How to Immigrate to New Zealand from the UK

June 28, 2024
Iain MacLeod

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If you have been wanting to immigrate to New Zealand from the UK, you’re in for an adventure! New Zealand is a popular choice for many Britons seeking a new beginning.

One of the main draws for Britons is the similarity in lifestyle between the UK and New Zealand. While you might swap your afternoon tea for a barbecue, and cricket for rugby, these differences are relatively minor. Both nations share a passion for sports, an appreciation for the outdoors, and, of course, the same national language.

The high quality of life in New Zealand is a major attraction for UK immigrants. With its strong economy, excellent healthcare system, high standards of education, and emphasis on personal safety, New Zealand offers an excellent environment for raising a family and enjoying a fulfilling life. To supplement this, the New Zealand government provides a comprehensive range of social services that residents can count on. 

Learn how to immigrate to New Zealand from United Kingdom with this quick guide!

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Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

How to Move to New Zealand from the UK: A 10-Step Summary

  1. Research Visa Options: Identify the visa type that suits your circumstances, such as skilled worker visas, family visas, or student visas.
  1. Assess Eligibility: Check the eligibility requirements for your chosen visa, including points-tested criteria for skilled migration visas.
  1. Secure Employment: If applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa, obtain a job offer from a New Zealand employer willing to sponsor you.
  1. Gather Documentation: Collect necessary documents such as proof of qualifications, work experience, police certificates, and health checks.
  1. Submit Visa Application: Complete and submit your visa application online through the New Zealand Immigration website.
  1. Consult an Immigration Lawyer: Consider hiring an immigration lawyer to help navigate the complex application process and increase your chances of success.
  1. Wait for Approval: After submitting your application, wait for the processing time, which can vary depending on the visa type and individual circumstances.
  1. Prepare for Relocation: Once your visa is approved, make arrangements for your move, including housing, shipping personal belongings, and booking flights.
  1. Settle in New Zealand: Upon arrival, set up essential services such as banking, healthcare, and schooling if you have children.
  1. Apply for Permanent Residency and Citizenship: After living in New Zealand for the required period, apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship to enjoy full rights and privileges.

By following these steps, you can navigate the immigration process from The UK to New Zealand efficiently.

Deciding to move to New Zealand from the United Kingdom is a big change that comes hand–in-hand with a series of steps. New Zealand’s immigration policy outlines various pathways for individuals seeking to live and work in the country. The policy includes several visa types, the process for expression of interest and skills assessment, and options for permanent residency and citizenship.

a man looking out an airport window

Visa Types

New Zealand offers multiple visa options tailored to different needs and circumstances. Common visa categories include skilled migration visas, family visas, and student visas. Each visa type has specific requirements that applicants must meet.

New Zealand Visa Types
Visa Type Description Eligibility Duration
Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa For skilled workers who want to live and work in New Zealand permanently. Points-based system; must meet health, character, and English language requirements. Permanent
Essential Skills Work Visa For workers offered a full-time job in New Zealand. Job offer in an occupation listed on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists; meet health and character requirements. Up to 3 years
Partner of a New Zealander Resident Visa For partners of New Zealand citizens or residents. Prove a genuine and stable relationship; meet health and character requirements. Permanent
Working Holiday Visa For young people who want to travel and work in New Zealand for up to a year. Aged 18-30; have a return ticket or sufficient funds to purchase one; meet health and character requirements. Up to 12 months
Student Visa For those who want to study full-time in New Zealand. Acceptance by a New Zealand education provider; meet health and character requirements. Duration of the study program
Parent Retirement Resident Visa For parents of New Zealand citizens or residents who have an annual income and investment funds. Meet investment and income criteria; meet health and character requirements. Permanent
Parent and Grandparent Visitor Visa For parents and grandparents of New Zealand citizens or residents to visit for extended periods. Meet health and character requirements; sponsorship by a New Zealand citizen or resident. Up to 2 years
Partner of a Worker Work Visa For partners of workers in New Zealand to live and work temporarily. Prove a genuine and stable relationship; partner must hold a valid work visa; meet health and character requirements. Same as partner’s visa duration
Partner of a Student Work Visa For partners of students in New Zealand to live and work temporarily. Prove a genuine and stable relationship; partner must hold a valid student visa; meet health and character requirements. Same as partner’s visa duration

Visa Criteria

Each visa type has different criteria. The following are common requirements for many visa types:

Age Limits: Certain visas, like skilled migration visas, have age limits. For instance, applicants for skilled visas must generally be under 45 years of age.

Financial Requirements: Proof of sufficient funds to support oneself during the stay in New Zealand may be required.

Health Requirements: Some visas require a health examination to ensure the applicant meets the health standards set by the New Zealand government.

Character Requirements: Applicants must be of good character and may need to provide police certificates to prove this.

