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?

Then New Zealand could be the perfect choice!

Find out more about moving to New Zealand from South Africa and what you need to do to get a visa to join us.

How living in New Zealand compares

Its surreal living here coming from somewhere like South Africa.
It is the most phenomenal lifestyle available

Our countries have many elements of a shared British colonial history in common. They make it easier for people from South Africa to feel at home here.

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.

Safe for families

Securing a better future for themselves and their children is one of the main reasons South Africans choose 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.

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 2017 Global Peace Index which compares 158 countries for the risk of personal violence rated us the world’s second safest country, just after Iceland, Denmark and Austria. South Africa came in 123rd. We count ourselves very lucky.

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 forward with confidence, thanks to a number of reforms over the last three decades and ongoing good management.

The quality of the education is another attraction. A 2015 OECD report ranked New Zealand one of the world’s top 20 countries for ‘Average performance on international student achievement tests’ (measuring 15 year olds' competence with maths and science). More recently, New Zealand ranked seventh in the Global Human Capital Report 2017 in preparing people for future work. While all eight of New Zealand’s universities appeared in the top 500 QS World University Rankings 2018 (five of them in the top 300).

Healthcare and public services are also top notch.

Safe & secure place to live

Global Peace Index | Vision of Humanity

Global school rankings | BBC

Global Human Capital Report | The World Economic Forum

QS World University Rankings | Top Universities


A lifestyle to envy

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.

New Zealand's balanced lifestyle

Enjoy the weather. Love the view

Like 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). The great mountains of the South Island also help ensure reliable rainfall and snowmelt for the hydroelectric plants that provide much of our energy.

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-cladmountains, lakes, rivers and fjords. Because they’re all in a country less than a quarter the size of South Africa they’re easy to get to.

Clean & beautiful place to live

Wellington Waterfront, New Zealand

New Zealand offers for relaxation, recreation and exploration.

Wellington waterfront

Housing and costs

Migrant stories

The Roodt's move from South Africa has opened up exciting career prospects for the parents and the opportunity for their son to study abroad

Read their story

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 high demand keeps prices relatively high.

The national median price for a house reached NZ$530,000 in February 2017 while median rent for a three-four bedroom house was around NZ$460/week. There are wide regional variations. Auckland is considerably more expensive while rural areas are much cheaper.

Housing in New Zealand

Cost of living

As a general rule, the costs of living here are comparable to other western-style OECD countries. Some things will cost less than you’re used to, others (particularly items that have had to be imported from long distances) will cost more.

Just like everywhere else, living in New Zealand cities costs more than living in smaller towns. It all depends on where in South Africa you’re coming from, and where in New Zealand you’re going to.

Cost of living in New Zealand

Great job opportunities

New Zealand's solid economic position was particularly evident in its response to the global recession. Compared to many countries, New Zealand weathered the global recession relatively well. 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 annual growth for 2018 is expected to be around 3%, slightly higher than 2.9% in 2017.

In comparison, Statistics South Africa reported the Republic’s growth rate for 2017 was 1.3%.

So, while we’re not in boom times, many people from South Africa are finding good jobs in New Zealand.

You’ll find your qualifications and experience are generally recognised and there are several areas of the country where the job market is particularly strong.

If your skills are among those covered by the  New Zealand skill shortages lists posted by Immigration New Zealand, your chances of finding work (and getting a visa) will be better. Even if your occupation isn’t on the list, there are lots of opportunities in New Zealand for skilled migrants.

New Zealand's job market & key industries

Skill shortage list check | Immigration New Zealand

Work visas

You’ll need a visa to work in New Zealand. There are several different types available.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a skilled migrant visa that lets you live and work here indefinitely.

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

Visas to work in New Zealand

Visas to invest in New Zealand

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.


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Page last updated: 23/07/2019

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