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

Living in New Zealand

Migrant stories

"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

Sure, New Zealand has bustling towns and cities, but none of them are as densely populated as your city-state.

Many of our larger centres have significant communities of Singaporeans and other Asian peoples, 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.

New Zealand is less hot and humid, less crowded and more relaxed. 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.

Wild beauty, gentle climate

New Zealand is famously beautiful - clean, green and spectacular. 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.

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.

Clean & beautiful environment

Wide open spaces

With a population 20% less than Singapore’s, spread across a land approximately 1600km long and 350km wide, there’s just not the pressure on space and the environment.

Taking out the small areas where the big cities are leaves vast swatches of country with less than nine people per square kilometre.

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

Bush walks in Wellington, New Zealand

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

Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington

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.

Education & schooling in New Zealand

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.

To put that into perspective, Singapore was rated the world’s 5th most expensive city to live in by Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey. By comparison, Auckland was much further down the rankings at 61st and Wellington even less expensive at 86th.

Generally however, things in New Zealand cost roughly the same as they do in other Western/OECD countries.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Family friendly

Wondering whether your family will flourish in New Zealand? Rest assured, it’s a place with plenty for everyone.

Nearly 70% of expats say their children are more confident and well-rounded from their time spent living in New Zealand.

Family Friendly (01:47)

Family friendly in New Zealand

Rolf Sigaard: I think people come to New Zealand for number of reasons. I was offered opportunity to move the family out in an environment I thought was really good for kids.

Simon Shaw: One of the reasons we as a family love it in New Zealand is just the lifestyle, the quality of life. The people are friendly. To be honest with you, at first, we thought something was up - why were these people being so friendly to us when we first arrived. And it's just people's nature.

Bob Stimson: We found that there's a real sense of community that we just haven't seen in the U.S. People stop and talk to you when you're out walking about, so that was very refreshing.

Adrian Matthews: We're looking forward to enjoying the school system and the smaller class sizes. We're really keen to get the kids into the system. That's a big reason for coming.

Simon Shaw: Something we've been pleased with is the quality of the schools. We fill the schools here try and produce a more well-rounded child.

Adrian Matthews: As a family we're really enjoying the ability to get out in the hills and take the kids out into the environment and have a good look around. It's absolutely stunning up there.

Simon Shaw: We feel safe here as a family. It's not uncommon for people to go out and not lock their doors.

Gisele Abrianos: I'm thinking about growing our family here, we think it is better here, because we have the work life balance.

John Evangelista: We spend a lot of time with our friends, and on the weekends we go outside, and we do camping as well with all of our other friends. And barbeques.

Simon Shaw: Personally, we did it for the children and for their future, and we definitely think we've made the right decision.

Working in New Zealand

Many people from Singapore find good jobs and careers here in New Zealand.

New Zealand's economic security was particularly evident 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.

Growth for 2018 is expected to be around 3%, higher than 2.9% for 2017.

As a result, New Zealand's job market is strong, and there are plenty of opportunities, particularly in areas of skill shortage.

The New Zealand Government has lists of skill shortages. You’ll have a better chance of getting work if your job is on one of the lists.

To work in New Zealand 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 6 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.

New Zealand's job market & key industries

Visas to work in New Zealand

Singapore Work Exchange Programme | Immigration New Zealand

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration 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

Studying in New Zealand

If you’re thinking of studying abroad, New Zealand is a great place to get a qualification that will be recognised internationally, while broadening your experience in a western-style country with a unique culture.

Our universities are top class. All eight of them are ranked in the top 500 of the 2018 QS World University Rankings (5 in the top 300). For many important disciplines, they’re in the top 50.

Away from class, you’ll have the chance to explore one of the world’s most beautiful countries, try different experiences and adventures and enjoy a unique culture.

If your course is more than three months, you will need a student visa. That can last the duration of your course and lets you work up to 20 hours a week during term and full time in the breaks.

QS World University Rankings 2018 | Top Universities

Life experience while you study

Visas to study 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: 23/01/2019

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