Please note: New Zealand Now content reflects pre-COVID-19 conditions and outlook. For COVID-19 related updates to visa and border requirements, click here.

Moving from Singapore

Come to a country with so much to see and do, and a work/life balance that gives you time and personal space to experience it all.

Come to New Zealand - it’s a great place to broaden your experience of the world and a wonderful environment for children to grow up in.

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

How New Zealand compares

Migrant stories

Singapore family talk about the move to New Zealand the differences they experienced

"There's lots of cultural diversity, so wherever you come from you're bound to bump into someone else from the same country"

View the video

New Zealand offers all the comforts and conveniences you expect at home - but in a more relaxed, comfortable environment.

Sure, New Zealand has bustling towns and cities, but none of them are as densely populated as your famously busy city-state.

New Zealand is not only less crowded, it’s less hot and humid. Plus, people here enjoy a work/life balance that is the envy of the world. We’re keen to succeed, but we also make sure there is time away from work to spend with our families and do the things we want to.

Many of our larger centres have significant communities of Singaporeans and other Asian people, which may help you feel at home. In fact, over 12% of New Zealanders are of Asian ethnic origin. Looking ahead to at least 2026, this is predicted to be our fastest growing ethnic group.

Scenic beauty

New Zealand is famously beautiful - clean, green and spectacular. No wonder we’re top choice as the backdrop for epic movies like Lord of the Rings.

From the long surf beaches and native forests of the subtropical north, to the drama of the mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords of the South Island, you’ll keep finding new places to enjoy.

Gentle climate

The New Zealand weather makes it easy to get out and about. Compared to Singapore’s tropical/equatorial climate, we have what’s known as a temperate climate. We have four distinct seasons with varying types of weather, including generally warm, dry summers and cooler, wet winters.

In summer, our maximum average temperatures range around 20 - 30ºC and in winter, between 10 - 15ºC.

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.

Clean & beautiful environment

Wide open spaces

With a population less than Singapore’s (20% less) spread across a much larger land approximately 1600km long and 350km wide, there’s not the pressure on space and the environment. In fact New Zealand only has 19 people per km2 compared to almost 8000 in Singapore.

Taking out the small areas where the big cities are leaves vast areas of country with less than nine people per square kilometre.

There are wide open spaces with room to move and lots of natural beauty to enjoy.

A Singapore family in Wiltons Bush, Wellington

There is room to move and lots of natural beauty to enjoy.

Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington


Great environment for families

Wondering whether your family will flourish here? Rest assured, New Zealand is a place with plenty for everyone. Little wonder that when it is time to start their own family, so many expat Kiwis return home.

The 2020 Global Peace Index — comparing 160 countries for the risk of personal violence — rated New Zealand the world’s second safest country, after Iceland.

New Zealand was voted world’s No. 2 for ‘Physical and mental wellbeing’ in HSBC’s 2020 Expat Explorer survey. (Singapore ranked 14th.)

Educational excellence

From pre-school to postgraduate, New Zealand’s educational system is first class.

Early childhood education for 3 and 4 year olds is available free. Primary schools  for children 5-13 years old are free, and most of the best secondary schools and colleges are state run and free, although parents are expected to cover minor costs. Schools generally start at 9am and run to 3pm or 3:30pm.

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.

We’re considered among the world’s main ‘host nations’ for international students, a standing that at its peak made education our fourth biggest export earner.

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).

Education & schooling in New Zealand

World University Rankings | Top Universities

It’s a western-style education where young people are encouraged to ask questions, think flexibly and creatively, and to seek their own answers.


Subsidised healthcare

Public healthcare in New Zealand is free or low cost if you are a citizen, resident or hold a work visa valid for two years or more. This is thanks to heavy Government subsidies. However, optional private healthcare insurance is also available. Family doctors (known here as general practitioners or GPs) are generally easy to see and hospital Accident and Emergency treatment is free. Care for injuries from accidents is also free, covered by our unique Accident Compensation scheme.

Healthcare in New Zealand

Attractive cost of living

Depending on your needs and situation, you may find the cost of living in New Zealand cheaper than you’re used to

Singapore was rated the world’s 3rd most expensive city to live in by Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey. By comparison, Auckland was much further down the rankings at 89th and Wellington even less expensive at 114th.

You’ll find some things cost less in New Zealand, some more - particularly items that have to come long distances. But generally, the costs of living here are comparable to other western-style OECD countries.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Cost of Living | Mercer

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 is increasingly accepted by employers.

Our capital city Wellington has even been recognised as “one of the world’s top destinations for remote workers and digital nomads.”


Finding work

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

Migrant workers are needed to fill posts in a range of highly skilled occupations inarticulately, 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.

Job market & key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Finding & applying for jobs

Getting a visa

If you’re planning more than a brief sightseeing trip to New Zealand - and especially if you want to work here - you’ll need one of the various different types of visa that are available.

Singaporean undergraduate students or graduates of a Singapore university or polytechnic aged 18-30 can apply for the Singapore Work Exchange Programme. This visa is valid for up to six months in New Zealand.

Work visas let you live and work here for a set period and may even lead to residence.

Resident visas such as the Skilled Migrant Category let you stay indefinitely and access more state-funded public services.

There are also investment visas for Singaporeans planning to invest at least NZD$3 million.

Visas to work in New Zealand

Singapore Work Exchange Programme | Immigration New Zealand

Visas to invest in New Zealand


Visas during the COVID-19 pandemic Due to COVID-19, applications from outside New Zealand for some temporary visas and EOIs (Expressions or Interest) are temporarily suspended.

Check the Immigration New Zealand COVID-19 information page for links to details on the visas you’re interested in and their current application status.

Even if you can’t currently apply, you can still be making contacts and researching options. Read more about the investor visa requirements or get in touch with one of our Investment Market Managers by selecting Invest on our registration form.

Organising the move

Once you’ve made the decision to come to New Zealand, you’ll have lots to organise. Apart from finding work and getting a visa, your top priorities 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.

Getting your new life off to a good start is all a matter of preparation. To help with the planning try our NZ Ready tool. NZ Ready will help you build a comprehensive plan outlining what is involved in a move, ensuring nothing is missed.

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?

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