How To Get A Job In New Zealand – Our Top Tips For Job Success

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail! I’m sure most of you reading this have heard of this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin. It sums up the advice in this article perfectly, for those wanting to know how to get a job in New Zealand. 

Preparation and Planning

Moving to a new country is a monumental task requiring careful research, preparation and planning and finding employment makes up a large part of this process. As such, there are some important considerations and fantastic tools that you can take advantage of.

The first place to start is desk research about the job role and industry that you are wanting to work in, whether this is transferring from a similar role or a brand new profession. Once you understand the roles that are available and their requirements in terms of qualifications, licences and visas, you can then look at whether you have the qualifications needed. It may be you need to complete a course, gain accreditation or work experience prior to making the move and this can delay things.

You need to make sure your research covers everything about the job you wish to do and minimises the chances of any nasty surprises occuring once you’ve moved. Some of the topics to research include:

  • Current job role v new job role: Are there cultural differences? New rules and regulations that apply in New Zealand?
  • Employer background: Where are they based? What is their specialisation? Are there many competitors? Are they an accredited employer with New Zealand Immigration?
  • Benefits and remuneration: Pay comparisons, benefits available in that industry and employment rates.

Once you have completed your preparation and planning, you can then begin  the exciting process of applying for jobs and starting a new journey.

Qualifications and Registrations

You may have a long list of qualifications and industry body accreditations but you need to remember these are based on your current location. As a result, it is important to understand the New Zealand qualification system and what you need to do to meet their requirements.


In general, New Zealand employers follow a framework which assigns a qualification a number from 0-10. An example would be a Bachelor’s degree is assigned the rank 7. This framework is used to rank international qualifications.

You will find that the New Zealand Immigration Department already has a detailed list of common qualifications from around the world, that they have assessed, assigned a rank and as such, if you can find your own qualification on there, then you will not need to pay for an assessment of your qualifications.

If you are in the unfortunate situation that your qualification is not on the pre approved list, then you have the option of paying the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to assess your qualifications. Each application can cost approximately NZ$750 and includes up to five qualifications. This process takes up to 25 working days and so you must build this into your planning.

You can find out more information at


In terms of industry body qualifications, your first port of call should be the equivalent industry body in New Zealand. They will be perfectly placed to advise you on any applications or courses you must complete. In some cases, industry bodies around the world have agreements in place, whereby they recognise other bodies accreditation. This will save a lot of time and effort, as well as potential costs, so it’s worth finding out early in the process.

As with certain industries over here, there are some in New Zealand that require official registration and this can be quite a lengthy and demanding process. As a result, add this to your list of initial tasks to research and complete, so that you know you will have everything you need prior to moving and starting your job role.

Once more, the New Zealand Immigration Department has a list of all professions where this is a legal requirement. Their website can be found at

Job Searches and Recruitment

By now, you should have an idea of the kind of job, employer and location you want to target, as well as what your qualifications will allow you to target. One further consideration when researching about how to get a job in New Zealand is your visa situation. It is normally the case that you need a job offer before being awarded a work visa but for other types, such as residence or partner, you can obtain the visa first.

Fortunately, we live in a world where almost every company, industry body and government department has a website and this is no different for New Zealand and their attempts to attract workers from other countries. Given they are actively trying to persuade you to work with them, we can make the assumption that they will have experience in migrant work and the rules and regulations that go alongside this.

One website that will be worth visiting is Workhere who actively connect talent around the world with employers in New Zealand and they offer a wealth of resources, guidance and opportunities for those serious about moving to New Zealand.

Already know your industry?

If you already know the industry you wish to work in, then there may be specific job websites for you to access, speeding up the search process and offering advice specific to your requirements. These are traditionally linked to the more in demand jobs, such as healthcare but also include dairy farming and education. The New Zealand government has created a fantastic careers website that will help you link to some of these websites or provide further information on what you need to do.

Want to know what’s out there?

As with the UK, there is a selection of job boards and recruitment websites in New Zealand for you to browse and it is a great way to see the kind of job roles available in specific locations, if you’re uncertain of the industry you wish to get in to, or are thinking of a career change. 

