Moving to New Zealand from the UK

If you’re thinking about spending serious time abroad, you should be considering New Zealand.

Job expos in the UK

New Zealand employers regularly attend job expos in the UK and Ireland.

Check out our International events & expos page for upcoming events near you.

Find out more about migrating here from the UK and what’s involved with getting a visa so you can join us.

How living in New Zealand compares

While we share a lot of history and many traditions, we’re a much greener and less crowded country than the UK. It’s easier to enjoy a healthier outdoors lifestyle and you’ll have more time for your own interests. New Zealand is also a great, safe place for children, with so many recreational activities and a world-class education system that is largely free.

A lifestyle to envy

The quality of life in New Zealand really is outstanding and the pace is relatively relaxed. New Zealanders are laid-back and easy to get along with. While doing well at work is important, time away from the office is high-priority for us too. Commuting isn’t the big deal it is in the UK and even in the biggest cities you’re only minutes from a beach, native park or mountain biking trail.

Bush walks in Wellington, New Zealand

In the biggest cities you're only minutes from nature

Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington

Love the view 

New Zealand's scenery really has so much to offer - glorious sandy beaches, great native forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords. Tourists only ever get a taste. If you migrate to New Zealand, you’ll have time to explore the lot (as well as experiencing the unique New Zealand culture).

Our great scenery is one of the reasons Britons voted us as their ‘favourite country’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2017 - for the fifth year in a row.

Telegraph Travel Awards 2017 | The Telegraph

Want to know more?

Take the first step to your new life by registering to receive emails from Immigration New Zealand.

We’ll send you personalised emails about upcoming events in the UK, relevant job opportunities from New Zealand employers, and practical advice on how to choose the right visa and make the move to New Zealand.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Easy access to quality education

Migrant stories

A new quality of life

The Newman’s move from the UK has let them and their teenage sons enjoy new careers and a new pace of life.

Read their story

New Zealand 15-year olds scored ahead of those in the UK for maths and science in an OECD 2015 report - described by the BBC as the “biggest ever global school rankings”.

In contrast to the UK, the vast majority of our best quality primary and secondary schools are state-run and free (although parents are expected to meet some minor costs).

Three and four year olds have the first 20 hours of their early childhood education fully funded by the government.

All eight of New Zealand’s universities appeared in the top 500 QS World University Rankings 2018 (five of them in the top 300).

Over 90% of expat parents say the quality of New Zealand education is the same or even better than at home. 

Additionally, New Zealand ranked seventh in the World Economic Forum's Global Human Capital Report 2017 in preparing people for future work.

Global School Rankings | BBC

QS World University Rankings | Top Universities

Expat Explorer Survey | HSBC

Global Human Capital Report 2017 | The World Economic Forum

Enjoy the weather

Our climate is ‘temperate’ which generally means warm, dry summers and relatively mild, wet winters.

Of course we have grey days, but if you’re moving to New Zealand from the UK you’ll almost certainly find it sunnier here. While the UK’s sunniest region (southern England) gets around 1750 sunshine hours a year, New Zealand’s three major cities all get over 2,000 hours a year. Some spots get even more, like Nelson with 2,400 sunshine hours.

So year round, it’s easier to enjoy a healthier outdoors lifestyle.

A new life in Auckland, New Zealand

Year round, you can enjoy a healthier outdoors lifestyle.

Red Beach, Auckland

How cost of living compares

Depending where you come from, the cost of living is likely to be less. For example, London is the 30th most expensive city in the world to live in, according to Mercer's 2017 Cost of Living survey, while Auckland is the 61st and Wellington just the 86th.

Cost of living in New Zealand | Mercer

Family benefits

Migrating to New Zealand is probably one of the best choices you could make for a family. 

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

Along with affordable, quality education, your children will be able to get closer to nature and enjoy healthy sport, recreation and adventure activities that are just that much harder to access in the UK.

You’ll be able to choose a home you’ll all be comfortable in, and you’ll enjoy excellent healthcare and public facilities.

A sweet Kiwi life (02:59)

Hi, my name is Joth Hankinson.  I’m originally from the UK, Berwick-upon-Tweed and now I’m located in Lowburn, Central Otago, New Zealand.

Beekeeping started for me back about 10 years ago just through playing rugby.  One of the guys was a beekeeper so I was fortunate enough to work beside him for a while.

