I have lived in New Zealand since 2004. Since I decided to leave my home country, Argentina, I have been bombarded with all kinds of questions: Why New Zealand ?, How is life here? Is it easy to adapt ?, What is the cost of living ?, and the list goes on. This article aims to answer some of these questions. I will leave the economic, geographical, political and other characteristics for your research. There is no need to write about the beauty of this country, as there is much documented about it, in articles, books and films.
Before continuing, I would like to make one point clear. The following lines may look a bit stiff, especially if you are a kiwi. Not my intention. I love this country; I do not regret choosing New Zealand my foster home. But immigration agencies are sometimes very positive. I try to be more real.
Do not believe in everything you read in the brochures
As it happens in many other countries, it is not easy to find a place in the professional world. So, my first tip is to be realistic. Ignore any document that promises something of the “New American Dream” (The New Zealand Dream, however). You can find yourself returning home with an unfair view of the country. Immigration advisers and government agencies are largely responsible for this.
Although the unemployment rate is at an all-time low – as I write this article, it is one of the lowest in the developed world – but it does not mean that you will easily get a professional position similar to the one you now have. This is especially difficult for those whose mother tongue is not English. I will return to this point later.
Do your homework
Most countries in the world have requirements to allow visitors to work permanently and temporarily. New Zealand is no exception. You must have a work permit or be a resident. Let’s take a quick look at some of the permits recognized by the New Zealand Immigration Service:
Visitor Visa: Pure Tourism. Acting with this permit is illegal. Although there are illegal workers in New Zealand, it is not worth the risk, especially if you have an IT qualification. You can still come as a visitor and apply for a work permit while you are in the country as long as you are not already working. We will discuss this situation later.
Business Vacation Visa: It is given to people from some countries between the ages of 18 and 30 to come to New Zealand to travel and do temporary work. The duration and terms of this visa vary with the applicant’s nationality. It is usually granted to a limited number of people per country. The Spanish countries that granted this visa are: Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.
Seasonal work visas in horticulture and horticulture: You can apply for this visa once in New Zealand. It is allowed to work in tasks such as pruning and picking fruits for a maximum period of six weeks. You are not allowed to extend this permit. Only holders of this permit are allowed to operate in specific areas of the country in the above activities.
Student permits: You are allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. To obtain this permit, you must be a full-time student at a New Zealand institution. Since fees are not cheap for international students, in order to pay your fees and expenses, you will likely need more than 20 hours of work.
Work permit: This is the type of visa required to work in general. Full-time work is allowed for a limited time. There are many categories, requirements and limitations and they are always changing. However, as IT professionals, we are only interested in the Immediate Skills Shortage List category. There is a huge demand for IT and almost all IT skills flows are included in the shortage list. However, you need to get a job offer from a valid employer (here lies one of the biggest problems with this system). Also, if you quit your job, you must leave the country, unless you have another job offer.
Residence – Skilled Immigrants: The main difference from a work permit is that it is not related to a specific employer. Not only does it give freedom of choice, it also opens doors to the same possibilities that citizens enjoy: bank credits, student fees at local rates (under any other scheme that students pay international fees), student loans, business credits, and mortgages, are granted This permit is through an assembly system in which the applicant fills out a form called Expression of Interest (EOI). The applicant claims a degree according to age, English level, skill set, etc. This result is used in the pool. If the applicant claims 100 points or more, the EOI goes to the pool. Every two weeks, all EOIs over 140 points are automatically picked up to be invited to apply for residency. Next, lower EOI scores are identified with certain factors, such as skilled New Zealand labor. Consequently, the time required to be invited to apply varies considerably from case to case.
Other permits: There are many other ways to stay in New Zealand to work. Immigration laws are changing quickly.
As you can see, it is not easy. I recommend that you carefully read the New Zealand Immigration Service website before making a decision. If I had done this before coming to the country, I could have saved a lot of money and time. I tried my luck and entered a working vacation program. Things were neither easy nor cheap for me.