You may think moving overseas with your partner won’t affect your relationship, but a life change of this magnitude test even the strongest unions.
While some couples start a new life in a new country and do come out of the experience stronger, other couples find themselves struggling to keep things together after a while.
The reason why some relationships fall apart? Packing up your life and moving to another country is stressful! You’ll have a million things to tick off your to-do list in the application stage and have to deal with culture shock, uncertainties and homesickness in the settlement phase.
None of this is impossible to overcome though, as is evident in the many relationships that do survive a move overseas.
Here’s how the successful couples do it:
Relationship experts all agree that communicating effectively is key to having a successful relationship. Keeping the lines of communication open becomes even more important during a move to a new country.
What you do:
Raise your concerns, fears and worries. That way both partners know what kind of headspace the other one is in and you can support each other. It also prevents little issues from becoming huge arguments.
Don’t forget to mention the good stuff too, whether it’s complimenting your partner on how they handled a visa issue or sharing a story after your first day on the new job.
Balance is key!
They have common goals
Not everyone find living and working overseas appealing for the same reasons. For some the drawing card is making lots of money, while others see it as an opportunity to travel more. These goals aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but when there is no compromise, it’s a recipe for disaster.
What you do:
Sit down and discuss what each of you are hoping to get out of your time overseas. In an ideal world, you’ll have the same goals, but if you don’t, discuss how each person can compromise a little bit to give the other one what they want.
They have a plan
It’s not just having a plan but working on the plan together, so that both partners are on the same page.
What you do:
Start from the beginning, from the visa application. Then work your way right through to finding a house once you’re in your new country.
Your list should also include who’s responsible for what, so that things get done but more importantly, so that both partners know who’s responsible for what. That way there doesn’t have to be ‘But you were supposed to do this’ fights.
They make big decisions together
You may be responsible for finding a new home, but you should never sign on the dotted line without first speaking to your significant other. Life-defining decisions should always be made together.
What you do:
Exactly that – make the big decisions, like where to stay or whether you’re going to buy or rent a house, together. Sit down, go through all the details together and make a decision before going on with your day.
They make time to have fun
Successful couples know that emigrating can’t only be hard work and make time for some ‘time out’ along the way.
What you do:
You set aside time to relax while going through the motions of moving. Go see a movie, have dinner with friends or go hiking, whatever takes your fancy.
Once you’re settled on the other side, take time out to visit the tourist sights, explore your neighbourhood and taste the local flavours.
They spend time apart
Most couples are not used to spending all their time together or being dependent only on each other. Most couples also know that not taking a break could eventually lead to frustration and tension.
What you do:
Take a break and give each other some space at least once a week. Go have a coffee at a corner café, go see a movie, explore a part of the city on your own or join a hobby group. Your options are virtually endless!
They reach out
Being homesick and lonely happens to couples too, so couples who do it right reach out to new friends, but also keep their ties with family and friends back home strong.
What you do:
They decide if and when they’ll return home
Unless it’s a temporary work contract, with a definite end, the question of when to return home, or to do it all, is sure to pop up. Unless both partners are clear on the answer, this issue could lead to fights down the line.
What you do:
Discuss if your stint overseas is permanent or temporary. If it’s temporary, how long do you want to stay? Talk about what happens if one of you decide it’s time to go home, despite all that’s been discussed. Also chat about the possibility of moving to more countries.
The most important thing you can do for your relationship when moving overseas with your partner, is talk. Talk about how you want this adventure to play out, talk about your feelings and definitely discuss the big decisions.
When you keep the lines of communication open, your relationship is sure to survive The Big Move.
Do you have questions about buying a house in New Zealand? Then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a guide with all the need-to-know information for when you have to find a place to stay in New Zealand.
Let’s start with the most important things to know…
Real Estate Authority (REA), a New Zealand industry regulator, recently launched a website, settled.govt.nz, to provide comprehensive, independent information on buying and selling a home in New Zealand.
The website address issues ranging from researching properties to making an offer. The site also features a summary of things REA consider the most important to know when buying a house in New Zealand:
- You must sign a written sale and purchase agreement when you buy a property. This agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the seller.
- Always check your sale and purchase agreement with a lawyer or conveyancer before signing. You must ensure that you understand what you’re agreeing to before signing on the dotted line.
- You can negotiate the conditions in a sale and purchase agreement.
- A sale and purchase agreement becomes unconditional when all the conditions are met.
- The agent helps you and the seller to include the conditions you both want. Even though the agent works for the seller, they also have to deal fairly and honestly with the buyer. They can’t withhold information and must inform you of any known defects of the property.
- The agent will probably use the agreement for sale and purchase approved by the Auckland District Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.
