Moving to New Zealand with a Samoan Quota Visa

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

A Samoan family, settled in Marton , New Zealand  

Find out about what it's like to live and work in New Zealand and why it's important to plan and prepare for your new life there.

We asked other Samoan Quota migrants about their journey. Watch the videos below to see what they say.

How different is New Zealand to Samoa? 

E iai le eseesega o Niu Sila ma 

Why planning before you leave Samoa is so important

Fautuaga mo le tapena atu i Niu Sila 

How managing your money is important for your family's success

Ia faasoa lelei  tupe e maua

Why it’s important to have a job first

O le tāua o le iai o sau galuega i Niu Sila

What working in NZ is really like

Fautuaga mo le faigaluega i Niu Sila

Shopping day in Marton, New Zealand

Steps to your future move to New Zealand

1. Know before you go

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

Ask them:

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

Ask friends and family about their experience working in New Zealand:

  • 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?

Work out how much money you will need with our cost of living calculator.

Cost of living calculator

A Samoan family, settled in Marton , New Zealand  

2. Find a job in New Zealand 

Don’t wait for your name to be drawn in the ballot. Think about what you can do now to learn skills that will impress a New Zealand employer. For example, you could improve your English, get a driver's licence, get experience with growing, boats or computers.

Don’t get just any job. Plan and prepare – and get a job that will help you find a better future.

Good preparation will make finding a job easier:

  • Contact friends and family in New Zealand and ask if they know of any jobs. Ask if they could introduce you to interested employers before you reach New Zealand
  • Get a good New Zealand-style CV ready for yourself and for your partner (use the CV Builder tool on to help you) 
  • Be aware of the top skills New Zealand employers want so that you can highlight those in your CV. For example, communication skills
  • If you are not confident speaking English, practise speaking it as much as possible with people who can help you. Practise interviews and explaining your visa requirements
  • Look at the website for tips and advice on all aspects of job search in New Zealand
  • Look at job websites and sign up to job alerts (,
  • Ask friends and family if they have job vacancies at their workplace.

Check that the job is right for you:

  • The job matches your skills
  • The job has reasonable working hours 
  • The workplace is close to where you will live 
  • There is training and opportunity for promotion.
Hot tip

Job interviews

Learn how New Zealand interviews are usually done, and ask for advice and tips from friends and family who have been through the job interview process here.


More information


INZ Application forms


3. Prepare your documents and visa application 

Have you read the visa application?  There are a lot of things for you to get ready so start preparing early.  

Timing is key – if things are not ready at the right time your application will not be accepted or you may need to pay more fees. 

You will need:

  • your actual employment offer or a certified copy 
  • a completed, signed application form (INZ1000) – for you, and your partner if you have one (see the Residence guide - INZ1002)
  • if you are applying with your partner, evidence that the relationship is more than 1 year old (see the Residence guide - INZ1002)
  • evidence that you meet English language requirements.

AND for each person on your visa application you need:

  • passports (originals only – no copies. Also check they are current)
  • 2 passport photos
  • medical and chest x-ray certificate reference numbers (these must be less than 3 months old). NOTE: Chest x-rays are required for everyone aged 11 years or over. In Samoa medical exams cost around $160WST
  • a police certificate (these must be less than 6 months old). NOTE: These are required for everyone aged 17 years or over
  • a birth certificate (original or certified)
  • the application fee of $1,395 WST.

However, take care that you do not get some things ready too soon. Do not apply for your Medical and Police certificates until you have a job offer as these certificates may expire.

Lodge your visa application so that it is with Immigration New Zealand by 3 April 2020 (no extensions).

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

Ask someone else to double-check everything for you before you submit it.


Timings to remember

You get around 8 months to find a job. This includes the time to get your checks done, and make your visa application.

At the time you submit your visa application:

  • medical certificates must be under 3 months old
  • police certificates must be under 6 months old.
  • NOTE: Certificates are required for all applicants. Keep these costs and timings in mind. 

More information

Putting groceries in the car


4. Get ready for your new life in New Zealand

Life in New Zealand may be very different to life in the islands. Being well-prepared will help you and your family feel at home sooner.

Consider living in a smaller town instead of a big city. Smaller towns are usually cheaper to live in, have fewer people and 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 - you will have a number of unexpected costs when you arrive and are settling in.

Some things you can do to prepare

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 a friend who has recently arrived in New Zealand?

Remember to take all your important documents with you to New Zealand. 

This includes your driver's licence, passports with New Zealand visas, and birth certificates for everyone coming with you.

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 pay day)
  • warm clothes if it is cold?

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 contact details

When you pack, check you have these documents with you:

  • passports with New Zealand visas
  • birth certificates
  • school qualifications / reports
  • medical documentation (e.g. immunisation records for children to go to school)
  • drivers licence (if you have one)
  • marriage certificate (if you are married)
  • your New Zealand employment agreement
  • references from previous employers.


Sunday church in Marton, New Zealand


What you need to settle well

InfoNOW Get Samoan

To talk in Samoan to someone about informaton that may help you settle well, in New Zealand, call InfoNOW


For more tools, tips and information to help you move to and settle well in New Zealand, visit our page on moving from the Pacific Islands. 

Moving from the Pacific Islands



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Page last updated: 18/04/2019

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