Moving from South Africa
Looking for a safe and peaceful land, where you can give your family the future you want for them while you enjoy a more balanced lifestyle?
New Zealand could be just the place you’re looking for.
Find out how New Zealand compares to South Africa, and how you can get visas to experience our lifestyle.
How New Zealand compares
New Zealand was voted number one for Overall Experience, No. 2 for Family and No. 2 Overall in the HSBC Expat Explorer survey of over 22,000 expats in 31 countries.
There’s lots to make you feel at home in New Zealand including all the comforts and conveniences you’re accustomed to.
We’re also a peaceful, politically stable and friendly country. People get on well together and families feel safe to come and go without the constant fear of crime.
And we’re a great place to be bringing up children. That’s why, when it’s their time to start a family, so many expat Kiwis return. Securing a better future for themselves and their children is one of the main reasons South Africans choose New Zealand.
Safe for families
One of the most important things we can offer families from South Africa is the luxury of feeling safe.
Of course we have crime, but we’re also a remarkably tolerant and easy-going society.
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. South Africa came in 127th. We count ourselves very lucky.
Political and economic stability
Politically, we’re very stable with a form of proportional representation in our Parliament that ensures a wide range of opinions are heard and no group feels excluded.
Economically our country can look to the future with confidence. That’s thanks to a number of reforms over the last three decades, ongoing good management, sustained infrastructure investment and virtual absence of corruption.
In fact, Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index ranks us the world’s second least corrupt country, just behind Denmark.
We’re fortunate with energy. We’re around 80% self-sufficient for energy, and the great mountains of the South Island help ensure reliable rainfall and snowmelt for the hydroelectric plants that provide much of it.
Solid educational standards
The quality of New Zealand’s education is another attraction.
We ranked third just behind Finland and Switzerland in The Economist’s 2018 Worldwide Educating for the Future Index of 50 major countries. This new index focuses on how successful countries are at preparing 15-24 year olds for the future.
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.
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 scale, 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.
Healthcare and public services are also top notch.
Famous work/life balance
People in New Zealand enjoy a great lifestyle. We work hard and are keen to succeed, for sure. But we also guard our time away from work jealously. Workmates and employers alike respect the fact that you have a life outside the office, to pursue your own interests or simply to share in quality time with your family.
Why wouldn’t they - when they’ll be out there doing the same, taking advantage of all the opportunities New Zealand offers for relaxation, recreation and exploration. It’s called work/life balance, and we reckon we’ve got the mix just about spot on.
Like most of South Africa, New Zealand has a temperate climate much influenced by the seas that surround us. But being such a long and skinny country, the weather you can expect depends very much on where in New Zealand you are.
The north is sub-tropical with temperatures probably very near to what you’re used to in South Africa. In New Zealand’s south, it’s cooler and many areas get winter snow and great skiing (although summertime temperatures in these parts can soar).
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.
While South Africa has lots of spectacular scenery, New Zealand will impress you with the sheer diversity of sights - glorious sandy surf beaches, great native forests, snow-clad mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords. And because they’re all in a country less than a quarter the size of South Africa they’re easy to get to.
Housing and costs
There are lots of different kinds of housing available in New Zealand, from smart city apartments to rural ‘lifestyle’ blocks or seaside cottages. If you have family, there are all kinds of suburban homes available with room for everyone and gardens for outdoor living.
Owning a home is part of the Kiwi dream, and strong demand keeps prices relatively high.
The national median price for a house reached a record NZ$585,000 in April 2019 while national median rent for a three-four bedroom house was around NZ$495/week. There are wide regional variations. Auckland is considerably more expensive while rural areas are much cheaper.
Comparable 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 South Africa 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.
New Zealand’s job market has been strong over recent years, driven by solid economic performances.
After stellar performances peaking in 2016 when we were described as the world’s ‘rock star’ economy, 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 South Africa’s economy grew 0.79% in 2018 and forecasts it will grow 1.16% and 1.72% in 2019 and 2020.
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 South Africa.
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.
A little forward planning and preparation will help in your search for a job 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.
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 South Africans planning to invest NZD$3 million or more.
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.
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.