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Are you considering a big move, even halfway across the world? If so, New Zealand might just be the perfect destination for you. With its stunning landscapes, strong work-life balance, and welcoming culture, it’s no wonder that a growing number of British expats are finding their new home in New Zealand. Approximately 4.49% of New Zealand’s population consists of British expats, drawn by the country’s unique charm and opportunities. Keep reading to find out more before moving to New Zealand.
New Zealand, a country roughly 10% larger than the UK, is home to just 5 million people compared to the UK’s 60 million. This means more space, fewer crowds, and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors without the hustle and bustle often associated with more densely populated countries.
It’s important to note that the cost of living in New Zealand can be relatively high. Preparing for this before you make the move is a good idea. However, the benefits of living in this beautiful country often outweigh the financial considerations.
There are lots of benefits to living in New Zealand; let’s take a look at a few of them.
1. Work/Life Balance: New Zealand consistently ranks as the top country for work-life balance, according to the Global Life-work Balance Index. With generous employee benefits such as 52 weeks of maternity leave and 30 days of annual leave, you’ll have more time to explore stunning natural landscapes, from urban parks to picturesque coastlines. The country also offers excellent job opportunities and career prospects.
2. Climate: New Zealand’s climate varies from subtropical in the north to cool temperate in the south, with alpine mountain conditions. While seasons are opposite to those in the UK, you’ll enjoy mild winters, warm summers, and even the possibility of celebrating Christmas on the beach.
3. Safety: New Zealand is known for its low crime rates and peaceful communities. It ranks among the least corrupt and most peaceful countries. Strict consumer protection laws ensure transparency and fairness in everyday transactions.
4. Culture: Kiwis, as New Zealanders are often known, are warm, hospitable, and sports-loving people. The country’s diverse mix of cultures, including Maori, European, Pacific Island, and Asian influences, creates a rich and inclusive society. The nation’s indigenous culture is deeply respected and integrated into daily life.
5. Housing Choices: New Zealand offers a variety of housing options, from suburban homes to rural living, lifestyle blocks, apartments, flats, and townhouses. Most homes are designed to make the most of natural light and outdoor living, perfect for enjoying the Kiwi summer lifestyle. While double glazing, air conditioning, and central heating may not be standard, these can often be added to meet the preferences of UK natives. As of 2023, the average house price in New Zealand is approximately £375,570 (GBP).
6. Healthcare: New Zealand provides free or low-cost public healthcare to those with a work visa valid for two years or more, citizens, and residents. While private healthcare options exist, many locals opt for the public system. You’ll need a National Health Index (NHI) Number to access free healthcare. Be aware that calling an ambulance may incur an emergency cost unless you’re a support scheme subscriber.
New Zealand offers various visa types, including student, work, resident, business, and family visas. To obtain permanent residence, you must hold a New Zealand residence visa and have lived in the country for at least two years.
Requirements for each visa vary, but you can compare which one is right for you and apply for your visa on the New Zealand government website. (https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/preparing-a-visa-application/the-application-process/applying-for-a-visa-online/process)
Visa applications will most likely require a range of documents in order to be accepted.
Be prepared to gather essential documents such as vaccination certificates, birth and marriage certificates, academic qualifications, references from previous employers, your CV, credit references, and an international driver’s license or permit.
You can use your international driver’s license for the first 12 months after arriving in New Zealand. Afterwards, you’ll need to obtain a New Zealand driver’s license, which may require passing a medical exam, eyesight, theory, and practical tests. Applications for converting your licence can be made at various conversion centres around the country (https://www.nzta.govt.nz/driver-licences/new-residents-and-visitors/converting-to-nz-driver-licence/overseas-conversion-driver-licensing-agents/). The good news is that you can also ship your UK car, as they drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand.
Regions in New Zealand range from rural farm areas to multi-cultural cities. Whether you’re looking for a safe and peaceful town, a beachy paradise, or a built-up metropolis full of things to do, New Zealand has it all!
Hawke’s Bay: Known for its abundant sunshine (around 83 sunny days on average), Hawke’s Bay offers a Mediterranean lifestyle. It’s famous for its wine, sports activities, art galleries, and top secondary schools. The region also boasts a thriving fresh produce industry.
Waikato: This native-rich region offers peaceful rural escapes, native forests, caves, surf beaches, mountains, and geothermal areas. Within the region, Hamilton City is vibrant and diverse, offering a mix of tranquillity and activities. Despite its primarily agricultural focus, job opportunities exist in business, finance, health, and education sectors.
Wellington: New Zealand’s capital is known for its cafe and craft beer culture, high salaries, and education. It’s a cosmopolitan city with excellent restaurants, a thriving artistic and cultural community, and a relatively warm, dry, and windy climate. The city combines urban life with sandy beaches and a working harbour, making it unique among capital cities. Major sectors include ICT, engineering, business and finance, health, and construction.
West Coast: This region offers dramatic scenery, national parks, and ample rainfall. Its focus on forestry, agriculture, and tourism makes it an excellent place for a semi-rural lifestyle. Despite the mountains and forests, snowfall is rare. Tourism thrives thanks to the area’s natural beauty, making it a unique and picturesque place to call home.
In summary, moving from the UK to New Zealand offers a range of opportunities for a fulfilling and enriching life. With its stunning landscapes, strong sense of community, and high-quality work-life balance, it’s no wonder that so many British expats are choosing to make New Zealand their new home.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, a peaceful escape, or a vibrant urban experience, New Zealand has something to offer everyone. If you’re ready to start your new life abroad, contact us today.