Moving from Germany

Looking for a change? Somewhere beautiful, friendly and with a refreshing pace of life? New Zealand could be just the place you’re looking for.

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

How New Zealand compares

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

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

New Zealand was voted No.1 for Overall Experience, No.2. Overall in the 2018 HSBC Expat Explorer survey of over 22,000 expats in 31 countries. 

Scenic beauty

New Zealand is rightly famous for its fantastic scenery: sweeping sub-tropical surf beaches, mysterious native forests, dramatic volcanoes, bubbling mud pools, braided rivers, deep fjords and more. No wonder we’re so often chosen as the backdrop for blockbuster movies like Lord of the Rings.

Of course, Germany has many beautiful spots too. For example, the mountains and lakes of our South Island may remind you of parts of Bavaria. But the scale and sheer diversity of our scenery is sure to impress you.

Compared to most of Germany, you’re a lot closer to the sea. Being a long, skinny country surrounded by oceans, you’re never more than an hour or two from the coast.

With less than 5 million people spread across a country three quarters the size of Germany, there’s less population pressure on the environment and more wide open, clean spaces to enjoy to yourself.

Clean & beautiful place to live

Unique culture

You’ll also find the New Zealand culture quite unique. It’s the result of the strong influences of our Maori and Polynesian people. They bring a distinctive ‘Pasifika’ feel to life here.

It’s expressed in excellent arts festivals. It also comes through in everyday life with a spirit of welcome that Maori call Manaakitanga. The basic idea of this concept is that everyone comes out better off through the act of looking after guests.

Upbeat outlook, low-key politics

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

For example, a recent poll found only 28% of people in 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’re one of the world’s 10 most stable countries according to a 2019 Fund for Peace report covering social cohesion and other economic and political indicators. We enjoy a long tradition of relatively calm and polite political debate.

Famous work/life balance

New Zealanders have a great work ethic and like to get ahead as much as anyone else. But we also believe there’s much more to living.

It’s taken for granted by employers and colleagues alike that people have a life away from work. How you use that time is up to you - whether it’s getting sweaty running bush tracks or mountain biking, or just chilling with your friends or family by a beach or in your garden.

No wonder New Zealand scores so consistently highly in international work/life surveys.

New Zealand's balanced lifestyle

Great climate for outdoor living

Like Germany, our climate is technically ‘temperate’ with warm, dry summers and relatively mild, wet winters. But while much of Germany is continental, we’re a maritime country which means we avoid extremes: no stiflingly hot summers, no months of being snowbound.

Of course it can rain and blow here. But 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 only 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.

Housing choices

New Zealand cities and towns aren’t dominated by rows and rows of look-alike tower blocks and high-density housing.

There’s a wide variety of accommodation options on offer so you’ll be able to choose the style of living you’ve always wanted.

Whether your dream is a spacious stand-alone home in the suburbs with a garden and room for children and pets; semi-rural living on a larger plot of land in the countryside, maybe with goats, sheep or even horses; living by the sea; smart urban apartment living with a view - it’s all possible here.

Housing in New Zealand

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. Optional private healthcare insurance is also available.

If you hold a temporary visa, you may still be eligible for a limited range of services in certain situations. You can check your eligibility on the Ministry of Health website. 

If you are not eligible for publicly funded health services, or you’re not sure, it is strongly recommended that you take out comprehensive travel insurance which includes health insurance.

Family doctors (known here as general practitioners or GPs) are found in practically every town and suburb. Most Universities have their own Student Health services. Accident and emergency treatment at hospitals is free.

If you’re injured in an accident (even if you were at fault), medical and recovery costs are covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). You’re unlikely to find anything like New Zealand’s ACC in Germany - it’s pretty much unique in the world.

Healthcare system & services

Benefits for families

Coming to New Zealand is probably one of the best choices you could make for a family. It’s why, when it’s their time to start a family, so many expat Kiwis return.

Your children will grow up in a clean and green land with unmatched access to nature and all sorts of healthy sport and recreation opportunities.

You’ll be able to choose a home with room for you all to spread out in, and you’ll benefit from excellent healthcare and public facilities.

You’ll also feel safe. In fact, the 2019 Global Peace Index which compares around 160 countries for the risk of personal violence rated us the world’s second safest country, after Iceland.

Popular choice

Expats think New Zealand is a great place to bring family, ranking it second overall on this measure in HSBC’s indepth 2018 Expat Explorer survey. A resounding 76% of expats reported an improvement in their children’s health and wellbeing from living in New Zealand.

We also rank second for ‘community’ on the OECD’s Better Life Index of 40 developed countries. “In New Zealand, 96% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need,” they comment.

Family life in New Zealand

Recreation opportunities

Global Peace Index | Vision of Humanity

Expat Explorer | HSBC

Better Life Index | OECD

Solid educational standards

If you're coming to study, or you have children at school, you can be confident of the quality of New Zealand education.

New Zealand ranked third of 50 leading countries in The Economist's new 2018 Worldwide Education Future Index, just behind Finland and Switzerland. 