 I came to New Zealand on holiday for a six week break and I had the good fortune of visiting a beekeeper, and then we got the opportunity to discuss a time where we could come over and do some work and that gave me the six month working visa.

Towards the end of the six months I received an email from New Zealand Immigration stating the fact that  skilled migrant workers, especially in the beekeeping industry – there was a shortage at the time, so that was, for me  was a great opportunity ah to go ahead with that you know, and I didn’t really want to be the man sitting at home sitting back in my chair – a 50 or 60 year old thinking that I did have that opportunity and I never took it.

 But obviously it’s the job offer that’s the main thing, you know, if you can get that full time job offer then that helps in the application, so that’s why I’m thankful to Lindis Honey, that they provided me with such a good job.

 I first met Stephanie in the Fork and Tap in Arrowtown, so that was a good meet and then it all went from there,  … yeah, it went well (laughs)

So … yeah,  Fatherhood, fatherhood is, ah - it’s a big big commitment and a big change and a big lifestyle change for me and Stephanie as well,  but that’s something that this area is very strong on, you know it’s all about the community, it’s all about the people and looking after each other.

To have that backing from other people and to have such a lovely place to grow up, it really sealed the deal for me.

I think New Zealand as a whole,  I think the main thing is if you’re willing to work hard and you bring something to the table, yeah,  they welcome you with open hands, you know.

The only piece of advice that I can give to the person that was thinking about doing this is to think about it very carefully.  It’s a massive step and you’ve got to be willing to pretty much start all over again.

I think if I was going to do it again luckily I wouldn’t have to make too many changes. I think it’s hard to look into the future that far, but the future lies here in Cromwell and in Lowburn, trying to make a life here and make the best possible place to grow up in for your family

In ten years’ time I would quite like to think of myself being here and you know, like. just being happy here

Finding a home

You get lots of choices when it comes to finding a home in New Zealand.

A spacious stand-alone home in the suburbs with a garden and room for children and pets; semi-rural living on a larger plot of land in the countryside, possibly with larger animals; living by the sea; smart urban apartment living with a view - they’re all possibilities here.

Whatever your choice you can usually enjoy it without spending hours of your life commuting.

Working in New Zealand

New Zealand's consistent economic growth has been creating opportunities for all, and has especially grown in recent years relative to the UK and Europe. As a result, many people from the UK are finding good work in New Zealand, especially in ICT, healthcare and engineering. UK technical and professional qualifications are generally recognised here.

There are also good opportunities for UK people with skills in construction in major city centres, particularly in Christchurch which is being largely rebuilt after the earthquakes of 2011, as well as extensive housing projects in Auckland.

There are many other opportunities, especially if your skills are on the New Zealand skill shortages lists.

New Zealand's job market & key industries

Skill shortage list checker | Immigration New Zealand

Work visas

To work in New Zealand you’ll need one of the various different types of visa (formerly ‘permit’) that are available.

Working holiday visas give UK people aged 18-30 up to 23 months in New Zealand - almost twice as long as young people from other countries.

Alternatively you can apply for a temporary work visa that lets you live and work here for a set period.

Thinking of emigrating to New Zealand? You may be able to apply for a skilled migrant visa that lets you live and work in New Zealand indefinitely.

Visas to work in 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 in the country yet, there's lots you can do to get started

Finding work

Investing in New Zealand

There are exciting investment prospects in New Zealand. The land is fertile, the people are generally well off and well-educated and officialdom is actively welcoming. There are lots going on, both in traditional sectors and in ‘sunrise’ sectors like ICT, biotech, agricultural research and more.

The strength of our economy is demonstrated by our response to major economic events such as the global recession. Whereas, compared to the UK, our economy has been ticking over very nicely over the last few years, helped by our relatively low exposure to Europe. Most notably, in December 2014, annual growth had risen to 3.1%, 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%, supported by strong net migration flows, labour income growth, booming tourism, and construction activity.

Prices for some of our agricultural products are no longer quite so favourable and of course the economic conditions are changing in the UK. However the IMF still predicts New Zealand’s GDP growth will be higher than the UK’s for at least 2018 (3% vs 1.7%) and 2019 (2.8% vs 1.5%).

Visas to invest in New Zealand

Investment opportunities

Economic overview

Tax system & rates

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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