As mentioned above, the government website should be one of your first stops but three popular recruitment websites for job seekers are:

  • TradeMe: an auction website that also has an extensive jobs board
  • Seek: Seek describes itself as the number one employment marketplace in New Zealand
  • NewKiwis: an employment service set up to provide support, guidance and training for those wishing to find a job in New Zealand, as well as supporting employers who are looking for workers. 

Recruitment companies – should I use them?

Similar to the UK, employers will often employ recruitment companies to manage job applications and manage applicants, normally for a finder’s fee that they charge the employer. New Zealand is no different and whilst you may be thinking that you can find plenty of jobs online without a recruiters help, employers in New Zealand actively use these companies and so you should too. 

You should consider registering with a couple of recruitment companies who work in the industry and location that you wish to move to. If you do decide to register with these agencies, then make sure you keep a record of jobs you’ve applied for privately, to make sure you don’t look unprofessional by applying multiple times – enthusiasm is great but sometimes it can look like you’re a bit disorganised!

Straight to the employer

Remember that many companies will advertise jobs on their own websites, as well as through the various job boards and recruiters. As a result, do some research on the employers who operate in New Zealand and regularly check their websites for opportunities. 

Furthermore, many employers are more than happy to receive a polite and professional enquiry as to whether they have any vacancies, as this shows your interest and proactive efforts to secure a job role. You never know, you may catch them at the right moment!

If you’re already in New Zealand or planning a visit, then consider arranging some face to face meetings or interviews. There is no better way of getting their attention than in meeting them and showing how important working with them is for you and how you are the right person for the job.

Hints and Tips

These hints and tips may seem obvious to some but even if we act as a reminder or make you aware of one thing, then it will make a difference to your efforts to get a job in New Zealand. Having worked with many expats over the years, we have found common ground, including:

Seasonal work

Remember the differences in seasons and the impact this has on job roles. Are you applying at the right time for a summer job in New Zealand? Do you want to work in the ski resorts?

Part time and Contract Work

You may be thinking that part time work or a specific contract isn’t the right choice for you and long term, you are probably right. But one thing to consider if you’re on a working holiday visa or another type, with the aim of getting residency, is that these are a fantastic way of getting into employment. Once in employment, you can focus on applying for full time and permanent roles that meet your career and life goals.

Skills Shortages

Check the skills shortage lists! These can be found here at the official site, as well as many third party employment services. If your current profession is on this list, it will mean easier access to visas, employment and support in moving to New Zealand. Equally, you may find your dream job on here and it will help you plan on gaining qualifications and work experience in the UK, prior to making the move to New Zealand.

No tips

In New Zealand, hospitality jobs are not based around tips, as with many other countries. You will be guaranteed a minimum wage set by the government, which is amazing in helping you plan and worry less!


Consider carefully the visa you choose, as some of them cannot be renewed! For example, a working holiday visa has a finite period, so use it wisely (This is why planning is so important).

Job Applications

Ensure you know what you can and can’t apply for. Make a note of what your qualifications, visa and personal circumstances make you eligible for and target those first. Why waste time on other opportunities that you can’t get.


Some visas have rules about what funds you must have available prior to entry to New Zealand but no matter the choice you make, come prepared for it not to go perfectly. Can you afford to pay bills if a job falls through? You don’t want to lose your dream and have to return home because you didn’t save enough first.


This is very much based on where you’re going to live and work but the majority of Kiwi’s have a car, especially if located in the countryside. Consider buying a car when you get settled as this will open up a far greater job market and opportunities to you. Luckily, there are plenty of older cars available at a cheap price for expats to get started with.


Make sure you have done your research about identification, tax codes and all other information you need to live and work in New Zealand. It operates a similar system to the UK and there is a wealth of guidance available from government websites, as well as from the recruitment resources that we mentioned in this article. If in doubt, ask and don’t presume or ignore!

Be Proactive

If you have read this far, you will know that our core message is be proactive! Engage with all of the resources and people whose purpose is to help others who want to know how to get a job in New Zealand. Take advantage of these tools and you will have a much better chance of realising your dream move.