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How to Immigrate to New Zealand – An Ultimate and Best Guide for the Novice [2022]

Last Updated on November 12, 2021 by Christie McEnzie

This is the ultimate guide for you if you are planning on living, studying, working, and moving to New Zealand. Our guide has all the useful and reliable information to help you with the move of your lifetime.

Get a good career along with a balanced lifestyle in New Zealand that the world envies.

Learn how to enjoy everyday peace of mind in this safe and secure country with our guidelines.

New Zealand is not only clean and beautiful but family-friendly as well. You are at the right place for a hassle-free move to New Zealand.

As one of the happiest countries in the world, your chances of getting your New Zealand PR (Permanent Residency) is quite difficult in 2021. This is because of the increasing population of immigrants in the country.

However, this process is easier for those who already pursuing their graduate and postgraduate studies, as international students in New Zealand, on student visas.

An international student who wishes to study and settle in New Zealand gets certain benefits.

You will have a higher chance of getting a New Zealand visa and PR if you have the right qualifications.

What are the Perks of Living in New Zealand?

There are several advantages of living in New Zealand and considering it as your new home.

You should be aware of the benefits a nation provides, and whether will it be a good fit for you, and for your family, to migrate to and settle there.

Our guide will help you avoid a terrible situation of not fitting in the country you desire to settle down.

New Zealand, along with its English-speaking residents, has a relaxed culture and stunning natural scenery. This country is quite popular among immigrants for many decades.

Give Your Wallet a Break in New Zealand

New Zealand has a high quality of life for a relatively low cost of living. If you compare the housing cost and rent prices of New Zealand, they are lesser than places like London or New York. The prices are lower even if you live in the urban city centers of Auckland or Wellington. A few things, like imported food items and goods, are a bit pricey in New Zealand. However, the cost is still lower in comparison to places with a high cost of living.

Enjoy the Untouched and Beautiful Wilderness with a Quite Life

New Zealand is one of the most interesting countries with its wildest, most rugged, and untouched wilderness. Even just outside the city, you will find vast swaths of land you will fall in love with.

Life in this country is so relaxed and laid back; no wonder it is one of the happiest places in the world! People don’t take a breath too seriously; the right work-life balance is essential in New Zealand. You will not feel the pressure of becoming successful in your field of work, like most of the other developed and fast-paced countries out there. Even the big cities of New Zealand have less traffic and quieter streets.

New Zealand is the best country to migrate to for those seeking a taste of quiet country life.

Get Lot of Rights as Permanent Citizen of New Zealand

There is little to no difference between citizenship and permanent residency in New Zealand.

As a lifelong resident of New Zealand, you can enjoy certain rights and protections as below:

  • Come and go as you please
  • Public education
  • Access to all the government-subsidized
  • Tax-funded healthcare
  • Rights to reside permanently in New Zealand

With the growing economy of New Zealand, the entrepreneurial market is still less saturated.

Hence, the scope of a new idea or innovation is broad in New Zealand. It has a demand for new set-ups like restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other shops as well.

You will find plenty of opportunities to start a new business in this beautiful country.

New Zealand also has a shortage of skilled workers in some crucial fields like IT, accountancy, and healthcare. Finding a job is easy for anyone trained and experienced in these industries of New Zealand.

Other Perks of Living in New Zealand

One of the most simple and straightforward things in New Zealand is opening a bank account. If you have the right documents, including a work or resident visa, you can open an account in this country even from abroad. This process is so simple, and you can do it entirely online even before you arrive in New Zealand. This way, you can already have your finances in order while you come to settle in this country.

All residents of New Zealand have access to government-subsidized quality healthcare. This facility is entirely free for all the taxpayers of this country. Even the standard of care is top-notch in New Zealand. Don’t worry if you don’t have residency or citizenship, and you can still access quality healthcare. However, non-residents (e.g. tourists) have to pay the fees to do so in New Zealand.

Few of the great things New Zealand is famous for include coffee and honey. Both of these products are widely available and delicious in this country. You can choose to opt for their fresh, in-season, and local eats to avoid paying for expensive imported food. A farm-to-table diet is a way of life in New Zealand!

