Working in New Zealand: Is it easy to get a job? (Plus, 7 other questions)

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working in new zealand

Are you considering living and working in New Zealand? Then you probably have a lot of questions.

It’s normal too! After all, you’ll move yourself and perhaps even a family to a brand-new country. A country that maybe you haven’t even visited.

To help you get some clarity, we’ve answered eight common questions about working in New Zealand.

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

New Zealand makes it possible for people with the right skills, qualifications, and experience to work in New Zealand. If you tick all the boxes, you could easily find a job.

You might also have an easier time getting a job offer if you work in a critical sector such as health care that is especially short of local New Zealand talent.

However, you can’t take either of these factors as a guarantee that you’ll get the first job for which you’ll apply.

Remember that you’ll compete with other job seekers – most likely people from all over the world. That means your CV must stand out, and your interview skills also have to be top-notch.

But if you have everything in place, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t find a job quickly.

2. Is New Zealand a good place to work?

In our opinion? Absolutely! Here are four reasons why we say so:

You can’t beat the work-life balance!

New Zealanders firmly believe that life is for living, which sees them attach a lot of value to time spent with family and friends and enjoying New Zealand’s many leisure opportunities.

The proof? New Zealand ranked fourth in the world for work-life balance in the 2021 Expat Explorer Survey.

There is support available in the workplace for new migrants

Most New Zealand employers are sympathetic towards the struggles of migrants settling into a new country and a new job.

For this reason, you’ll find that many employers are happy to help you in the first couple of weeks by:

  • Assigning you a ‘buddy’ – a colleague – to answer your questions and to help you through the first couple of days or weeks
  • Giving you time off during the day to take care of appointments or paperwork related to your immigration
  • Granting extra leave days or letting you work remotely to take care of something back in your home country

More opportunities for development

New Zealand’s population is small. Just over 5 million people call it home. That’s roughly how many people live in Sydney, Australia!

Due to this, you’ll find that companies and offices are often smaller than you’re used to. That could be just what you’re looking for, though.

In a small team, you’re likely to be more involved in the business activities, leading to more opportunities for professional development, and you stand a greater chance of getting noticed and promoted.

New Zealand’s labour laws protect you

As someone who works in New Zealand, your rights are protected by New Zealand’s labour laws. Your basic rights relate to:

  • Pay and employment equity
  • Employment agreements
  • Employment relationship problems
  • Fixed-term employees
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Health and safety
  • Keeping accurate records for holidays and leave, and wages and time
  • Trial periods
  • Unions

Your rights also include a not-often-seen parental leave for up to 12 months. You’re also entitled to four months’ annual leave each year after you’ve been employed for 12 months.

You can read more about your rights on Employee New Zealand.

3. What is a livable salary in New Zealand?

Your situation would heavily influence what constitutes a livable salary.

Let us explain.

If you’re moving over with a partner, you’ll be able to live off less than a family of four. The family of four also has to factor schooling into their budget. Their rental would also be higher than yours. You could easily live in a 2-bedroomed place while the family would need at least three bedrooms.

The best advice we have for you is to find out what you could earn in your occupation and what the average living costs are in New Zealand. You’ll quickly get a sense of whether or not you can afford the life you want.

4. How can a foreigner work in New Zealand?

You must hold a valid visa to work in New Zealand. Your work visa options are as follows:

Skilled migrant visa:

The skilled migrant visa is a residency application, and it’s for individuals with an occupation that is in demand in New Zealand.

Accredited Employer Work Visa:

The accredited employer work visa is for migrants with a job offer from an accredited New Zealand employer. The migrant must have the necessary skills and qualifications for the job. Migrants in some occupations may also be able to fast-track to residence or gain it after two years.

New Zealand Partner visa:

If you want to join your spouse or life partner in New Zealand, you’ll apply for a partner visa. This visa lets you to live and work in New Zealand.

Visa for the partner of a New Zealand work visa holder:

When one partner in a relationship moves to New Zealand on a work visa, the other partner can apply for a visa to join their partner and work in New Zealand.

5. What jobs are in demand in New Zealand?

The jobs in demand in New Zealand range from engineers and early childhood teachers to electricians and ICT managers.

These in-demand jobs are all captured on New Zealand’s Green List.

Remember, though, that having your job on a skill shortage list is only the first step. You’ll also have to meet all the other immigration criteria to apply for a work visa.

6. What qualifications do I need to work in New Zealand?

New Zealand’s skill shortage lists and ANZSCO dictate the qualifications and experience you must have to work in New Zealand in your occupation. You can search for your occupation to see the criteria you’ll have to meet or speak with an advisor for advice.

7. Can I move to New Zealand without a job?

The skilled migrant visa does not require you to have a job offer, but it’s going to be extremely difficult to get enough points for the visa without a job.

In our experience, most people need a job offer to get to the required 160 points.

The accredited employer work visa does require a job offer. You cannot apply for it without a job.

Other than that, if you’re moving over as the partner of a New Zealander or a work visa holder, you won’t need a job before you move.

8. How do I find a job in New Zealand?

You have three main ways in which to find a job in New Zealand:

Job search websites:

Job search websites like TradeMe and Seek list hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs across a wide range of industries. Usually, you can search by occupation plus region or city.

You must also look at Workhere and Working in New Zealand. These two job search websites cater for migrants.


A good recruiter is a fantastic asset if you want to increase your chances of getting a job. That’s especially true if you’re job hunting from overseas! A recruiter in New Zealand can share information about the New Zealand job market and give you tips on what employers want.

The other advantage of working with a recruiter is that recruiters often know about jobs not advertised on job search websites or social media. That’s usually because industry-specific recruiters have relationships with employers.

And, let’s not forget – working with a recruiter is free! You won’t have to add to your already extensive list of immigration-related expenses.

Here’s a list of recruiters to get you started:


LinkedIn is a powerful job search tool. You can use it to build your profile, network, approach companies you’d like to work for and find and apply for jobs.

For further information about how to get a job in New Zealand, read this article on our blog. We’ve included a checklist for building a strong LinkedIn profile.

Go here for more information about working in New Zealand

There are many expat forums and groups online that you can join to get insider info about living and working in New Zealand. We suggest starting with Expat Arrivals, and InterNations. New Zealand Now is also a fantastic resource!

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