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.

Singapore family in New Zealand on a bushwalk

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

Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington


Benefits for families

Wondering whether your family will flourish in New Zealand? Rest assured, it’s a place with plenty for everyone. It’s why, when it’s their time to start a family, so many expat Kiwis return home.

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.

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

Educational excellence

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

Early childhood education for 3-5 year olds is available free. Primary schools (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.

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.

Education & schooling in New Zealand

QS 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

Living costs

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

Finding work

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

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 Singapore.

Skills needed

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 and 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 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

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

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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