The education in New Zealand is one the best in the world, and it’s free for citizens and permanent residents. However, non-residents (e.g. international students and their dependents) will have to pay the fees even in local public schools in New Zealand.

Immigrate to New Zealand as a Student

If you are planning to study abroad, then New Zealand is among the best countries. A large number of students, from Asia, go to New Zealand to study both Graduate and Postgraduate courses.

Moreover, if you are a student at some university in New Zealand, then you have a potential advantage of becoming its Permanent Resident after finishing your higher studies.

New Zealand provides many visa options to its students to apply for Permanent Resident status post studies. If not that, there are other visa options available as well such as post-study work visa, skilled migrant category resident visa, family category visa, business and investment visa, and many more.

For students seeking higher education, New Zealand is one of the top study abroad destinations. So many students chose to migrate to New Zealand because of its growing economy and cultural diversity.

The country offers high living standards, exposure to multiple cultures, affordable, quality education, and friendly post-study or working rules. Why is this country a hot favorite among immigrants around the world? Now you know the answer.

Why Choose New Zealand as Your Study Destination?

The schools, universities, and institutes of New Zealand are famous worldwide for their high standards. The world recognizes the educational quality provided by universities in New Zealand, and their graduates are welcomed by employers globally. The teaching standards are very high in New Zealand. Also, the sizes of the classes are petite, so the students can enjoy high levels of personal attention.

Even at the beginner level, only respected teaching and research staff deliver courses in this country. The teams of most universities combine research and education in New Zealand. The staff members are from all over the world. Their international connections are up to date with their regular engagement with the global academic community.

Studying in New Zealand will make you more attractive to employers and open up various exciting opportunities. You can imagine that you will get the best education in New Zealand. Along with that, it will set you up for the future of your dream without any doubts.

Global Comparison

New Zealand has a total of eight universities, and they are all among the world’s top 500 according to the 2019 QS ranking. The rankings of 2019 have placed these universities amongst the world’s top 5 for some individual subjects. This includes accounting and finance, business and management, computer science, civil and structural engineering, and agriculture and forestry. Veterinary science is also ranked among these subjects. Nine other essential disciplines are part of this ranking in New Zealand universities.

Also, these universities are part of the Lisbon Recognition Convention; it means that certificates, diplomas, and degrees issued by them have international recognition.

Quality Controlled Education System

The major problem faced by students of choosing the best quality university or institute doesn’t exist in New Zealand. The regulation of the education system in this country has robust quality assurance systems across the board. Because of the consistency of this regulation, you will get high flexibility to choose any institute of your desire. You can select your institute based on any city or town or anything that interests you the most. You know you will get a quality education in any educational center in New Zealand.

All the state-owned and private training providers must follow strict quality guidelines monitored by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (New Zealand QA). Make sure the institute and its programs are New Zealand QA registered and approved. If you enroll yourself in a course that is not supported by New Zealand QA, then you won’t get a visa.

Choosing the Right Educational Provider

You will get a tertiary education from various providers. This includes Universities, Institutes of Technology, and Polytechnics. There are Private Training establishments and Industrial Training organizations as well in New Zealand.

These providers offer qualifications at every level. You can choose to go for certificates, diplomas, bachelor’s and post-graduate degrees. You find all these qualifications ranked on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.

New Zealand Universities for Academic Programs

New Zealand has eight universities in which you can enroll yourself in any academic program. They don’t offer vocational programs in New Zealand.

If you want to study in New Zealand in 2021, there is a broad range of courses you can choose from in any of these universities. They offer various programs for undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral qualifications in commerce, science, and humanities in New Zealand.

If you are more interested in specialist fields, then these universities offer such subjects as well. This includes medicine, agriculture, engineering, and more.

You can choose to study at the University of Auckland, or if you desire, you can choose to study at the University of Otago at the same time. Similarly, like India or the Philippines, some of these universities have more than one campus in different cities around the country.

Several universities also offer overseas programs so you can study from your desired university without moving to New Zealand.