We were one of just six countries to earn perfect marks for emphasising future-oriented, 21st-century skills. We also excelled for extra-curricular activities, “fertile ground for developing leadership, team-work and other skills.”

Another study, the Legatum Institute’s 2018 Index, ranked New Zealand 18 out of 150 countries for our education system.

Laypeople are also impressed. In HSBC’s 2018 Expat Explorer Survey, expats ranked New Zealand school quality ahead of Australia, Canada, South Africa, the UK and the USA.

Early childhood education (ECE) is considered a priority, and the government subsidises it for every child up to the age of five, when primary school starts. That includes free ECE from age three for up to six hours a day, up to 20 hours a week.

At the other end of the spectrum, all eight New Zealand Universities are in the top 500 of the 2019 QS World University Rankings, five of them in the top 300. All of them offer at least one subject ranked in the world’s top 100.

Studying in New Zealand

Education & schooling system

Healthcare system

Educating for the Future | Economist

Prosperity Index | Legatum

Expat Explorer | HSBC

QS World Rankings | Top Universities

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 Germany you’re coming from, and where in New Zealand you’re going to.

For example, our most expensive city, Auckland, is roughly equal to Dusseldorf for costs according to Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living survey: and slightly cheaper to live in than most other major German cities.

Like everywhere else, city living in New Zealand costs more than living in smaller towns.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Cost of living | Mercer

Finding work

New Zealand's job opportunities has been strong over recent years, driven by solid economic performance. 

47,000 job opportunities a year

The 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 Germany. Perhaps - people like you.

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.

Prospects are particularly strong if your skills are on any of the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) lists of skill shortages updated regularly by Immigration New Zealand.

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 Zealand's job market & key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

A little forward planning and preparation will help in your search for a job in New Zealand. 

Finding work in New Zealand

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 types of visa that are available.

If you’re aged 18-30, working holiday visas can give you up to 12 months in New Zealand.

Alternatively, there are work visas that 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 special visas for Germans planning to invest NZD$3 million or more.

Visas to work in New Zealand

Visas to invest 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

Investor opportunities

There are exciting investment prospects in New Zealand. The land is fertile, the people are generally well off and well-educated and officialdom is actively welcoming. There is lots going on, both in traditional sectors and in ‘sunrise’, export-oriented sectors like ICT, biotech, agricultural research and more.

Strong economy

Over the past 30 years successive governments have transformed New Zealand into a successful and resilient free market, open economy.

We came through the global recession comparatively well, undoubtedly helped by our relatively low exposure to Europe.

While we’re nowhere near the economic powerhouse that is Germany, for several years observers described us as 

the world’s ‘rock star’ economy.

We hit a high point in 2016 with economic growth of around 4% in 2016. In 2018, growth eased back to 2.8% and is expected to average around 2.7% in the years to 2023.

To put that in context - the OECD reports that Germany’s economy grew 1.45% in 2018 and is forecast to grow 0.74% and 1.2% in 2019 and 2020.

According to the New Zealand Treasury’s 2019 Budget Update, our economic growth is underpinned by four main factors - migration-led population growth, government spending, an accommodative monetary policy and solid (although slower than in recent years) growth amongst our trading partners abroad.

Global focus

New Zealand has Free Trade arrangements (FTAs) with China, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and Asean Asia-Pacific nations. We’re also part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) cementing links with existing partners and also Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, Peru, and Viet Nam.

More FTAs are being negotiated with the EU, the UK, India and the Gulf states.

We’re also well connected in terms of international transport and communications - particularly with the commissioning of the new Hawaiki undersea fibre-optic cable, our second such link to the US, supported by the TGA trans-Tasman cable.

About our economy

Stable and safe for investing

New Zealand is one of the world’s most stable and corruption free democracies where fair dealing prevails and property rights are well protected by law.

We’re the easiest place in the world to do business, according to World Bank rankings to May 2018. They also rank us first in the world for ease of starting a business.

Forbes magazine consistently ranks us one of the five best countries in the world for business.

The International Tax Foundation’s 2018 index puts New Zealand third amongst OECD countries in terms of tax competitiveness.

Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks us the world’s second least corrupt country, just behind Denmark.

Ours is a mixed and highly deregulated economy. It's powered mainly by a highly efficient agricultural sector but also benefits from a flourishing manufacturing sector, a thriving tourism industry and a renewable energy resource base. 

The Heritage Foundation in 2019 ranked our economy the third freest in the Index of Economic Freedom, just behind Hong Kong and Singapore.

And the World Economic Forum rated us No.1 in the world for the strength of our institutions and macroeconomic stability.

Stable & secure place to invest

Visas to invest in New Zealand

Rules & law in New Zealand

Ease of doing business | World Bank

Best countries for doing business | Forbes

International Tax Competitiveness Index | Tax Foundation

Index of Economic Freedom | Heritage Foundation

Want to know more?

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.

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Page last updated: 02/09/2019

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