General information for new migrants and people needing a visa to come to New Zealand

There are some general tips which will help you understand New Zealand's immigration system much better. We think the more quality information you have, then better choices you are able to make.

1. New Zealand's immigration instructions (rules) change regularly

The Immigration Act 2009 was designed to make an immigration system that is easily changeable to keep up with the needs of New Zealand at any time. What this means is that when NZ needs a certain type of skilled migrant, the system changes to allow these people to gain entry or residency easier.
Your chances of being able to live in NZ directly depend on your actual ability to settle successfully, meaning that you should have good English, skilled job skills and enough money to support yourself. You can show INZ that you meet the criteria in many possible ways and a good Immigration adviser is able to help potential migrants make INZ understand that they meet the criteria, even when it may not be so clear at first. It also means that just because someone else was able to get a visa using a certain approach that this will also work for you. INZ assesses each case on its merits, and makes a decision based on the immigration instructions at the time.
It also means that loopholes in the law are closed very quickly. In the past there have been cases where applicants have been able to get a visa even though technically they did not meet the criteria. By using certain techniques in their applications they had been able to get a visa, but once INZ becomes aware of such loopholes they move to close them as soon as possible. What may have worked for applicants a month ago may already not work for applicants today. This is even more true for applications under the old immigration Act. It is very dangerous to think that because a certain dishonest way worked for someone else that it will also work for you.

2. Don't rush. Make an effort to lodge a good application

Lodging a good application means that you will have all the necessary documentation and can easily show INZ that you meet the criteria for the visa you are applying for. In some cases this also means showing that you have the required level of English. If your English is not good enough, then start studying now. You also may need to retrain or gain extra qualifications to be able to work in NZ. It might be best to study here to gain a NZ qualification in some cases. There are many possibilities and it always pays to sort out these kinds of things as early as possible.

3. Getting a visa is only the first step

Once your application has been accepted by INZ and your visa granted, you can legally come to NZ and do whatever your visa says you to do. However, every visa has conditions and you need to obey them. If you are on a student visa you will need to be studying, if you are on a work visa you need to be working, and so on.
The saddest thing we see is new migrants who get a residence visa, only to give up and go back to their home country because they were unable to live comfortably in New Zealand. To be able to live comfortably there are 3 important things to consider:

  1. Having good English. If your English is good you will be able to live your everyday life comfortably. Having good English does not only mean meeting INZ's IELTS requirements, it means being able to communicate with Kiwis comfortably, it means understanding appropriate cultural language usage, it means being able to understand Kiwi accents and everything like that.
  2. Having a good cultural understanding. Understanding why people do certain things is an important step in feeling comfortable in a new society. You don't have to do the same things most of the time, but if you understand why other people do them you won't feel as stressed. Having a good cultural understanding also helps you to make friends (and keep them) and helps you to relax so you are more able to balance your life.
  3. When in Rome... If you try to adapt to NZ life as much as possible you will feel much more comfortable than if you are trying to live exactly as you would in your own country. NZ is a very tolerant society, so we do not force migrants to live their life in any particular way, but people who are able to modify their daily habits to suit NZ society a little more are much more comfortable here. For example many Kiwis like to have a hobby or do some sports rather than going shopping or sightseeing in our free time, so the facilities to enjoy our leisure time are much more suited to that kind of thing. The type of food you eat can also make a difference. It is possible to get many kinds of ethnic foods in New Zealand, but it is still cheaper and easier to go shopping at the supermarket rather than always going to the ethic food markets.

 4. Make sure you have enough time and enough money

Things usually need a minimum amount of time and a minimum amount of money. It is good to try not to waste time and money, but often when you try to take shortcuts and decide not to do things that are necessary to try and save money, things will often go wrong. If you try to prepare your application without meeting some criteria, and then submit it because you don't have time, it will be declined and you will have to start again.This takes more time and more money. If there is something you don't understand well, but you don't want to pay for professional advice, your application may be declined and it will take more time and money.