How to Immigrate to New Zealand: A Complete Guide to the New Zealand Immigration Process

New Zealand

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New Zealand is a scenic land in the Pacific Ocean. Made up of two main islands, the country also has several smaller islands. With a high quality of life and plenty of appeal, many people wonder how to immigrate to New Zealand.

Living in New Zealand offers a world of opportunities and adventures. You’ll have picturesque landscapes close to home. There are outdoor activities galore. Learn more about indigenous Maori culture and fall in love with rugby. Savor fresh air and delicious wines and food. There are many reasons to move to New Zealand!

There’s a lot of difference between being a tourist and immersing yourself in local life. While working holidays in New Zealand will let you experience the country for a short time, imagine setting up a new life in New Zealand. Tempted to make the change? Here’s a useful overview of the New Zealand immigration process.

Visiting New Zealand as a Tourist

Before thinking about how to immigrate to New Zealand, spend time exploring as a tourist. After all, it’s quite drastic to set up a new home without knowing anything about a place first!

To enter as a tourist, many visitors will need to get an ETA New Zealand. The ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is a visa-waiver system. People from certain countries can easily apply online. The process is quick and you’ll get approval by email.

The new system will come into operation soon.

How to Immigrate to New Zealand

There are several ways you can immigrate to The Land of the Long White Cloud:

  • Get a Work to Residence Visa
  • Move as a “Skilled Migrant”
  • Get a Business Visa
  • Invest in New Zealand
  • Open a Franchise
  • Via Family Connections
  • Retire in New Zealand

The New Zealand immigration process is different for each category. The Skilled Migrant scheme, WTR visa, and Business Visa are the most common ways for people to move to New Zealand.

Omapere Sunset

Work to Residence Visa

There are three types of WTR visa, numbered 1, 2 and 3.

The WTR1 visa is for people who work full time for an accredited employer. WTR2 applies to those who have exceptional talents in sports, the arts or culture. WTR3 is for workers who can fill national shortages in the workplace.

There is an official list of skills needed. They include the fields of health, engineering, construction, IT and finance.

Each visa allows long-term stay while working towards residency. Processing usually takes several months.

Skilled Migrant Scheme

People with certain skills can apply to move to New Zealand. You should apply to the Immigration Service. They may give you a visa to seek relevant work or a permanent residency visa.

The scheme uses a points system. Age, employment offers, family, experience and skills all affect point scoring. Younger people get more points and applicants must be younger than 56. You will get higher points if you have skills that are in high demand. Experience in New Zealand also helps people to score higher.

Applicants must be good at English. There are also health and character checks.

Most applications are processed within around 50 days. Once granted, this visa gives the right to residency.

New Zealand Business Visa

There is an entrepreneur category for self-employed people who want to settle in New Zealand. You should have been self-employed in the country for at least two years. You must also show that your business benefits New Zealand.

Alternatively, the entrepreneur plus category is for self-employed business owners who have worked in New Zealand for two years, created at least three jobs, and invested in the country.

Long-term business visas let people stay in New Zealand for substantial periods.

Invest in New Zealand

You can get New Zealand residency by investing in the country.

If you invest 10,000,000 NZD and have stayed in New Zealand for a minimum period you can apply.

Alternatively, you can invest less money but spend more time in the country to apply for the Investor 2 residency.

Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

Other Ways to Immigrate to New Zealand

Franchise owners can seek to expand their business to New Zealand. This is often a long procedure and a frustrating New Zealand immigration process.

If you have family in New Zealand you can apply for residency. There are special visas for partners of people legally working or studying in New Zealand.

People who are at least 66 years old can apply to retire in New Zealand. The fee is 2,600 NZD. Applicants must show proof of minimum funds. Furthermore, retirees must have valid health insurance.

You are advised to speak to professionals to help with the New Zealand immigration process.

How to Immigrate to New Zealand: Practicalities

Many roads to residency begin with visas for temporary stays. You should make sure you have the relevant funds to support yourself and pay visa fees. Don’t give up your old life until your plans in New Zealand are finalized!

Having a confirmed job offer is of huge benefit when you want to obtain residency in New Zealand. The situation is even better if you are already working in New Zealand. While it can be tough to obtain work without residency, apply for all relevant jobs to improve your chances.

Keep in mind that the easiest visa isn’t always the best for your needs. Fully explore all visa options before applying and paying the fees. Likewise, you should also carefully consider the different roads to residency.

Consider the visa requirements of any family members who plan to move with you. Be prepared for a long (and potentially expensive) process if you want to take pets with you.

Think about what area of the country you would prefer to live. You may need help with obtaining suitable housing. Consider transportation and local amenities when choosing somewhere to live. The proximity of health care, schools, shops and recreation facilities are just a few things to think about.

New Zealand’s immigration process might seem overwhelming to begin with. The New Zealand Immigration Service is often the best place to start when thinking about how to immigrate to New Zealand.

Moving to New Zealand might not be easy. But the reward is certainly very sweet!

Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams
Sarah Williams is a cat-loving curious wanderer. She left her UK home in 2010 and has been living abroad and exploring ever since. The urge to discover gets stronger year upon year!

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