Living and Working in New Zealand

Think of a first world country minus the overcrowding—this is what New Zealand offers to those who seek to find the work-life balance that eludes the majority. Data from trusted sources like the UN, HR consultants Mercer, and the HSBC 2017 Expat Explorer reveal that New Zealand cities are among the top when it comes to scoring high on the Human Development Index, popularity among expats, and quality of living. How, you may ask, do I get a piece of that less-stressed life? Read on and find out.


Kiwis are proud of having created a country were life outside work is as important as one’s career. How can you join them? First, you have to apply for a visa that’s right for your circumstance. Prior to lodging an application, ask yourself:  “Do I want to live and work permanently in NZ?” Answering this would help you zero in on the right type of visa.

Depending on the passport you are holding plus the type of work you are involved in, you may qualify for a longer stay in NZ. Popular visas for those intending to live and work in the country include the Working holiday visa, the Work Visa, and the Resident Visa. Details and requirements are available online through the government’s official immigration website <>.

Minimum Wages

Expats prefer to work and live in New Zealand for good reason. Aside from the more relaxed pace of living, pay is good enough to sustain a quality lifestyle. Minimum wages are set by the government and are reviewed every year. As of April 2018, the minimum wage for individuals 17 years old and older is     $ 16.50, before tax. A newbie in the NZ job market must note that there are different types of minimum wage rates: adult, starting out, and training. Below is the description of each class.

Minimum Wage Rate Per Hour Description
Adult $ 16.50 Those who are 16 years old and older and are not trainees. Those who are involved in training or supervising other workers as a part of their job.
Starting-out $ 13.20 Individuals aged 16-17 who haven’t been employed continuously for six months with their current employer.

Individuals aged 18-19 who haven’t been employed continuously for six months with their current employer and have been paid one or more social security benefits for six months or more.

Training $ 13.20 Employees aged 20 or older who will be apprentices. The employment agreement will state that they would need at least 60 credits of industry training per year to become qualified in the area they are working in.

Working Conditions

If you have the “Can-do” attitude, then you’d easily integrate in a Kiwi workplace. New Zealand’s employment laws are comprehensive and they are set in place to maintain the fairness of NZ workplaces.

Both employer and employees have rights and obligations under the NZ employment laws. For instance, your employer is obliged under the law to pay a mutually-agreed upon wage. You, on the other hand, are obliged to work within the bounds of your visa.

The law is your best ally in preventing exploitation. Read up on your minimum rights here                                     <>.

Jobs in Demand

The New Zealand economy shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the Government forecasts that employment average grow rate will be at 2.9% per year. If you have the right set of skills, obtaining a work and residence visa will be a breeze. Immigration New Zealand identified the fields of agriculture and forestry, construction, engineering, ICT and electronics, as well as health and social services as having long term shortages. Don’t see your occupation on the list? Don’t despair. The complete skill shortage list checker is available here <>

Cost of Living

There is no hard and fast rule in determining the cost of living in NZ. Depending on where you are from and where you stay in New Zealand, the cost of living may be cheaper or more expensive than you expect.

For instance, renting a house in Auckland will cost you $555 per week while renting the same in Manukau will only cost you $510.  A standard, 2-litre milk ranges from $3.50 to 4.50, while a Big Mac is pegged at $6.

Get a feel of how much you need to maintain a decent standard of living by using this interactive calculator <>

Imagine a life of fulfilling family and professional life in an environment where one can stop and enjoy the beauty of nature. All of it is possible when you decide to live and work in New Zealand.