Anyone who has seen New Zealand’s stunning mountains or idyllic coastline will not be surprised to hear that it is still one of the most popular destinations for migrants as the NZ Government continue to encourage skilled expats to come and help ease the skills shortage.
New Zealand’s dramatic landscape is renowned the world over. The unique combination of glaciers, active volcanoes and endless lush green hills has long drawn tourists and expats, not to mention quite a few filmmakers. Spectacular mountain ranges make up the backbone of both the North and South Islands with placid lakes scattered through the valleys. You can hike across a glacier, climb a volcano or take a selfie with an active geyser. If you think Australia has the monopoly on beaches, rest assured that the New Zealand’s vast coastline also provides plenty of opportunities to swim, surf and sight-see, including the incredible 90 mile beach situated in the far north of the country.
New Zealand’s fascinating indigenous culture has undergone a strong resurgence in the last fifty years as the government has sought to redress the social imbalance of colonial times. Even the national flag is changing to reflect this change with the final design likely to include the silver fern, a powerful Māori symbol. From traditional artwork and folk tales to the world famous Haka, Māori culture is now woven into all aspects of New Zealand’s cultural identity. The country’s diversity is also apparent in the cosmopolitan cultural scene with events celebrating everything from Chinese New Year to Diwali. There are even some unique festivals you won’t find anywhere else on Earth such as the many Māori Kai food festivals and the Tremains Art Deco Festival in Napier.
The strong economy and unprecedented demands of the Christchurch rebuild project has created a skills gap across New Zealand. The Government has implemented several measures to make it easier for expats to move to New Zealand to take up jobs that cannot be filled locally. Agencies such as Skills in Demand are identifying skills shortages and actively publicising which roles are being recruited where. If you work in a sector currently in demand, it can boost your points score as a skilled migrant or allow you to apply for a temporary work visa. If you are working in a ‘long term shortage’ area, you can gain a work to residence visa which allows you apply for residency after two years.
With around a quarter of the country’s 4.4 million inhabitants identifying as immigrants, New Zealand has become a melting pot of European, Asian and indigenous cultures. In cities such as Auckland, you will find a dazzling array of international cultures from China and India to Egypt and Iran. Waves of immigration have shaped this friendly, tolerant and welcoming nation. British expats are well represented in almost every town and generally integrate easily and happily into their new neighbourhood. A recent study by Massey University has identified New Zealand, and Auckland in particular, as ‘super diverse’.