Choose to Study in Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics

You can get yourself enrolled in New Zealand’s eighteen Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs). They offer professional and vocational education to both native and international students in New Zealand. They provide various training ranging from introductory studies to various full degree programs.

Many of ITPs offer English language training and post-graduate study options as well. The courses these institutes provide are up to the Doctoral level. These programs are more oriented towards vocational rather than academic. They approach emphasis on practical experience and application to work situations.

You will get equal status with a university degree if you choose to get a degree from one of these institutions.

Enrol in Private Training Institutes and Language Schools

You can choose from 600 registered Private Training Establishments (PTEs) in New Zealand. You can study specific courses like English language or travel and tourism, design, ICT, and more.

Such PTEs generally provide certificate and diploma level qualifications. Some of these PTEs also offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Such institutes usually have flexible start dates throughout the year. You can complete their coursework to increase your chances of job opportunities in New Zealand.

Before joining formal academic courses, you can choose to enroll in English learning courses as an international student. These courses require four weeks to months and are available throughout the year. If you are from a native English-speaking country, there are other studies as well you can join. You can do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies before your formal academic courses.

What are the Admission Requirements?

If you want to plan for studying in New Zealand, there are specific requirements you must first fulfill.

As an international student, you need to show that you have achieved similar qualifications. You will get admission only if your criteria are identical to their university entrance level of education.

You will also require proving your English skills before you can qualify for admission.

You can choose to do short-term foundation studies or pre-university orientation studies. These short courses will help you prepare for university-level education.

The academic year in New Zealand is from March to November. A July start is usually available for specific courses. Summer semester courses are generally open between January to March in institutes of New Zealand.

How can you apply?

Before you start with the application process, you need to find your desired institute and course you want to study. Once you decide what you want, complete, and return the relevant paperwork according to your institute’s requirements, if your application fulfills all the requirements of the university, you will be able to complete your form successfully. Your institute will send you an ‘offer of place’ letter once they accept your request.

You will get a ‘confirmed offer of place’ after you pay the fees according to the terms of your university. Your prices can vary according to the course and the institute you chose. You will need your confirmation offer before you can apply for a New Zealand student visa.

Applying in English language school in New Zealand

This is a general guide to use to study at a school or English language school in New Zealand. Some schools may have different procedures than others in New Zealand. The general process includes the following steps:

  • Choosing your school
  • Collecting the documents as per their requirements, i.e., copy of your passport, medical certificate, school reports, exam results and the like
  • Pay an application fee, if required
  • Submit application form,
  • Attend an interview or interview via Skype or another messaging app, if required
  • Pay the deposit/fees after receiving a conditional offer of a place
  • A written guarantee of accommodation, if you are under 18

Once you have received the offer of a home, you can start your visa application procedure. The documents for your visa may include the following details:

  • Offer of place
  • Accommodation guarantee, if applicable
  • Evidence of fund
  • Medical insurance details
  • Travel insurance details
Applying in a Tertiary Institution in New Zealand

Follow this general guideline if you are using it for study at a university, institute of technology, or polytechnic. This same guideline also applies to you if you are using any vocational training institution in New Zealand. Some tertiary institutes have different steps than others in this country. The general guideline is as below:

  • Choosing your desired institute and program
  • Meeting entry requirements and fees
  • Evidence of meeting English language requirements, if applicable
  • Submitting your application
  • Receiving an offer of a place
  • Pay taxes and receive a confirmed offer of a place

While submitting your request, you need to provide some documents as well. These documents must be in English or translated into English. You may require to provide certified copies. The materials may include:

  • Copy of your passports
  • Academic transcripts
  • English language test results

After completing your university application successfully, you are ready to apply for a New Zealand student visa.

Visa to Study in New Zealand

Anyone who wants to study in New Zealand full-time needs a student visa. You probably won’t require a student visa if the duration of your course is less than three months. However, the requirement of the permit is up to the country from which you are applying.

