Moving to New Zealand with a Samoan Quota Resident Visa

If you are registered for the Samoan Quota Resident Visa or thinking about registering for it, then it is important to learn more about New Zealand and how it is different from Samoa.

Find out what it is like to live and work in New Zealand and why it is important to plan and prepare for your new life here. 

Plan and prepare for a better future 

Pacific migrant stories - New Zealand may not be what you expect

Hear Samoan Quota Resident Visa migrants talk about their experience living and working in New Zealand and how it is different from Samoa. Watch their videos about why it is important to have a job before you leave Samoa and how planning and managing your money sets you up for success in New Zealand. Watch other Samoan migrants' stories here

Samoan migrant stories - How different is New Zealand to Samoa? (2:29)

New Zealand may not be what you expect

New Zealand is a big place. The weather is different, work is harder and what you see will be new.

Before you move - stop, think, plan and prepare

If you plan well you will make a better start for you and your family in New Zealand. Use your time wisely - the work you do to prepare will help you in the future.

Get help to find a job in New Zealand

Getting a job is important - a job will help you make a better start to life in New Zealand. But finding a job can be hard.

  • Ask your family and friends to check if their employer has a job for you.
  • Get your job profile, CV or resume ready. You will need it to find a good job.

Living in New Zealand costs a lot more than in the Pacific Islands

You need to know how much things will cost in New Zealand.

Life will not be easy at first. When you arrive in New Zealand you have to pay for many things, including a place to live. Basic things - like power, telephone, food and clothes - will cost much more than you are used to.

Make sure you know what you will need to start your life in New Zealand so you and your family can get what you need when you arrive.

In New Zealand your attitude to work is important

Be prepared to work hard in New Zealand. It is important to be responsible and committed to your job – it will help you settle well in New Zealand. Do not waste this opportunity.

Get support and advice

InfoNOW is a free service providing information to migrants settling in New Zealand. You can get help in 17 different languages, including English, Hindi and Samoan. If you need help, talk to someone at InfoNOW.

Know before you go

What is New Zealand really like?

Friends and family in New Zealand will tell you good stories – but there will be good and bad times. There are important things about living in New Zealand that you need to know. Ask them:

  • How was moving to New Zealand different from what you expected?
  • How cold does it get where you live?
  • How much do you spend on food, rent, heating, clothes and transport?
  • Do you manage to save enough money for what you need?
  • Do you have to borrow money?
Hot tip

Learn how New Zealand interviews work

Ask for advice and tips from friends and family who have been through the job interview process here.

What is working in New Zealand like?

Find out from friends and family about their experience working in New Zealand. Ask them:

  • What is different about working in New Zealand?
  • How long does it take you to get to work?
  • How much does it cost you to get to work?
  • How many hours a day do you work?

Find a job

Use your time wisely

Do not waste time while waiting for your name to be drawn from the ballot. Think about what you can do now to learn skills that will impress a New Zealand employer. For example:

  • improve your English
  • get a driver licence
  • get relevant work experience for the jobs you might apply for.

Plan and prepare to get a job that will help you find a better future.

  • Get some tips and advice on searching for jobs in New Zealand from
  • Look at jobs and sign up for job alerts on websites like and
  • Ask friends and family if there are any jobs coming up at their workplace
  • Use the CV Builder Tool on  to help you build a CV or resume
  • Practise your English, practise interviews, and practise explaining your visa requirements. 

When you get a job offer, check if it is right for you. Ask yourself:

  • Does it match my skills?
  • Does it have acceptable working hours?
  • Is the workplace close to where I will live?
  • Is there opportunity for training and promotion?

Tips for job hunting        

Job and recruitment websites

CV writing tips 

Skills employers want |

Prepare your documents and visa application

Read your visa application carefully

There are a lot of things for you to get ready so start preparing early. 

Get the timing right. If things are not ready at the right time your application will not be accepted, or you may have to pay more fees. 

You will have to make copies of some important documents that need to be certified.


Certified copy

A certified copy is a photocopy of a document that has been stamped or signed by a person of authority as a true copy of the original. The person who certifies your documents must be authorised by law to take a statutory declaration in your home country or in New Zealand. People who can certify documents include lawyers, Notary Publics, Justices of the Peace, and court officials. 

Documents you will need for your visa application

There are lots of documents you need for your visa application. These include evidence of your identity, citizenship, health, character, age and job offer. It is really important that you check the Immigration New Zealand website to find out exactly which documents you need. 

Samoan Quota Resident Visa | Immigration New Zealand

Get your application in on time

You must register for the Samoan Quota Resident Visa by the closing date of 30 April 2019. Make sure your visa application is with Immigration New Zealand by 15 March 2020. You will not be able to get a time extension.

Most application decisions take 3 months, but it can take up to 9 months.

Prevent delays with your application


Important documents needed

You must register for the Samoan Quota Resident Visa by the closing date of 30 April 2019.

If you are invited to apply, you will be required to provide a Police Certificate and a Medical Certificate.

  • Police Certificates must be less than 6 months old when you apply. 
  • Your chest x-ray and medical certificates must be no more than 3 months old when Immigration New Zealand receive them. 

For a full list of information about the evidence required and the timings for these, visit Immigration New Zealand's Samoan Quota Resident Visa page.


Get ready for your new life in New Zealand

Be well prepared

Life in New Zealand may be very different from life in the islands. Being well prepared will help you and your family feel at home sooner. Here are some things you can do to prepare.

  • Consider living in a smaller town instead of a big city. Smaller towns are usually cheaper to live in and have fewer people so it can be easier to make friends.
  • Make sure you keep working, save up and take enough money to cover the first few months in New Zealand. You will have unexpected costs when you arrive and are settling in.
  • Find out about your rights and responsibilities as an employee in New Zealand.
  • Get some good advice. Ask friends and family in New Zealand:
    • What problems did you have when you first arrived?
    • Did you have enough money when you first arrived?
    • How much money do you think I will need to bring with me?
    • What advice would you give someone who has recently arrived in New Zealand?

Coming to New Zealand

Remember to take all your important documents with you to New Zealand, like your driver licence, passport with New Zealand visa and birth certificate. If you are bringing family with you to live in New Zealand, you will need to bring these documents for everyone who is coming with you.

You will need money to get started in New Zealand

Think about the money you will need when you arrive. Have you saved money for:

  • your flights to New Zealand
  • transport to your accommodation on arrival
  • paying for your accommodation (check rental costs for the town or suburb where you will be living)
  • food and transport for at least 2 weeks, or until your first payday
  • warm clothes for the colder weather?

Before you leave home

Before you leave home, make sure:

  • your visa has been approved
  • you have arranged somewhere to stay or live when you arrive
  • you know your work start date and your employer's contact details.

Bring all these documents with you

When you pack, check that you have the following documents packed for you and your family:

  • passports with New Zealand visas
  • birth certificates
  • school qualifications and school reports
  • medical documentation (eg immunisation records for children to go to school)
  • driver licence (if you drive)
  • marriage certificate (if you are married)
  • your New Zealand employment agreement
  • references from previous employers.

Email or talk to someone to get information about settling in New Zealand.


What you need to settle well

Even after you arrive in New Zealand your journey has just begun. Remember - visiting a country is very different to living in it. There will be many more things to learn. You will not be able to just go back home when times get tough.

For more information and tips on how to settle well and stay in New Zealand, visit our Moving from the Pacific Islands page. 

Moving from the Pacific Islands


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Page last updated: 14/10/2019

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