- Before you sign a sale and purchase agreement, the agent must give you a copy of the REA New Zealand Residential Property Sale and Purchase Agreement Guide. They must also ask you to confirm in writing that you’ve received it.
The sales process
Buying a house in New Zealand is a relatively quick process. It can take as little as three to four weeks to complete a house purchase once you’ve found the place you want.
Unlike in some parts of the world, last minute offers can’t be accepted once a bid is formally accepted. This makes home purchases in New Zealand a lot less stressful than you might be used to.
The role players
Aside from yourself and the seller, a real estate agent is involved when you’re buying a house in New Zealand. You may choose to hire a lawyer, especially since you’re not familiar with New Zealand processes, but this is not required by law.
Here’s why hiring a lawyer is a good idea:
Although you’re not required to hire a lawyer, it is a good idea to do so early on in the process. A property lawyer‘s advice and assistance will prove invaluable: can assist you in a number of ways:
- Handle the legal side of the transaction. You’ll be charged a standard conveyancing fee.
- Help you negotiate a purchase price, check the contract, complete a title search and arrange the payments.
- Advise about tax implications.
- Keep you informed of your risks, rights and obligations throughout the sales process.
The Sale and Purchase Agreement
The Sale and Purchase Agreement goes back and forth between you and the seller until a price and all conditions are agreed on.
The agreement will show the date the sale goes ‘unconditional’, i.e. when all of the conditions have been met, and the settlement date, i.e. when you can move into the property. Once the sale goes unconditional, you are legally committed to buying the property.
Property ads usually show either an RV or GV or CV figure:
- RV: Rateable Value
- GV: Government Valuation
- CV: Council Valuation
These figures refer to the valuation used by the local council to calculate rates for the property, but often don’t reflect the property’s true local market value.
You might also come across a BBO figure. This means Buyer’s Budget Over and is an indication of the price the seller wants.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price you see. This is standard practice in New Zealand.
If you don’t have cash to buy a house, you’ll have to apply for a home loan. There are numerous loan types available in New Zealand:
- Table loans: Most of the early repayments go to pay interest and most of the later payments pay off the principal.
- Revolving credit loans: Your income goes straight into the mortgage account and your bills are paid out of it. This keeps your loan as low as possible, reducing the interest you pay.
- Straight line or reducing loans: You repay the same amount of principal with each payment, but the amount of interest you pay reduces over time.
- Interest only: You do not repay the money you have borrowed until an agreed time, but you do pay interest.
Keep in mind thought that it might prove difficult to get a home loan when you’re new in New Zealand, as you don’t have a credit rating in the country. That doesn’t mean it’ll be impossible. You may just need to have more paperwork in order than the average person.
News to know about buying a house in New Zealand
There has been a lot of press about proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act of 2005. The bill which has been introduced propose that overseas nationals cannot buy existing homes or residential land within New Zealand.
The purpose of the bill is to ‘ensure that investments made by overseas persons in New Zealand will have genuine benefits for the country’. As such only a person who is considered ‘ordinarily resident in New Zealand’ will be able to purchase existing homes or residential property.
Under the proposed legislation, a person ‘ordinarily resident in New Zealand’ would include citizens and residents who holds a permanent visa and has been living in New Zealand for at least a year, including 183 days in the preceding 12 months.
However, the bill has not been passed yet and has received plenty of criticism, even from the IMF (International Monetary Fund).
Recapping what you need to know
While there are many things to know about buying a house in New Zealand, this is the most important:
You have to sign a sale and purchase agreement, which is a legally binding document. It is standard to negotiate the conditions of the agreement, including the sales price, and a conveyancer can help you do this. While appointing a conveyancer is not required by law, it is highly recommended.
With a property lawyer by your side, you’ll enjoy better peace of mind about the process and the deal you’re getting.
Stuff New Zealand recently reported that there will be a shortfall of tens of thousands of construction workers in New Zealand over the next five years.
This is not good news for the New Zealand construction industry. A shortage of construction workers could hamper efforts to build more houses.
However, it could be good news for someone with the right skills and experience who want to live and work in New Zealand.
Up to 60 000 more workers needed over the next five years
Over the next five years, the New Zealand construction industry will need between 55 000 to 60 000 more construction workers. And that’s before additional building through the government’s KiwiBuild programme is taken into account.
One of the expert Stuff New Zealand chatted to said “a lack of tradespeople was a global concern.” School leavers are turning to university degrees “for everything” more frequently, while looking down on trades.
About New Zealand’s construction industry
New Zealand Now states that ‘…about a quarter of the total employment growth until March 2020 is forecast to occur in construction and related activities. Combined, these sectors are expected to show the strongest growth in the labour market’.
