FAQ: Getting a job in New Zealand

/ / FAQs - New Zealand Immigration, Working in New Zealand

getting a job in new zealandGetting a job in New Zealand is crucial to your skilled visa application. But how do you know what jobs are in demand? Or how to find the best jobs? And what is a good salary in New Zealand? You don’t want to take just any job, after all.

There are so many questions!

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’re answering all of the questions above and seven more right here. Read to the end and you’ll feel much more confident about your job search.

1. Is it easy to get a job in New Zealand?

This is going to depend on your situation.

For starters, you’re going to find it easier getting a job in New Zealand if you work in an occupation that is in high demand. Your job search is also going to be smoother if you already know someone in New Zealand in your field who you can network with.

Entering the job search prepared is also going to make it easier to find a job. With that we mean doing things like completing your professional occupational registration if it’s needed, redoing your CV in a format that’s preferred by New Zealand employers, and being in a position to tell the employer that you do qualify for a work visa.

2. What jobs are in high demand in New Zealand?

The jobs that are in high demand and occupations that have been identified by the New Zealand Government as a ‘skill shortage’ is not necessarily the same. There are definitely overlaps, like engineers and nurses, but as a migrant it’s advisable to look at the jobs on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists.

There are three of these lists:

  1. Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL): The Long Term Skills Shortage List identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers throughout New Zealand.
  2. Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL): The Regional Skilled Shortage List (RSSL) identifies 15 regions with occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers. This gives migrants a better idea about opportunities in regional areas.
  3. Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL): The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List also contains immediate short-term skills shortages but these shortages are specific to the construction industry. The CISSL is divided into the same 15 regions as the RSSL.

3. Can I apply for a New Zealand work visa without a job offer?

Yes, you’ll need a job offer to apply for both the Skilled Migrant visa and the Essential Skills visa.

You can do further reading about working in New Zealand on our website. You’ll find all the requirements for work visas and also discover what it’s like to work in New Zealand.

4. What is a good salary in New Zealand?

A February 2019 Stuff article revealed that the average middle-class household earns up to NZ$100,000 a year but still struggle to make ends meet.

The article sourced data from the 2018 Quality of Life Survey produced by Nielsen on behalf of eight councils in New Zealand. These councils included Auckland Council, Christchurch City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.

This was the survey feedback from residents in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand’s most popular cities among migrants:

Almost half of Auckland households earning between $70,000 and $100,000 a year said they’re just able to make ends meet

In Christchurch, 34 per cent of residents in the $70,000 to $100,000 band said they had just enough to survive

When asked for comment, economist Shamubeel Eaquab said “Around the world we are seeing the same pattern. People are living with high incomes and struggling to make ends meet.”

Eaquab added that “A $70,000 household income in a small town could seem high, but in Auckland it’s probably not enough. Incomes have not kept pace with rents.”

What is the average salaries for in-demand occupations?

Let’s consult TradeMe which released a salary guide for New Zealand for the six months to April 2020:

OccupationMedian Salary
Automotive technicianNZ$60k
Quantity surveyorsNZ$105k
Early childhood teachersNZ$60k
Civil and Structural EngineersNZ$85k
Industrial EngineersNZ$65k
Doctors and SpecialistsNZ$45k
Psychologists and Counsellors NZ$65k
Chefs NZ$50k
Business and Systems Analysts NZ$115k
Systems EngineersNZ$95k
Boilermakers and WeldersNZ$60k
Plumbers NZ$70k

You can view the complete salary guide on TradeMe.

What is New Zealand’s living costs?

We compiled the living costs for New Zealand at the beginning of 2020. You can find that article in our blog section but please keep in mind that the costs were correct as at February 2020.

You’ll also find a living cost comparison of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in our blog section. We calculated the basic monthly expenses, travel costs, restaurant prices, and school fees.

5. How do I find jobs?

There are a couple things you can do to find a job:

  • Stand out from the crowd with a migration cover letter and a New Zealand-friendly CV
  • Network with people in your industry, either in person or on LinkedIn
  • Sign up for job alerts on career websites
  • Identify companies you’d like to work for and see if they have job openings

You’ll also need to know where to look for jobs. You’re in luck here because we’ve done the research for you. We’ve included employers in our Working in New Zealand Guide and we also list 10 of the country’s top recruiters on our website.

6. Will I need to do qualifications and occupational registration?

Qualifications registration

Immigration New Zealand has a list of common international qualifications that have already been assessed against the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). If your qualification is on this list, it is exempt from assessment. However, if you qualification is not listed, you may have to get it assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

Occupational registration

Immigration New Zealand has a list of jobs that require some form of official registration. You may need to provide evidence of your occupational registration when you submit your visa application if you are:

  • Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category and planning to work in an occupation where registration is required, or
  • Including a job offer in a work visa application an occupation registration is a requirement

Please feel free to contact us to speak to us about qualifications and occupational registration.

7. What if the recruiter or company asks if I have New Zealand work experience?

Many New Zealand recruiters and employers value work experience gained in New Zealand because it shows that you’re familiar with the Kiwi way of working. Someone who’s worked in New Zealand may also need less training when starting with the company.

If you only have overseas working experience, you have to frame that experience in a way that shows the interviewer that your experience is valuable.

Let’s say the interviewer says to you, “I see you don’t have any New Zealand work experience.” A good way to respond to this is the following:

“That’s true. However, I have worked in many English speaking countries with similar engineering codes to those in New Zealand. The most recent role I had (name the country) was closely related to this position. I have checked and my qualification from (name the country) covered the same basic areas as the New Zealand degree.”

8. How do I show the recruiter I’m the right person for the job?

You’re in the interview because the employer think you can do the job based on your qualifications, skills and experience. Now you have to show them that you’re a good fit for the company too.

A large part of this is showing that you understand the New Zealand way of working:

  • Managers and employees often have an informal and friendly relationship at work
  • Status is not as important as in some other countries
  • Kiwi employees prefer managers to consult and ask, not to command
  • Leaders are expected to be good at motivating their team while treating everyone equally and with respect
  • Employees that are not in management positions have to be able to work independently and use their initiative, without relying on a manager to make every decision

9. Do I have to go to New Zealand for interviews?

Even though virtual interviews are common these days, you should still expect that some employers would ask that you attend at least one interview in person. Just be sure to apply for a Look See Decide visa before travelling to New Zealand.

10. Can I work in New Zealand before I get my visa?

No, you cannot. You can only travel to New Zealand and start your job once you have your visa in your passport.

Do you have more questions about getting a job in New Zealand?

If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200. You can also book a consultation call if you want to go ahead and find out if you qualify for a work visa. Our licensed immigration advisors can do an assessment with you and advise on the next steps to take.

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