CountriesNew Zealand

Expat New Zealand: Moving to and Living in New Zealand – A Guide To Successful Relocation

So if you are considering emigrating currently doing country profiles and analysis to see where in the world you and your family would like to live, this Moving to and Living in New Zealand guide will be a great starting point for you.

Well over 300,000 Britons have already established a permanent home in New Zealand, and because it has an excellent standard of life, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this figure increase now that there has been a marked rise in the numbers of Britons actively thinking about relocating overseas. So here is what you need to know to decide whether moving to and living in New Zealand is right for you:

Useful to Know

New Zealand is about 10% bigger than the UK.
It is divided into the North and South Islands.
The population is in the region of 4.5 million people.
Auckland is the main business centre in New Zealand, home to over 1.3 million people.
English is the nation’s main language.
The capital is Wellington and not Auckland!  Wellington is on the North Island.
New Zealanders drive on the left.
British appliances can be plugged straight into sockets in New Zealand if an Australian plug adaptor is used.

Health & Education

Healthcare across the nation is excellent, standards and availability of care and treatment are high.
Health insurance is generally recommended for expats, but you should determine whether you would be entitled to state care depending on your status if you relocate to New Zealand.
Education is free for all children from the age of 3 to university level.
University degrees are also heavily subsidised by the government with student loans in place to make up the short fall.
Education standards are first world, degrees from New Zealand are respected internationally.

Climate & Lifestyle

Officially the climate in New Zealand is considered to be mild, but rainfall is high.  Snowfall is experienced on the mountains on the North Island and across the lower half of the South Island in the winter.
The landscape is stunning and features everything from beautiful mountains to raging rivers, and the landscape is a very important reason behind the fact that New Zealanders are considered outdoor loving sports enthusiasts!  If sport is your passion you will be more than well catered for in New Zealand, no matter what type of activity you enjoy as either a competitor or spectator.

Legalities

As in the UK, the legal drinking age is 18.
Levels of serious crime in New Zealand are low.

Jobs and Employment

New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the world and annually actively encourages skilled migrants who consider moving to and living in New Zealand.

On average, wages can be a bit higher in New Zealand than in the UK, while the cost of living is on a par with other developed countries.

It is hard to get a job in New Zealand before you have received residency permissions, and very few people who end up living in New Zealand have been financially assisted by an employer to relocate there.

However securing a job offer in New Zealand before visa application increases your chances of success, so it’s worth trying.

As in the UK, it is quite normal to have dual income households.

Investor Visa

New Zealand cut its income tax rates in 2010 in a bid to boost the economy.  It has also taken the bold and direct action of vastly improving its investor visa offerings too.  It makes sense to make it more appealing for investors to encourage them to move to New Zealand, after all they bring in a cash injection and generally end up contributing positively to the nation on a number of levels for the medium to long-term.

The latest changes see a reduction in the amount of time investors are required to spend in New Zealand each year if they qualify for Investor Plus Visa – they now only need to spend 44 days per annum in the country.  What’s more, there has been a broadening of the range of investments that qualify for a visa.  Bank bonds, equities are residential property are all now acceptable vehicles for qualifying investment for example.

Investors also now qualify for immigration if they employ at least five people or they record at least NZ$1 million in annual turnover.  Previously it was the case that applicants needed to meet both requirements.  To be a qualifying investor you can either apply for the straight investor visa and commit NZ$1.5m for at least 4 years – or you can apply for the investor plus visa and commit at least NZ$10m for a minimum of 3 years.

Income Tax

The top rate of income tax in New Zealand stands at just 33% for high earners and 10.5% on incomes up to $14,000. This in turn has resulted in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development reporting that the average tax wedge (which is income taxes plus employee and employer social security contributions, minus cash transfers as a percentage of total labour costs) is considerably below the OECD average for all households in New Zealand.

The bottom line being that as a general rule of thumb you can expect to have far more disposable income if you move to New Zealand.  This will be music to the ears of anyone living in the UK right now who is being taxed heavily, stealth taxed aggressively and dealing weaker pound.

Property Prices

On average rent prices in New Zealand are lower than the UK.

Property prices vary from around £2,400 per square meter for an apartment outside of a city centre to over £3,600 per square meter for an apartment in a city centre.

The current average property value in New Zealand is £336,429. This has decreased 0.41% from December 2016. Terraced properties sold for a current average value of £249,164 and semi-detached properties valued £232,798.

It is always wise to rent before committing to buying a property, this way you can get to know the location better and understand whether it’s right for you. Renting in New Zealand is cheaper than in the UK, but it might be a bit tricky to find what you want.

Expat Specific Facts

By its very nature New Zealand is a nation of immigrants, therefore you will not be prejudiced against because of your nationality once you relocate.  However, you may be teased depending on whether your nation’s teams are winning or losing against New Zealand in any major sporting tournament!
Britons moving to and living in New Zealand generally find integration easy as English is the main language.

New Zealand is still a commonwealth country, Kiwis drive on the left and many of the fundamental systems in place such as the legal system are based on the British equivalent.

It is possible to relocate lock, stock and barrel to New Zealand, there are relocation companies who will ship your personal effects from the UK all the way.  What’s more, with the right rabies injections, microchips and all inoculations, you can even take your dog or cat with you.

Finally, you have to apply to become resident in New Zealand and the process can be lengthy and very time consuming.  Apply well in advance of your preferred relocation date to ensure you have enough time to fill in all the forms and for them to be processed.  If you are a qualified migrant such as a nurse, doctor or teacher, you’re a skilled tradesperson, you have significant assets or an established business to relocate and you are of good character, you stand the best chance of being accepted for migration.

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