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Moving from Canada

Looking for a change? Somewhere more relaxed, where the weather is neither too hot nor too cold, nothing is too far away, and the people are friendly?

New Zealand could be just the place you’re looking for.

Find out how New Zealand compares to Canada, and how you can get a visa to experience our lifestyle.

How New Zealand compares

Migrant stories

Lindsey moved to New Zealand with her kiwi-born husband

Lindsey Shaw found the job market a lot less competitive in New Zealand compared to her native Canada when she moved here with her Kiwi-born husband Christian.

Read their story

There’s lots to make you feel at home in New Zealand, including all the comforts and conveniences you’re accustomed to.

What many Canadians find different is a gentler pace of life. There’s always time to treat people as individuals and look out for each other.

Another big difference is the weather. We have a relatively gentle climate that means you can get out and about all year round.

Famous scenery

Coming from Canada you’ll know all about mountain grandeur, placid lakes and great plains. New Zealand serves up all that - in its own way - and more. 

Long sub-tropical sandy beaches, meandering braided rivers, active volcanoes, geysers and boiling mud pools. No wonder we’re top choice as the backdrop for epic movies like Lord of the Rings.

It’s all so accessible. Compared to the vast distances involved in getting around your country, in New Zealand you can be somewhere totally different in a matter of hours. That makes it easy to explore the incredible diversity we have to offer.

Clean & beautiful place to live

Unique culture

New Zealand has a unique culture with strong Māori and Polynesian influences. This distinctive and dynamic ‘Pasifika’ feel to life here is like nowhere else.

In everyday life there is a spirit of welcome that Māori call Manaakitanga, which means looking after guests. As a multicultural nation, we welcome everyone.

Māori culture

New Zealand was voted No. 1 for work life balance in the 2020 HSBC Expat Explorer survey of 20,000 expats around the world (Canada was 17/40). 

Upbeat outlook, low-key politics

Along with the relaxed lifestyle, you’ll find a relatively upbeat outlook on life.

For example, only 28-31% of people in North America and the EU believe their countries are ‘on the right track’. In New Zealand, optimism in the future is roughly twice that, and has been for at least 20 years.

We enjoy a long tradition of relatively calm and polite political debate. It helps that we’re a long way from the political turbulence affecting so many other parts of the world.

Our constitution

Enviable work/life balance

The quality of life in New Zealand really is excellent compared to many other countries.

New Zealanders have a strong work ethic but we also believe in having a good work-life balance. Even in our biggest cities, you’re never too far from a beach, bike trail, or national park. We love the outdoors, and like to make time for rest and relaxation with our friends and families.

New Zealand's balanced lifestyle

Great climate for outdoor living

New Zealand has a temperate climate, which means we have relatively warm, dry summers — December to February — and mild, wet winters — June to August.

We don’t have the extremes Canadians have to cope with — no long months of being snowbound, or periods of energy-sapping, baking heat.

In summer, our maximum average temperatures range around 20 - 30ºC and in winter, between 10 - 15ºC. Snow is confined to the mountains and the bottom half of the South Island (the ‘deep South’). It’s not seen in Auckland and Wellington, and rarely in Christchurch.

A gentle climate makes it easy to get out and enjoy our fantastic scenery or take advantage of all outdoor recreation experiences that New Zealand offers.

Digitally connected

New Zealand’s internet infrastructure is advanced and efficient.

We have a near-nationwide high speed fibre network giving most fibre-linked businesses and households 100 Mbps connections and options for up to 950 Mbps download and 450 Mbps upload.

Global broadband ranking service Ookla rated New Zealand’s average speed at November 2020 as 143 Mbps, 22nd out of 174 countries rated.

WFH (‘Working From Home’) for at least some of the time has become increasingly accepted by employers, as part of New Zealand's COVID-19 response.

We’re 15th of 142 countries surveyed by Cisco for Digital Readiness, and have been voted one of the world’s top ten digital havens.

Getting job opportunities 

New Zealand’s job market has been strong over recent years, driven by solid economic performances. Many people from Canada are finding good jobs and careers here.

Migrant workers are needed to fill posts in a range of highly skilled occupations particularly, but not solely:

  • agriculture and forestry
  • construction, trades and infrastructure
  • education
  • engineering
  • healthcare and social services
  • ICT, electronics and telecommunications
  • recreation, hospitality and tourism.

If your skills are on any of the official skill shortage lists, you will find it easier to find a job and get a visa.

If your job or profession isn’t on a skill shortage list, don’t worry. There are other opportunities in New Zealand for people with the right skills.

New Zealand's job market & key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Finding & applying for jobs


High-quality education

As HSBC Expat Explorer puts it, “the quality of education in New Zealand is excellent.”

It’s well supported. Among OECD countries, New Zealand spends one of the highest proportions of its gross domestic product (GDP) on primary to tertiary educational institutions.

Education here is very focused on preparing young people for tomorrow’s world. We ranked third out of 50 leading countries — just behind Finland and Sweden — in The Economist’s 2019 Worldwide Educating for the Future Index (WEFFI).

Early childhood education (ECE) is a priority for our government, so it fully funds the first 20 hours of ECE for 3 and 4 year olds, after which free primary schooling starts. It’s a great help for working parents trying to get ahead financially.

At the other end of the spectrum we have eight universities and 16 institutes of technology that provide domestic and international students with internationally recognised qualifications.

Six of our universities are in the top 500 of the 2021 QS World University Rankings — three are in the top 300.

Getting a visa

If you want to move to New Zealand or come here to work for a while, there are different visa options to suit your plans.

  • if you’re aged 18-30, working holiday visas can give young Canadians up to 23 months in New Zealand, almost twice as long as young people from many other countries
  • a Work visa lets you live and work here for a set period and some can lead to residence
  • a Resident visa, like the Skilled Migrant Category, lets you access more state-funded public services and stay indefinitely

Visas to work in New Zealand

Organising the move

Once you make a decision to come to New Zealand, there will be a lot to organise. Your top priorities after finding work and getting a visa will be deciding where you want to live and finding accommodation, sorting out money and banking matters and, if you have a family, finding the best schools for them.

Our NZ Ready tool can help you with your planning and ensure you don’t forget the most important things.

NZ Ready planning tool

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Take the first step to a new life by registering your interest with Immigration New Zealand. We’ll send you personalised emails about job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Sign up to receive relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers and practical advice on how to make your move to New Zealand a reality.