One of my most asked questions since moving to New Zealand from the United Kingdom is how. How did you do it?
When I first looked around at advice and help about moving to New Zealand, I really struggled to find a blogger that documented the whole process, so I thought I would write guide from my experience on moving to New Zealand from the UK on a WHV to help anyone in a similar situation. I am currently on month 10 out of 23 so I will be documenting my next experiences on getting future visas too!
If you are thinking of coming to New Zealand for travel and work for a year or two, I would recommend the Working Holiday Visa, however if your thinking of making the move more permenant I would suggest you had a look around the Immigration website to see what your options are.
In general, the Working Holiday Visa is available to people aged 18-30 and allows the recipient to work for up to 12 months. (IF you are applying from the UK you can work for 12 months and stay in New Zealand and Travel for 23 months in total) You can also study for 6 months too, but heads up, the cost for university for international students is insane.
You must have a return flight purchased or be able to show you have sufficient funds to buy a ticket out of the country. You will also need a medical check which also require a chest x-ray and vaccination records if you choose to go for a 23 month visa, to prove you’re in good health. Upon entry to the country, you may also need to show bank statements showing you have enough money to live on while you’re in New Zealand; they require $350 NZ per month of your visit, thats around £125 p/m.
In order to get your medical check, you will need to visit one of the listed panel physicians; I visited the Kingsbridge Doctors in London and found the process quick and easy. It cost me around £350 for the full check.
The process of applying for the actual visa itself is very simple and can be approved within weeks or days.
There are third-party organizations and licensed immigration advisors who will do the visa process for you and promise to help you get settled in New Zealand, but in my opinion, this is a waste of money. The process is so simple and New Zealand is fairly friendly and easy to navigate once you’re here so I recommend applying on your own directly through immigration. However, if you are looking to apply for longer term visas it might be worth investing in a advisor to ensure that you get all of the correct documentation you require.
Once approved, your visa will be sent electronically so no need to send off your passport. Congratulations! You’re ready to buy your ticket and pack your bag.
-Ready to go?-
There are a few things you need to prepare before you leave the country. First of all, print off all of your documents; your visa, bank statements, return plane ticket (if you need one). I’d also recommend scanning copies of your passport and driving license as you will need them once you arrive in New Zealand and you might not have access to scanner.
One of the first things I made sure I had before I left was a NZ bank account, Some banks will require an IRD (tax) number before you can open an account, however bigger branches like BNZ, ANZ and Kiwibank only require identity and a visa. I Applied for a BNZ bank account and had to verify myself once I landed before I could transfer any money over. (Although I think this might have changed).
I would 100% recommend you getting travel insurance before leaving, I’m fairly sure you need to prove this as part of your visa requirements too. I brought cover through Big Cat Travel Insurance because they were the only company that could over 23 months for a one way traveller; I didn’t purchase a return ticket.
You can apply for a IRD number once you arrived in New Zealand through a post office. Please note you will need to prove you have a bank account with a few transactions before you can apply, you will also need a physical address too so ensure that your hostel will allow you to use their address if you haven’t found a place to live yet.
-How much money do I need to save-
Some people opt to travel the country straight away before working while others seek employment immediately so this depends on the person.
Obviously, if you’re planning on traveling a lot and working a little, you’ll need more money saved up. For the first few weeks while you’re getting settled, plan on spending $60-$70 a day to be safe.
If you’re planning on buying a car, you should have $1,500 – $3,500 NZD saved up. Petrol runs around $2.00 per liter so if you’re planning on driving a lot, factor in fuel costs. Food is pricey in New Zealand but you can save money by cooking your own meals. Eating out costs around $20-$25 per meal.
Ok so you have landed in New Zealand.. Now what?
-HOW TO GET A JOB-
Let me be clear if you looking to earn and save a lot of money while you’re traveling, New Zealand’s working holiday visa is not for you.
You can easily make enough money to get by and supplement your travels but this is not a visa for those wanting permanent, high-paying jobs. Be prepared for low-skilled, temporary jobs. Waiting tables, washing dishes, picking fruit and cleaning hotels are all common jobs for travelers. Minimum wage is $16.50 and you can expect to earn $16.50 – $18 an hour for backpacker jobs. There are a few call centre jobs that become available for WHV too, which pay more than your standard rate.
I was lucky to be in touch with an employer before I left the UK so I had a job straight away once I landed, I would recommend looking on the following websites;
Before your trip to see what’s around the area you are starting in and start applying as and when you require work.
-Where will I live?-
This is one thing I was most apprehensive about before leaving, I’d never visited New Zealand before and had no idea if I was about to move to somewhere rough as hell. I first stayed in an Air BNB until I found my feet and was earning enough money to move into a flat with 4 other people after a few weeks. If you know you will have enough money, I would say start flatting from the first day because it will allow you to make friends and be sociable. You can find rooms on TradeMe, Facebook groups, local bulletin boards, or rent your own place through a real estate company. Depending on where you live, rent generally costs $150-$250 per week, but can go up to even $400 in shared houses in competitive places. Depending on your location, finding your own room can take time so make sure you have enough money saved up to last you until you find a home.
Some travelers prefer to spend their year living in and out of hostels. Hostels cost around $20-40 depending on time of year and location. If you’re staying in a location for an extended period of time, most hostels will have a “long-term” resident room offered at a discounted price. Make sure you book a hostel before you leave for NZ to avoid disappointment!
If you found this post useful, please let me know and I will document more of my New Zealand struggles!