Moving from Ireland

Looking for a place that offers great job prospects, some of the world’s finest scenery and a climate that lets you enjoy healthy outdoor living all year round? New Zealand could be just the place you’re looking for.

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 how New Zealand compares to Ireland, 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.

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).

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.

Scenic beauty

While Ireland has lots of rural and coastal beauty its own, 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 2018 - for the sixth year in a row.

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

If you were to visit, you’d only get a taste. If you stay a little longer here, you’ll have time to explore it all.

Telegraph Travel Awards | The Telegraph

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.

Great climate for outdoor living

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

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.

You’ll almost certainly find New Zealand sunnier (although of course we get grey days too).

According to your Meteorological Service, Ireland normally gets between 1100 and 1600 hours of sunshine each year. In contrast, New Zealand’s three major cities all get over 1900 hours a year. In 2018 our three sunniest regions (Nelson, Bay of Plenty and Marlborough) all got over 2,500 sunshine hours.

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 from Ireland talks about his move to New Zealand
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.


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 Ireland 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.

Talking cities however - Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living survey rates Dublin the world’s 43rd most expensive city to live in. Our biggest city, Auckland is noticeably less costly, coming in at 89th.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Cost of Living | Mercer

Finding work

Many people from Ireland are finding jobs in New Zealand.

Generally, qualifications and experience from Ireland are recognised here and our job market has been strong over recent years, driven by solid economic performances.

47,000 job opportunities a year

New Zealand’s government expects we’ll need about 47,000 more workers a year into the near future. 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 Ireland.

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 and key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Skills in demand

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

The job market is particularly strong in certain parts of the country. For example, Auckland needs people with skills in construction, trades and allied fields to help build new homes for a rapidly expanding population.

There are opportunities in other places too, particularly in the Waikato (Hamilton), Bay of Plenty, Wellington and across the South Island.

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 different types of visa that are available.

If you’re aged 18-35, you can apply for a working holiday visas that gives young Irish people up to 12 months working 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.

Visas to work in New Zealand

Organising the move

Once you’ve made the decision to move 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

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: 22/06/2020

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