English proficiency: IELTS or TOEFL tests are used to determine this. Generally IELTS score of 6.0 and above is required for most visas, but for certain visas this is higher.

Skilled Migration to New Zealand from the UK

Skilled migration to New Zealand offers a great opportunity for UK professionals to leverage their expertise while experiencing life in a dynamic environment. The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa is designed to attract highly skilled workers who can contribute to the country’s economy. This visa operates on a points-based system, assessing factors such as age, work experience, qualifications, and job offers in New Zealand.

For UK immigrants, this visa provides a pathway to permanent residency, allowing them and their families to live, work, and study in New Zealand indefinitely. The process begins with an Expression of Interest (EOI). If the EOI meets the required points threshold, the applicant may be invited to apply for residency. This ensures that New Zealand attracts individuals who are well-prepared to integrate and contribute.

UK professionals often find their qualifications and experience highly valued in New Zealand. The country offers a balanced work-life culture, high-quality education, and a robust healthcare system. Support services, including orientation programs and community networks, help new migrants settle in, making the transition smoother.

Main Cities

Auckland: As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is known for its stunning harbors, diverse population, and vibrant cultural scene. It offers excellent job opportunities, top-notch restaurants, and a lively nightlife, making it a popular destination for immigrants.

Wellington: The capital city, Wellington, is famous for its creative arts scene, including film, music, and theatre. It boasts a compact, walkable city center, excellent coffee culture, and beautiful waterfront views. The city also offers strong employment prospects, particularly in government and creative industries.

Christchurch: Known as the “Garden City,” Christchurch is renowned for its green spaces and stunning parks. It is a city in transition, with a strong focus on innovation and rebuilding after the 2011 earthquake. Christchurch offers a mix of urban and outdoor lifestyles, with a lower cost of living than Auckland and Wellington.

Hamilton: Located in the Waikato region, Hamilton is known for its agricultural industry and growing tech sector. The city offers a relaxed lifestyle, with excellent educational institutions and beautiful gardens. It’s an ideal choice for families and those seeking a quieter pace of life.

Dunedin: With its Scottish heritage, Dunedin is known for its historic architecture and vibrant student population, thanks to the University of Otago. The city offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural events, and a strong sense of community, making it an appealing option for many immigrants.

Tauranga: Situated in the Bay of Plenty, Tauranga is known for its beautiful beaches and warm climate. It has a thriving economy based on horticulture, tourism, and marine industries. Tauranga offers a high quality of life with a more relaxed, coastal lifestyle, attracting both families and retirees.

New Zealand landscapes

Economy and Employment in New Zealand

New Zealand features a diverse economy with opportunities in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, technology, and healthcare. The job market is competitive yet balanced, prioritising a healthy work-life equilibrium.

Salaries in New Zealand vary by industry, with sectors like agriculture and technology offering competitive pay scales. However, the cost of living, including housing and daily expenses, can be significant in urban centres.

Unemployment rates typically range from 4-6%, varying by region and industry demand. Skilled workers are highly sought after, and specialised qualifications can significantly boost job prospects. Networking and gaining local work experience are pivotal in securing employment opportunities tailored to your career aspirations.

Healthcare and Social Services in New Zealand

New Zealand’s healthcare system is recognized for its accessibility and quality of care. The public healthcare system, funded through general taxation, ensures that essential services such as doctor visits, hospital care, and some prescription medications are available either for free or at a subsidised cost to residents and eligible visa holders.

Private health insurance is also available and can provide additional coverage options, including shorter wait times for non-urgent medical procedures.

In addition to healthcare, New Zealand offers comprehensive social services. These include financial support such as unemployment benefits, disability assistance, and family support services. Education is highly prioritized, with state-funded schools providing high-quality education, and numerous universities and institutions offering a wide range of courses and degrees.

Migrate to Australia

Our immigration lawyers and registered migration agents in Melbourne will be able to find you the best visa for your unique situation. You’ll be in good hands.

Imagine the Possibilities: Migrate to New Zealand  

If you’re considering immigrating to New Zealand from the UK, Imagine Immigration Services streamlines the process. Our immigration lawyers and migration advisers offer online seminars covering eligibility, costs, and lifestyle differences between New Zealand and the UK. These sessions provide essential information and address all your questions, ensuring a seamless transition. With our extensive experience, our registered migration agents can assist you in obtaining various visas, including Student, Partner, Parent, and Work visas, as well as providing comprehensive services for permanent residence and citizenship applications.

Contact Imagine Immigration Services today and let us help you turn your migration dreams into reality.

View our other guides on immigration:

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Iain MacLeod

Iain has been working as an Immigration Adviser since 1988 and has been running his own practice since 1990. In 1998 he merged his practice with Myer Lipschitz leading to the creation of Protea Pacific Limited which was rebranded in 2008 to IMMagine New Zealand Limited...

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