Before you are eligible to apply for a student visa, you must fulfill the below requirements:

  • An offer of place from an educational institute registered and approved by the New Zealand Qualification Authority
  • If you are under 18, a printed guarantee for available suitable accommodation.
  • Evidence of available funds you will require to live in New Zealand while you are studying
  • A return air-ticket to your native country or proof of the ability to purchase one
  • A police certificate of good character if you are over 17 and your intended stay is over two years in New Zealand
  • Screening for certain diseases like tuberculosis for a stay longer than six months in New Zealand
  • A medical certificate and chest x-ray

Your source or children can apply for visas with you based on their relationship with you. The length of your permission is usually the same as the length of the course you paid for.

Your Student Visa in New Zealand

If the span of your course is less than 3-months, then you only require a visitor’s visa. You can stay in New Zealand for up to four years with a student visa. The duration of the allowed stay may vary according to the type of visa you are getting. You will get certain benefits from your visa. The benefits include:

  • Being able to study full-time at the course stated in your permission and English language study
  • You can work part-time up to 20 hours a week while studying and full-time during the holidays
  • You can live by yourself if you are above a particular age
  • After the duration of your visa is over, you can apply for another student visa or a work visa

All these benefits and requirements depend on the conditions of your permit.

There are other conditions, too, in which you can apply for this visa. This includes correspondence or a distance-learning student who needs to visit his New Zealand education provider. However, you are only eligible for this visa if the reason for your visit is educational. This includes ideas such as a practical study or to sit in exams and the likes.

Know more about the Visa options for international students to study in New Zealand

Use our ultimate guideline to know more about applying for a visa to study in New Zealand. Even if you are applying to study at a school, English language school, or tertiary institute in New Zealand. This guideline applies to all your student visa requirements. This country has a range of visas that will allow you various academic activities. This means you can choose to go to school, take a course, or do other training. Some of these visas are as follows:

  • Student Visa
  • Visitor Visa
  • Pathway Student Visa
  • Post Study Work Visa

Most of these visas in New Zealand take up to eight weeks to process. The processing time could take longer if they require more information. It is wise to apply at least four months before you intend to travel to New Zealand.

Student Visa in New Zealand

Student visas are for those who want to study a full-time course in New Zealand. Your course needs should be longer than three months to get this visa in New Zealand.

You may be able to work up to 20 hours a week during the term and full-time during the holidays with this visa. However, this may vary according to your visa conditions.

Visitor Visa in New Zealand

A visitor visa is the best option for those interested in taking a short course in this country. This visa will allow you to take one or more courses that last only up to 3-months. If the duration of your course is longer than 3-months, then you will need to apply for a student visa.

Pathway Student Visa in New Zealand

This visa is most suitable for individuals planning to study more than one course in New Zealand. This visa will allow you to study for up to three consecutive sessions within a five-year duration. This visa will even allow you to study with one or more qualifying education providers.

For example, first, you take an English language study in Auckland, followed by a foundation study in Otago, then a degree program. You can get do to it all on this one visa.

Post Study Work Visa

You are more likely able to apply for a post-study work visa after you have completed your qualifications. This is the right visa for anyone interested in staying in New Zealand after finishing their education. You can get some practical work experience as well with the help of this visa.

You can work up to three years in this country after you graduate with this visa. The conditions of this visa may vary depending on what you study and where you consider.

Apply for Scholarship in New Zealand

If you gain a scholarship while studying for undergraduate or postgraduate, it means that you don’t have to find part-time work. This will help you get more time to focus on your education in New Zealand.

There are many scholarships for international students, including Ph.D. scholarships and master’s scholarships available in New Zealand. The New Zealand government, other state governments, educational institutes, and philanthropists offer many scholarships.

However, you will require a good plan for improving your chances of successfully applying for a scholarship for international students. Usually, the scholarships have non-negotiable criteria and requirements. Only after you fit all the requirements and meet all the needs, you can apply for a scholarship.

You can contact the organization that manages the scholarship if you are not sure whether you meet all the criteria. You can discuss your circumstances with them to know your eligibility for the scholarship.

