Moving from Ireland

Looking for a place that offers great jobs, some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and a climate that makes it easier to enjoy a healthy outdoors lifestyle? Look no further than New Zealand.

We're a vibrant country where you can enjoy a relaxed lifestyle that gives you time to enjoy the experiences we have to offer.

Find out more about migrating to New Zealand from Ireland and what you need to do to get a visa to join us.

How living in New Zealand compares

There’s a lot to make you feel at home in New Zealand. Many Irish have migrated here over the years, ever since the gold rush days of the 1880s.

We speak the same language and we share a lot of history and many traditions (St Patrick’s Day is quite an event here, although unofficially).

With the small organisations here, there's more room for maneuvering and advancement.

With roughly the same population as the Republic of Ireland spread over four times the land area, you’ll find more wide open spaces.

But perhaps the biggest difference you’ll notice is economic. Although we didn’t escape the global recession, we came through relatively well and have been enjoying strong growth.

There’s a positive ‘can do’ attitude and good opportunities for work, especially in certain parts of New Zealand and for people with particular skills we need.

A great work/life balance

New Zealanders like to get ahead on the job as much as anyone else. But life away from work is just as important to us. So we balance things out by making space for social activities, family time and enjoying the huge range of recreational opportunities available.

New Zealand scores consistently at or near the top of many international work/life balance surveys. It’s because we’ve got the recipe right.

Temperate climate, dramatic scenery

New Zealand’s climate is officially ‘temperate’ which means generally warm, dry summers (December to February) and relatively mild, wet winters (June to August).

You’ll almost certainly find New Zealand sunnier (although of course we get grey days). While the Republic’s sunniest spot (the south east coast) gets around 1600 sunshine hours a year, New Zealand’s three major cities all get over two thousand hours a year.

While Ireland has lots of its own rural and rugged beauty, New Zealand has that and much more - glorious sub-tropical sandy surf beaches, great native forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords.

It’s one of the reasons Britons voted us as their ‘favourite country’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2017 - for the fifth year in a row.

If you were to visit, you’d only get a taste. If you migrate to New Zealand, you’ll have time to explore it all.

Clean & beautiful environment

Telegraph Travel Awards | The Telegraph

Family bush walk in Wellington, New Zealand

If you migrate to New Zealand, you'll have time to explore it all. 

Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington

Comparing the costs of living

Cost of living is actually quite difficult to compare, and of course it has to be put in context with what you’re earning. Some things in New Zealand will cost more, and others less. You’ll also find living is more expensive in some places (like Auckland) than it is in rural areas or the South Island.

But overall, the cost of living in New Zealand is pretty much comparable to that of any OECD country.

To give you an example, Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey rated Dublin the world’s 66th most expensive city to live in while Auckland was 61st and our capital city Wellington the 86th.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Working in New Zealand

Many people from Ireland find jobs in New Zealand.

Generally, qualifications and experience from Ireland are recognised here. In certain parts of the country, the job market is very strong.

For example, there are great opportunities for people with trade skills in both Auckland and Christchurch relating to extensive construction activities like major Auckland housing projects, or the Christchurch rebuild after the damage of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.    

Our economy's resilience was perhaps best demonstrated in our response to the global recession. Our economy came through the global recession comparatively well, undoubtedly helped by our relatively low exposure to Europe which was especially hard hit. In fact, by December 2014, annual growth had risen to 3.3%, the fastest rate of expansion in six years and, according the New Zealand Treasury, one of the strongest performances in the OECD.

While the New Zealand economy's resilience is also shown today, with annual growth for 2018 expected to be around 3%, slightly higher than 2.9% for 2017.

New Zealand's solid economic performance means there are many opportunities across various sectors and locations, particularly if your skills are on the skill shortages lists posted by Immigration New Zealand.

You don’t have to leave home to start job searching - you can do a lot of preliminary work online. Find out more about finding a job.

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Finding work in New Zealand

Hot tip

Tips for finding work

Here you'll find practical information to help you find a job in New Zealand. As you'll see, even if you're not yet in the country, there's lots you can do to get started

Finding work

It’s a great place to live

As well as enjoying a smart career move, Conor Coady from Ireland’s West Coast is finding our longer summers give him more time for his sailing and fishing.

Conor Coady (02:48)

Conor Coady

My name is Conor Coady, I’m from the West Coast of Ireland. I’ve been here for two and a half years and I’m a wind energy consultant.

Uhm, I’ve worked in my industry for about eight years . .ah . .in that time worked in the UK and in Germany.  Uhm I’ve also worked in Ireland of course uhm, but . ah . moving to New Zealand was a choice and uhm I’m very much impressed with the life style here, the work /life balance.

There’s quite a long summer here in compared with Ireland. I get to go sailing and ah I do a lot of spearfishing and uhm shore fishing, and it’s just a great place to live.

The wind industry in New Zealand is relatively small and close-knit and ah for this reason it’s very useful to be in the wind industry in New Zealand, because you get to know everybody and it’s a good career also. . uhm.  So on coming to New Zealand, I found the whole process, and getting a work visa relatively easy.  Uhm. . I now have residency which I’m, I’m delighted and very proud of. Uhm . . and I do intend on staying here in New Zealand for some time to come.

Applying for a er work visa pr work residency in any country is quite a daunting task. . uhm . .I was pleasantly surprised when I filled out my initial forms  . uhm . . that the man that was there then, was the same guy that handed me my residency over two years later and he remembered me so that was pretty awesome.

Uhm. . , if anybody is planning on coming out here to New Zealand I would highly recommend doing your homework first and making sure you understand what’s involved.  Ah. . it can be a relatively smooth process as it was for me, ah . but you, you just need to make sure you’ve all the ‘T’s crossed and the ‘I’s dotted.

One of the biggest things I have found about people in New Zealand is that ah everyone is very relaxed and people have their own interests and follow them. and you are kind of expected to be an individual in New Zealand, and the relaxed atmosphere allows you to pursue whatever your interest is and you’re very much encouraged.

I wanted to go sailing, and I walked down to the uhm docklands and to the yacht club there. I happened across the last boat out on the races on Sunday and I asked them if they were looking for crew. And because New Zealanders are particularly open and friendly, I was invited on board and that started my hobby, sailing. It was definitely a good example of how open Wellington, New Zealand is and how they have a real non elitist attitude and everybody is welcome.


Work visas

To work in New Zealand you’ll need one of the various different types of visa (formerly ‘permit’) that are available.

Young people from the Republic of Ireland (aged 18-30) can apply for a working holiday visa that allows up to 12 months in New Zealand.

Alternatively you may be able to apply for a skilled migrant visa that lets you live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.

There are also visas for investors and business people planning to invest NZ$3 million or more.

Visas to work in New Zealand

Visas to invest in New Zealand

Register your interest

Take the first step to a new life by registering 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: 29/07/2019

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