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​An Overview: Crucial info to know before you move to New Zealand

Assemble are specialist recruiters for the Property, Infrastructure and Construction industry in New Zealand. We are always striving to support our job seekers, and have put together a series of articles to assist job seekers living offshore to move to New Zealand.

Last week the series covered ‘The Talent Market in New Zealand’, today we look at ‘Crucial info to know before you move’ which will be followed by ‘A Typical day as a Kiwi’. These articles are intended to provide useful information and insights to make the move to Kiwi soil as easy as possible.

If you are entertaining a move to New Zealand you will know by now that New Zealanders are known for their friendly and welcoming nature. The traditional Māori spirit of Manaakitanga (hospitality, kindness and generosity) is strong here and you will instantly feel the warmth from the community. You are likely to be drawn by the work-life balance and generally high quality of life. However it is worth understanding that New Zealand does have a high cost of living which translates across everything from housing, petrol and food.

These are a few key factors that are important to understand prior to your move to New Zealand and some useful external resources. The first thing to note is that the whole process is likely to take between 3–4 months with the documentation and processing times.



In order to make a move to New Zealand you will first be looking for a job, here at Assemble we have this well covered! As New Zealand’s Leading recruitment specialist in Property, Infrastructure and Construction we can support you into your dream career in New Zealand. If you are moving with a partner outside of our industry talk to our consultants and we can connect you with recruitment partners to help them nab their dream job too.



Next up you will be looking to secure a Visa, and we recommend starting this process early and ensuring you are eligible prior to looking for work opportunities. Our current Visa processing times have been significantly impacted by covid. Coupled with uncertainty around the skilled work visa category and what is being prioritised, be aware lead times can be very long.

From 4th July 2022 most skilled visas have been consolidated into one with a lot of restrictions removed i.e. age range, points system, location of work. As long as your salary is double the New Zealand median wage and your job is on the green job list you should qualify.

The process for visa application is done online through New Zealand’s Immigration website. A full list of work visas available in New Zealand can be accessed here.

Once you have your visa sorted you may be looking to organise a visa for your partner or children. Even if you are considering a move to New Zealand in the future we recommend reviewing the criteria to qualify for a Partner and children visa early and start ensuring your documentation is in order.

The process can be quite admin heavy and many candidates choose to partner with an immigration consultant to remove the pressure and ensure the application is approved first time around. If you want to go down this path we highly recommend Woburn International.


Bank Account

With a job and visa sorted you now will want to ensure you can be paid when you arrive, the first step to this is setting up a bank account. We recommend setting up a bank account before landing in New Zealand, it’s a simple process and makes transferring funds from home stress free. All you need is a passport, proof of address, (your home country address is fine and you can update this when here), a tax number or tax declaration from your country of origin, and proof of your visa. You should allow about 10 days for the account to activate and once you are in New Zealand you will need to visit the branch to verify your identity.

The main options for banks in New Zealand that will accommodate expats are; ASB Bank, BNZ Bank, Kiwibank, and Westpac.

IRD Number

In order to pay taxes in New Zealand you will need an IRD number. You need a NZ bank account to apply for this but once you have all the required documentation you can apply using the online application form.

Somewhere to call home

Finding somewhere to live from overseas can be challenging, the majority of homes for sale and to rent are listed on TradeMe. Many expats move to New Zealand and rent for the initial period of time they are here. This provides the ability to look around the city and find an area they want to live in long term.

New Zealand rentals are generally unfurnished, rent is paid weekly, landlords require up to four weeks rent in a deposit (bond) in advance and utilities are paid in addition to rent. Rental costs vary greatly depending on what part of the country you are moving to, TradeMe will be the best indicator of rents in the area you are looking to move to.

The New Zealand property market has seen a steady increase in residential prices over the last 5 years. Our homes tend to be expensive so it is worth looking at your budget prior to moving here. Homes in New Zealand are often more spacious than what you may be used to, with single dwellings and a backyard being common place outside of city centres.


New Zealand’s healthcare system is generally affordable, and access to doctors and medical care is typically easy. New Zealand has a mixed private and public healthcare model, that means public healthcare is subsidized by the government, but some services may be charged when private providers are involved.

The many hospitals treats citizens, permanent residents, and some holders of work visas free of charge. You are eligible for public healthcare if your work visa entitles you to remain in New Zealand for at least two years.

The government has a “no fault” health insurance scheme called the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). It covers most medical costs of any accident you have, whether or not you apply for public or private healthcare. It is worth noting that dental care for adults and optometry are not covered by public healthcare.

If your move to New Zealand involves children you will be heartened to know the education here is ranked among the best in the world. You will have no difficulty finding affordable and high quality schools, with state funded schools being free for many visa holders. The school year begins in January and ends mid December with four 10 week terms in each year. Children are placed in public schools that serve their geographical zone, and you will find higher property prices in the zones with the best schools.

We hope this has been a helpful overview, tune in to the Assemble page for more insights from our team or contact one of our specialist recruiters to discuss your move to New Zealand.