Other Advantages of Scholarship in New Zealand

There are various other advantages of applying and getting a scholarship in New Zealand. This includes:

  • Financial Support
  • A chance to networking with business leaders
  • A chance to experience unique and exclusive programs and events
  • Building lifelong connections with staff, students and fellow scholars
  • Making most of your time in New Zealand with pastoral care from your institute
  • Standing out as an exceptionally high achiever
  • Will make you an attractive job candidate after you graduate
  • Getting a unique selling-points on your CV
  • Leveraging your scholarship on the global job market to help you achieve your career goal
Increase your Chances of Getting Scholarship

The awards are highly competitive. The awards are not always based on academic success; hence you can try to apply using other factors. Factors they may consider are the country of origin, area of study, leadership potential, and more.

You are more like to access by finding a scholarship that matches your qualifications. Allow yourself more time to apply so you can increase your chances of getting a scholarship.

Even if you don’t get a scholarship, remember that New Zealand is a value-for-money destination. They will allow you to offset your cost by working while you study.

Working While Studying in New Zealand

If you study and work in New Zealand, it will be the right way for you to gain work experience. It will also give additional support while you are considering in this country.

Working in New Zealand will help you develop various skills as well. This includes communication, teamwork, timekeeping, interpersonal skills, and workplace-relevant English language skills.

You will find balancing your work-hour with your study obligations straightforward in this country. Hence, you can focus on your work also without compromising your academic performance.

If you want to study master’s in New Zealand, you may have a permit to work full-time while studying and during the holidays as well. The same applies to student visa holders for doctoral courses as well in New Zealand.

Furthermore, you are more likely to be able to work in New Zealand if you meet certain conditions. This includes having the skills in demand in New Zealand, a job offer before you apply for a visa, and all the required documents.

Find a Job in New Zealand with your Skills

Finding a job is not difficult in New Zealand if you have the right skills. The government forecast that the workforce will grow at 1.8% in the upcoming years. This means there will be a continuing need for workers soon.

New Zealand has many job openings for specialists in sectors like health, engineering, and IT. There are opportunities for work with more generalist skills as well. This includes construction, trade, and numerous other business services.

Which Skills are in Demand in New Zealand?

There is an official site with lists of ‘Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) regularly updated in New Zealand. Find out if a job related to your work is available on this list. A listed job means the New Zealand government accepts that there are not enough New Zealander’s qualified for this job.

This will allow employers to recruit people for the role overseas. If you have the right qualification and experience, it will make your visa procedure easier.

Long Term Skill Shortage List for Residency in New Zealand

The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) is for sustained occupations in New Zealand. There is an ongoing shortage of highly skilled workers throughout New Zealand. If you get a job listed on the LTSSL, then make sure to meet all the requirements. Then you will have a high chance of getting a New Zealand Work Visa. You may get a Work to Resident Visa under the LTSSL work visa. This will make you available to apply for residence in two years in New Zealand. However, you will have to meet standard requirements, including a base salary of at least New Zealand $45,000.

Regional Skill Shortage List in New Zealand

The Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL) has a list of occupations related to skilled workers required in particular regions of New Zealand. Any rule listed here indicates the unavailability of any New Zealand citizens or residents available to take up these jobs. If your skill relates to the work listed here, then your application is most likely to process swiftly. You will be granted an Essential Skills work visa in New Zealand. You will only be able to work temporarily and won’t necessarily be able to apply for residence in New Zealand.

Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage in New Zealand

The Construction Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL) includes a critical shortage in the construction industry of New Zealand. If your skills appear on CISSL and LTSSL as well, then you may apply for residence.

Classification of Skill Level in New Zealand

Some jobs may get selected as skilled occupations, and some are treated as an exception according to the amount of pay and according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The classification based on these two categories is as follows:

  • ANZSCO level 1-3 and amount of pay above $25.00 per hour
  • ANZSCO level 4-5 and amount of payment above $37.50 per hour
  • has no matching description in the ANZSCO and meets the pay rate threshold of NZD $37.50 per hour (or equivalent annual salary) or more.