NZN goes on to say that construction activities are likely to grow across New Zealand, with residential construction in the Auckland region and the Canterbury rebuilds driving most of the growth.
How does all of this benefit you?
With construction workers of all kinds in high demand, there are plenty of opportunities available in New Zealand.
This is provided, of course, you have the right skills and experience, and can meet the necessary eligibility criteria. But, if you do, you could be calling New Zealand ‘home’ in the future.
Construction jobs on the skill shortage lists
Construction jobs on the skill shortage lists in early 2018 include:
- Building Inspector
- Building Surveyor
- Construction Project Manager
- Project Builder
- Project Manager
- Quantity Surveyor
- Survey Technician
Book a consultation call to determine your eligibility
If you’re keen to move to New Zealand and you work in the construction industry, book a consultation call with our licensed advisor. You’ll find out if you meet the requirements to work in New Zealand, and discover your visa options if you do.
Book a consultation call even if you don’t see your occupation on the list above. There might be other opportunities available to you and our licensed advisors can help you discover them.
It’s natural to ask friends who’s already gone through the immigration process for advice. But just because your friend didn’t do an English language test when applying for a skilled migrant visa, doesn’t mean you won’t have to.
Here’s why we say this…
Of course immigration happens according to set rules and regulations, but you and your friend enter the process as individuals.
Let’s take your individual points scores as an example – you might have a recognized level 7 to 8 qualification while your friend has a recognized level 4 to 6 qualification. This means you’ll have different points scores.
In the same way, your individual circumstances means the difference between sitting an English language test or not.
Here’s how to know if you should sit an English language test
Unless you, as the principal applicant, can provide evidence of any of the below, you’ll have to sit an English language test.
- Citizenship of Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, provided you have spent at least five years in working or studying in one or more of these countries or Australia or New Zealand; or
- A recognized qualification (SM8) comparable to a New Zealand level 7 bachelor’s degree and gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least two academic years in one or more of these countries; or
- A recognized qualification (SM8) comparable to a New Zealand qualification at level 8 or above and gained in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom or the United States of America as a result of study undertaken for at least one academic year in one or more of these countries.
Call us if you want to find out more
If the requirements above have shown that you may have to do an English language test, please feel free to contact us to discuss it in more detail.
We’re willing to bet that you have a few questions around driving in New Zealand. Questions like ‘do I need a New Zealand driver’s licence?’ and ‘will I be able to drive the same type of cars if I use an overseas driver’s licence?
The good news is that we have the answers for you right here. All you have to do is continue reading.
Can I drive on New Zealand roads?
The New Zealand Transport Agency states that driving in New Zealand is legally allowed provided you:
- Have a current and valid overseas licence or driver permit, and
- Haven’t been given a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand, and
- Came into New Zealand less than 12 months ago, and
- Your overseas license is in English, or you have an accurate translation, and
- You haven’t been granted a New Zealand driver’s licence since you last entered New Zealand.
If you do not meet all of these requirements, you’ll have to apply for a New Zealand driver’s licence.
For how long can I drive on my overseas driver’s licence in New Zealand?
You’re allowed to drive for a maximum period of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand.
If you’ll be in New Zealand for more than a year, you’ll need to get a New Zealand driver’s licence. If your overseas licence is still current, or has expired less than 12 months ago, you can apply to convert it to a New Zealand’s licence.
What type of vehicles can I drive on my overseas driver’s licence?
As the holder of a valid overseas driver’s licence, you’re considered to hold a New Zealand driver’s licence of a class that allows you to drive the motor vehicles you are allowed to drive under you overseas licence:
- Full overseas driver’s licence: This licence is equivalent to New Zealand class 1 driver’s licence and allows you to drive a car or light vehicle with a gross laden weight of no more than 6000kg.
- Learner, restricted or provisional driver’s licence: The weight limit will be lower than for a full driver’s licence.
- Full overseas motorcycle licence: This licence is equivalent to a New Zealand class 6 licence and allows you to drive any size motorcycle.
- Learner, restricted or provisional motorcycle licence: You can only ride specific motorcycles approved under the Licence Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS).
For further clarification on New Zealand class definitions, please go here. If your car, motorcycle or heavy vehicle (truck) licence has specified weights or limits which differ from New Zealand classes, the New Zealand Transport Agency recommends that you adhere to the equivalent New Zealand weight limits or, if you’re unsure, obtain a New Zealand driver’s licence.
What are the road rules when driving in New Zealand?
New Zealand’s Road Code is a comprehensive guide to road rules for all types of vehicles as well as cyclists.
However, most important to know is that New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. This might take a little getting used to if you’re accustomed to driving on the right side of the road!