How do I move to New Zealand?

We often get asked this question, and it is a simple question with hundreds of possible answers. There are many factors which will make it possible, impossible, harder, easier and generally dictate which pathway is the most appropriate for each person. There is no one solution for everyone because everyone has different abilities, finances, skills and personal situations. Even factors like country of citizenship can be significant.

Are you unable to come to NZ because of Covid restrictions?

If you are generally eligible to apply for a visa, but can't come to NZ because of the Covid border restrictions, then basically all you can do is wait until these restrictions are lifted or modified. For example if you have the funds to apply for a course of study and then for a student visa, you have a valid pathway to come to NZ, but at the time of writing this article, this is not possible because of Covid.

Apart from the Covid restrictions, the next factor to consider is what pathway is most suitable for you. There are many possible immigration pathways depending on whether you have a NZ citizen or resident partner, whether you wish to study, work or invest in NZ. All pathways have their own specific requirements.

If you want to come to work:

The fundamental factor that many people miss is you need to have a job offer before you can apply for a visa

The 2 absolute conditions for work that you need to meet are:

  • Skilled work is necessary for a long term stay. This is work that you need a qualification or at least 3 years' work experience to do, and
  • the job matches your qualifications and / or work experience

However, these are only the basic conditions for immigration, the conditions for actually being able to be hired may be different. In general there are jobs that are more suitable for immigration purposes and those that are generally less suitable. Less suitable doesn't mean that it would be impossible to succeed, it just means that it is less likely to succeed.

To improve your chances of success (in addition to the 2 conditions above), the following very general points are important to consider:

  • You need to have good English - specifically communication skills
  • trade jobs, or jobs with tangible results have a better chance of success - carpenter, mechanic, bricklayer, hairdresser, etc
  • Highly skilled jobs are only useful if you can get NZ registration - Doctor, lawyer, nurse, teacher, etc
  • office type jobs and management level jobs generally go to New Zealanders  

If you have a Kiwi partner

if you are in a genuine relationship with a NZ citizen or resident, then there are options to apply for a series of visa which will allow you to come to NZ and eventually gain residence. The important point of this pathway is to conclusively prove that your relationship is genuine. There is no right to this visa, proof is paramount and very carefully examined. Many people are declined through lack of solid proof, so this needs to be taken seriously.

If you want to study

If you can enrol in a suitable course of study, you may be able to apply for a student visa. This needs to be an NZQA accredited course, and most courses of study are, but it is also important that you can afford the study fees, and that the course of study is relevant to your life experiences and life plans. After study you may be able to apply for a job or further visas, if this is your intention then the whole process must be carefully managed as many people waste their opportunity for residence through poor use of working rights and so on.

If you want to invest

If you have a lot of money to invest, categories are available for investments of over $3,000,000 or $10,000,000 NZD with various restrictions, then this may be the best category for you

if you want to set up your own business

The EWV category is available for experienced business people with a unique business plan, lots of experience and enough funds to set this up. it is a difficult category that does not have a high pass rate overall. To succeed in this category your business must be based on solid management and entrepreneurial experience, and the business must employ NZ residents and be profitable and sustainable.

Just to visit or if none of the above apply?

If you just want to visit, then you will still need a specific plan and genuine purpose of the visit, but this could then be leveraged into other pathways if the opportunity arises. Your country of citizenship or adverse immigration history can make any pathway much more difficult or even impossible in some cases. If you don't suit any of the options above then it may not be possible for you to come to NZ, or at least it will be very difficult.


Check out our YouTube video at