If you are paid at least NZD $25 per hour for one of these occupations, then the New Zealand government will treat it as an exception and assess it as ANZSCO skill level 1, 2, or 3.

You can use your skilled trade to apply for a resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category. There are other circumstances to consider as well, including age, work experience, qualification, and the job offer. You also need to meet the below requirements:

  • Your age should be 55 or under to fit in this category
  • You need to reach the skill level of your occupation
  • English language requirements
  • Health requirements
  • Character requirements

If you meet all the requirements, then you can apply for residency in New Zealand under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Skills currently in demand in New Zealand

Refer to the below table to know about the skills in various areas the lists cover:

Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL) Construction and Infrastructure Shortage List
Construction Available
Engineering Available Available Available
ICT and Electronics Available

Health and Social Service Available Available
Science Available

Finance/Business Available Available
Trades Available Available Available
Recreation, Hospitality, and Tourism Available Available

Migrate to Work in New Zealand

You will need a job or job offer if you wish to migrate to New Zealand as one of their residents. Even if you are applying for a temporary work visa, you will need a job offer before you can use it.

You will find excellent career opportunities in New Zealand if you have special skills.

This is true if you have work experience in an area of skills shortage. There are various visas you are eligible to apply for in New Zealand. All these visas have their criteria and application process. This includes:

  • Temporary visas
  • Resident Visas
Temporary Visas for New Zealand

You can work and stay in New Zealand for a set period with a temporary work visa. You can use this temporary visa as a step towards gaining residence and settling permanently in this country. If you are a professional, you will find various job offers from a New Zealand employer.

There is another category as well in this type of visa; the working holiday visa. It is for young people aged 18 to 30 or even 35. The age limit depends on your country of origin or your citizenship. You can work and travel in New Zealand for up to 12 months or more with this visa.

Residents Visas for New Zealand

You can live and work in New Zealand indefinitely with this type of visa. The resident permits of New Zealand also allow you to access the most publicly funded services. Your eligibility for this visa uses a point system based on the below factors:

  • Age
  • Work experience
  • Qualification
  • Job Offer

You are also eligible to apply for this visa if you have held work to residence visa for at least 24 months.

How to Apply for a New Zealand Visa?

You can apply for any visa like work, student, and visitor in New Zealand through their online portal. This is faster and less expensive compared to a paper application form. You also don’t need to send your passport to them as you can issue the visa electronically. However, you will need a credit card to apply online for a New Zealand visa. Your passport must be available in an electronic file as supporting evidence.

Organize Before you Start your Life as an Immigrant in New Zealand

You can book your flight once you get your student or work visa. Make sure you have loads of time to settle yourself in after your arrival in New Zealand.

Before moving to New Zealand, make sure you have arranged temporary or short-term accommodation for yourself. It is good and useful until you become more familiar with the city. After getting familiar, you can start looking for a place where you can live long-term in New Zealand.

Remember to keep your essential documents like your passport, offer letter, acceptance letter, and the like. You may require your driver’s license, birth certificate, emergency contact details, and other essential documents.

Don’t forget to get a referral letter if you have any medical conditions. Your referral letter must outline your treatment and medical details. 

Make sure you have your banking information and banking card with you. Keep a small amount of cash with you as well. Take your valuables with you like your laptop and mobile phone. Check out the list of things you cannot bring into New Zealand to avoid any hassles. 

It is good to start learning about the laws and customs of New Zealand

Congratulations! It is now time for you to get ready, start your life in New Zealand as an immigrant. Get ready to relish the life of your dream in New Zealand!

Avatar for Christie McEnzie

By Christie McEnzie

At we provide up-to-date news on all things related to migrating, studying, working, visiting and settling in Australia and New Zealand through our website, blog, social media accounts, handles, pages, forums, notifications; through our community forums, and through our email updates.

3 replies on “How to Immigrate to New Zealand – An Ultimate and Best Guide for the Novice [2022]”

Hi, you can apply for New Zealand’s Temporary or Permanent Resident Visa by applying under the Skilled Migrant visa application. The criteria and government-approved skilled occupations are mentioned in this guide.

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