Moving from South Africa

Looking for a safe and peaceful land, where you can give your family the future you want for them while you enjoy a more balanced lifestyle?

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

Find out how New Zealand compares to South Africa, and how you can get visas to experience our lifestyle.

How New Zealand compares

New Zealand was voted No.1 for future outlook, No.2 for lifestyle, No.3 Overall in the 2021 HSBC Expat Explorer survey of expats in 46 countries.

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

We’re also a peaceful, politically stable and friendly country. People get on well together and families feel safe to come and go without the constant fear of crime.

And we’re a great place to be bringing up children. That’s why, when it’s their time to start a family, so many expat Kiwis return. Securing a better future for themselves and their children is one of the main reasons South Africans choose New Zealand. 

Safe for families

One of the most important things we can offer families from South Africa is the luxury of feeling safe.

In fact, the 2021 Global Peace Index which compares around 163 countries for the risk of personal violence rated us the world’s second safest country, after Iceland. South Africa came in 123rd. 

Safe & secure

Family friendly

Global Peace Index | Vision of Humanity

Political and economic stability

Politically, we’re very stable with a form of proportional representation in our Parliament that ensures a wide range of opinions are heard and no group feels excluded.

Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranks us first equal with Denmark and Finland as the world’s three least corrupt countries out of 180.

How government works | New Zealand Government

Corruption Perceptions Index | Transparency International

High quality education

The quality of New Zealand’s education is another attraction.

We ranked third just behind Finland and Sweden in The Economist’s 2019 Educating for the Future Index of 50 major countries. This index focuses on how successful countries are at preparing 15-24 year olds for the future.

Another study, the Legatum Institute’s 2021 prosperity index, ranked New Zealand 12 out of 167 countries for our education system. South Africa was ranked 108th.

Education & schooling in New Zealand

World Educating for the Future Index | The Economist

Prosperity Index | Legatum Institute

Childhood education

In New Zealand, the government subsidises early childhood education (ECE) for children under 5 years old.

State primary and secondary schools are free for domestic students. However, they can ask for donations towards their running costs and parents usually need to pay for things like school uniforms, stationery, exam fees and some course-related costs.

State-integrated and private schools usually charge parents compulsory fees.

20 Hours ECE | Ministry of Education

The school system

Higher learning

New Zealand also offers top quality higher learning. We have eight universities and 16 institutes of technology that provide domestic and international students with internationally recognised qualifications.

All of our universities are in the top 500 of the 2023 QS World University Rankings — five are in the top 300.

QS World University Rankings 2023 | QS Top Universities


Famous work/life balance

People in New Zealand enjoy a great lifestyle. We work hard and are keen to succeed, for sure. But we also guard our time away from work jealously. Workmates and employers alike respect the fact that you have a life outside the office, to pursue your own interests or simply to share in quality time with your family.

Why wouldn’t they - when they’ll be out there doing the same, taking advantage of all the opportunities New Zealand offers for relaxation, recreation and exploration. It’s called work/life balance, and we reckon we’ve got the mix just about spot on.

Balanced lifestyle

Gentle Climate

Like most of South Africa, New Zealand has a temperate climate much influenced by the seas that surround us. But being such a long and skinny country, the weather you can expect depends very much on where in New Zealand you are.

The north is sub-tropical with temperatures probably very near to what you’re used to in South Africa. In New Zealand’s south, it’s cooler and many areas get winter snow and great skiing (although summertime temperatures in these parts can soar).

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.

Scenic beauty

While South Africa has lots of spectacular scenery, New Zealand will impress you with the sheer diversity of sights - glorious sandy surf beaches, great native forests, snow-clad mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords. And because they’re all in a country less than a quarter the size of South Africa they’re easy to get to.

Clean & beautiful

Housing and costs

There are lots of different kinds of housing available in New Zealand, from smart city apartments to rural ‘lifestyle’ blocks or seaside cottages. If you have family, there are all kinds of suburban homes available with room for everyone and gardens for outdoor living.

Owning a home is part of the Kiwi dream, and strong demand keeps prices relatively high.

New Zealand's housing is ranked the 3rd highest quality in OECD Better Life Index. South Africa's housing was ranked 39th out of 41 countries.

The national average price for a house is NZ$1,040,927 in April 2022 while national median rent is around NZ$580/week. There are wide regional variations. Auckland is considerably more expensive while rural areas are much cheaper.

Housing in New Zealand

Better Life Index | OECD

QV House Price Index | Quotable Value

Comparable cost of living

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.

It all depends on where in South Africa you’re coming from, and where in New Zealand you’re going to. Like everywhere else, city living in New Zealand costs more than living in smaller towns.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Finding work

New Zealand’s job market has been strong over recent years, driven by solid economic performances.

Our annual GDP growth reached 5% in 2021.

As with other countries around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed economic growth in New Zealand. 

The OECD predicts New Zealand's GDP growth will ease to 3% in 2022 and 2% in 2023.

In comparison,  South Africa's GDP is projected to grow by 1.8% and 1.3% in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

47,000 job opportunities a year

The New Zealand government expects we’ll need about 47,000 more workers a year well into the 2020s. That adds up to great career opportunities.

The majority of the new jobs will be in highly skilled occupations, and it’s expected most will have to be filled by people from overseas countries - including South Africa.

Skills in demand

Job openings will grow for virtually every kind of work. But the largest increases will be in business services, construction/utilities, health care/social assistance and education.

If your job or profession is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are lots of opportunities in New Zealand for people with skills.  New Visa rules mean New Zealand businesses can employ a migrant in any industry provided the key conditions are met.  To learn more visit the Accredited Employer Work Visa page at Immigration New Zealand.

Job market and key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Finding and 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.

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.

Visas to work in New Zealand

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?

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.