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New Zealand

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What opportunities are there for working in New Zealand?

"Will I be able to get a job?" If you're thinking about coming to New Zealand to live and work, this is one of the most important questions to ask. And the answer depends on your skills and experience.
New Zealand is looking for people who value our culture, our country, our way of life.  But it's more than that.  We're also looking for people with the skills and experience needed for our future economic development.


Our economy is growing and it's stronger now than it's been for several years.  There's a high level of employment but it's still a competitive job market. The employment scene is changing because of technology and differences in  our workforce.


The labour market is diverse and there are different work opportunities in different regions of New Zealand. You’ll need a good level of English and the qualifications required for your occupation or profession. There are standards that you’ll need to meet to have your qualifications recognised here.


Finding work can take some time and effort, but there are agencies and organisations that can help you succeed. We’ll tell you about the skills New Zealand is looking for, what requirements there are for jobs and how to look for employment.


The employment scene

It’s a good time to come and work in New Zealand.  But working life here may be quite different from your home country.


We’ve had dramatic changes in employment trends in many industries over the last ten to fifteen years. And it’s continuing to change. These things aren’t happening just in New Zealand. Similar changes are occurring in most developed (OECD) nations.


Our labour market is ageing. There’s been a big drop in the birth-rate, so our workforce is getting older and there aren’t so many young people to replace those who retire.

There’s an increasing number of people from other countries working in New Zealand – we’re becoming more multi-ethnic.


Types of jobs are changing too – more jobs are part-time, and more people are looking for a good lifestyle as well as a good salary.


Typical New Zealand businesses are small compared to those in other countries. But there are also large international companies with offices in New Zealand. And there is a strong government sector, especially in Wellington.


The job market differs from one region to another. You’ll find that most government jobs and ones in large organisations are in our bigger cities. But there are exciting opportunities in regional centres too, especially for some occupations.

Work opportunities

Our economy needs people with a positive attitude and the skills and experience to help New Zealand grow and expand. We want it to become an even better place for us all in the future. So if you have the background we’re looking for you’ll be very welcome.


To do well here you need to understand the kind of country New Zealand is and the culture we have. You need to know what salary to expect, how we live, the differences between our country and yours. You need to have good English skills too.


The workforce and types of work being carried out differ from one region to another. Most government jobs, and jobs in large organisations, are in our bigger cities. But there are exciting initiatives happening in the smaller centres too. So there are different regional opportunities.


We’re looking for people with the skills and experience the New Zealand economy needs.


And we welcome people who will work in our identified future growth areas. If you believe you have the skills and qualifications that we’re looking for, read our Living in New Zealand guide for more information about life and work in this country.

Finding work

Finding work can be a time-consuming process. It's common to apply for a number of jobs before being successful. And new residents often take initial positions that are more junior than the one they had at home.


Sometimes this is because of your English language skills. Sometimes it's because you need to become familiar with New Zealand culture and working conditions. If you’re a teacher, social worker or in the medical profession it’s very important to understand our culture because you’ll be working closely with people. For many jobs – especially senior ones - you need to have a knowledge of our society and some local work experience.


Read the sections Settling in and The Treaty in our Living in New Zealand guide to help you understand our way of life and culture.


Before you begin looking for a job, there are two important steps that you need to take. First, make sure that your qualifications will be recognised in New Zealand. And find out what level of English language you need to have in your profession or occupation.

Skills wanted

Many regions in New Zealand have skill shortages in particular professions and industries. These shortages are barriers to growth. We’re keen to recruit people into these industries and into our regions. The Immediate Skill Shortage List identifies the jobs and skills needed in different regions.
Occupations on our Long Term Skill Shortage List show the areas where we have a shortage of skilled people throughout New Zealand. These are sustained and ongoing shortages, not just temporary or seasonal ones. There is particularly strong demand for the following  priority occupations:


  • Information and communications technology (systems analysts, project managers, solutions architects, programmers, film animators, design engineers)
  • Health groups (doctors who will work in rural areas, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, anaesthetists, psychiatrists, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, social workers, among others)
  • Trades occupations including electricians, mechanics, plumbers, welders, carpenters and fitter turners
  • Horticultural occupations such as grower managers and orchard managers
  • Veterinarians
  • Secondary school teachers


Check out the Long Term Skill Shortage List for the complete list and details of the qualifications and experience you’ll need.

What is required? - Skilled Migrant Category

If you want to move to New Zealand you’ll need to meet a number of requirements to gain residence under the Skilled Migrant Category.
We need to be assured that you and any family members included in your application:


  • are healthy. If you’re invited to apply for residence you need to have a doctor assess your health and fill in our medical and chest x-ray certificates for each member of your family coming to New Zealand.
  • are of good character. If you're invited to apply for residence you'll have to provide police certificates as evidence of good character for everyone 17 years and over included in your application.
  • meet a minimum standard of English. Our requirements are different depending on whether you're the principal applicant  – the person completing the form – or the non-principal applicant. Non-principal applicants include the partner and dependent children of the person completing the form.


Once you’ve met these requirements, whether we invite you to apply for residence will depend on the number of points you qualify for when you complete your Expression of Interest.


We rank the Expressions of Interest, by number of points, from highest to lowest, and every two weeks we set a selection point. The latest selection point is available from the home page of our website.


We provide points for…

  • skilled employment. This is work that requires considerable specialist, technical or management expertise, and it is relevant to your recognised qualification or your previous work experience. You may have gained this expertise through completing a recognised qualification or through work experience in which this expertise is key.
  • work experience. We award points for work experience that has given you transferable skills that will help you settle in and contribute to New Zealand.
    This is work experience that:
    • is relevant to your qualifications or skilled employment in New Zealand
    • required or enabled you to gain significant specialist, technical or management expertise.
  • a recognised qualification. You can qualify for points for qualifications such as trade certificates, and diplomas, bachelor degrees and post-graduate qualifications. Recognised trade qualifications may also include some level three qualifications that meet industry standards in certain occupations. We provide points for these qualifications as they indicate your ability to gain skilled employment in New Zealand and because qualified people enrich New Zealand’s work capabilities.
  • age. Because we are looking for people who can make a long-term contribution to New Zealand, you must be 55 years or under to apply under this category.
  • close family. We recognise that family support enhances prospects for employability and settlement. You can gain points if you have a close family member who is in New Zealand and is a New Zealand resident.








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© 2023;
Updated: woensdag 28 februari 2024
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