auckland is the most expensive city to rent in, with accommodation costing anywhere between 600 NZD to 850 NZD a week.
  • Buying – If you’re thinking of buying a property when moving to New Zealand, you’ll be pleased to hear that the process is very well organised and regulated, making it simple and fast. You can buy a house as quickly as three to four weeks and will never have to worry about any last-minute bids stealing your home once you’ve submitted your official bid. The average house price in New Zealand currently sits at around 560,00 NZD and again, is heavily influenced by the region you choose to live in.

A few very important things to note about relocating to New Zealand are the strict Customs rules, tight border controls and required documentation needed to enter the country. Firstly, all of your belongings need to be declared and inspected when you first arrive in New Zealand. The tight border controls may prevent you from bringing some of your possessions with you or may even confiscate and destroy them. Many items are considered ‘risk items’, some require permits to import and others are strictly forbidden. Bringing pets into the country is another thing you will need to prepare for with difficulties surrounding some animals. In terms of health requirements, as long as you have all your vaccinations in order, there shouldn’t be much trouble when entering the country.

Living costs

Depending on where you’re emigrating to New Zealand from, you may find the cost of living pretty similar or cheaper. Some things cost less; some things cost more, particularly if they have to travel a long way to get to New Zealand. But generally, the cost of living is comparable to many other western-style countries.

Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey listed London as the world’s 23rd most expensive city to live in, whereas Auckland was ranked lower at 89th and Wellington even lower at 114th.

The healthcare system

One of the most promising aspects of moving to New Zealand is the quality of the healthcare system. If you are ever in need of medical care, you will not have difficulty in finding a well-trained, experienced doctor, fully-equipped hospital or speedy emergency care. The healthcare system may be slightly different from what you are used to, especially if you live in the UK, with a mix of public and private services. But we try to break things down into a simpler way here.

Since the 1980s, New Zealand has had a mixed public and private healthcare scheme. Here, public healthcare is subsidised by the government, but some services may be partially charged when private providers are involved. The extensive range of hospitals treats citizens, permanent residents and some holders of work visas for free. If your work visa entitles you to remain in New Zealand for at least two years then you will be eligible for public healthcare. Non-residents can also utilise the healthcare on offer but at a cost. If you are not eligible for public healthcare in New Zealand, then it is advised to have medical insurance from your home country.

Healthcare cover

The healthcare system provides free services for prescriptions, x-rays, treatments and laboratory tests. Services for pregnant women, dental care up to the age of 18, breast exams for women ages 55 and older and general practitioner (GP) referral visits. Public healthcare also covers maternity for the entire duration of the pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth. You’ll also be pleased to hear that public health insurance also covers any accidents you may have. The New Zealand government has a ‘no-fault’ insurance scheme known as Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), which covers the cost of any accident regardless if you have applied for public or private healthcare.

Healthcare levels

There are three levels of healthcare in New Zealand; primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary healthcare covers family doctors, pharmacists, dentists and allied health which includes a number of health professionals including counselling and physiotherapists. Primary care also refers to the first general treatment of symptoms or medical concerns, such as the flu, bone fractures, or acute medical conditions. These services are provided in public hospitals and clinics and are free of charge depending on eligibility. Secondary care includes hospital services, either public or private, and specialist care and is provided by publicly-owned hospitals. Patients have a choice to access either public or private services, which may depend on preference or the availability of the services. Tertiary care includes cancer treatment, plastic surgery and other types of procedures.


Now that all of the essentials are more or less covered, it’s time to look at some of the general etiquettes of New Zealand that will help you go a long way on a more day-to-day basis and will help your transition go easier:

  • The people drive on the left side of the road – perfect if you’re moving to New Zealand form the UK.
  • New Zealander’s tend to not tip, so never find it rude if you don’t receive one, it’s just part of the culture.
  • Rugby and golf are very popular sports – there are more golf courses in New Zealand per capita of population than anywhere else in the world.
  • Kiwis are very similar to the British whereby small everyday encounters are often met with a polite ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’.
  • Learning a few words in Te Reo, which is the Maori Language will certainly help you settle in with some of the locals.

Sending money

Now, with all of these things in mind, you may be required to transfer money to New Zealand at one point or another. Whether it’s buying a property, paying for a visa or ordering goods for when you arrive. But when you do, the last thing you want is to pay extra cash to the bank at a mediocre exchange rate on top of the already huge list of things that you’ve done and will need to do. With Universal Partners FX, you’ll never have to. Here, we offer bank-beating exchange rates that you can secure in advance, with absolutely no transaction fees. Simply sign-up for an account to access our easy-to-use online money platform and send your funds quickly and securely. Visit our page below to learn more about how we can help with your money transfer when moving to New Zealand.

Sending Money to New Zealand >


For more information or if you have any further questions about how Universal Partners FX can help make emigrating to New Zealand easier, be sure to get in touch with one of our currency experts today.