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 9,000 Britons voted us as their ‘favourite country’ in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 - for the third year in a row.

Telegraph Travel Awards 2014 | The Telegraph 

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 2015/16 (50% of them in the top 250).

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

Global School Rankings | BBC

QS World University Rankings 2015/16 | Top Universities

Expat Explorer Survey | HSBC

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 12th most expensive city in the world to live in, according to Mercer's 2015 Cost of Living survey, while Auckland is the 61st and Wellington just the 83rd.

Cost of living in New Zealand

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.

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.

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 upcoming events in the UK, job opportunities in your profession, life in New Zealand and choosing the right visa.

It’s free and there’s no obligation.

Working in New Zealand

Our economy weathered the global recession relatively well, particularly compared 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, particularly in Christchurch which is being largely rebuilt after the earthquakes of 2011.

There are many other opportunities, particularly 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

Escaping the M25

Tired of wasting hours every week battling the congested M25, Simon Shaw moved his family from Bedfordshire to Christchurch.

Simon Shaw (04:27)

Simon Shaw

My name is Simon Shaw, I’m from the UK, Bedfordshire in the UK. Uhm, I emigrated here three and a half years ago with my family. I currently work for Hawkins Construction, in the Canterbury Recovery Project.

At the moment my job is, description is a quantity surveyor. The role is exactly the same as a quantity surveyor in the UK. Companies are slightly different, something I’ve learned in the time I’ve lived here is that a company tends to be a little bit more social, may be a little bit more family based. So I find that companies aren’t quite as large as back home, but they’re certainly more, I think they’re more, there’s a friendlier atmosphere.

We came over six months before we permanently emigrated and, I found that I went back with five job offers and the tricky thing in a way was to try and pick which one to kinda go with, I think if you’re the sort of person that’s willing to give things a go, get stuck in and work hard, then it shouldn’t be too hard to find a job. I didn’t, I certainly didn’t find it [hard to get a job].

Part of the reason we decided to emigrate, because I used to spend hours every week on the M25, trying to battle congestion and I used to leave at five in the morning to get, to try and get round the M25, from the M1 round to the south of London. I used to sit for hours on a motorway. People think it’s a long commute if you drive more than 15-20 minutes here, which anybody at home will know is crazy really, because most people get stuck in traffic jams for a lot longer than that!

Basically as a family, our interests are, we love sport. All the children play sport. My son plays for Canterbury, one of the provinces, for soccer. My middle daughter likes to go horse riding, so she has great opportunities to train and ride horses.

My wife and I both think that schools here try and produce a more well rounded child here. It’s, it, education is important, just as it is back home, but we’ve things like music and sport and they really embrace, that side of it as well.

One of the reasons we as a family like it in New Zealand is, it’s just the access to, it’s the lifestyle, quality of life and the children, they don’t go on a computer game to try skiing, or play on a Wii or an Xbox to try skiing or tennis or football, they actually go and do the sport.

And, ah, in terms of getting out and seeing the scenery - I can’t think you know, we’ve only, we’ve only touched on a fraction of the scenery and travelled here since we’ve lived here. And, I can’t believe - it’s breathtaking.

And, the people are friendly. To be honest with you, we almost thought something was up – why were these people so friendly to us when we first arrived? And it’s just the people’s nature. It’s just the sort of kiwi way and I think you get your guard up, coming from the UK and you think someone is being overly nice to you, but here it’s just the way people are.

When I came over for interviews I managed to get tickets for and England vs All Blacks game, and my son was immediately converted to the All Blacks and, they won’t support England anymore. They’re completely committed to the All Blacks and the Kiwis, as much as I am, to be honest with you, now.

We emigrated here before the, before all the earthquakes. Unfortunately the house we were renting at the time was damaged in the earthquake so we had to move to another area. One of my Kiwi friends that I used to work with, um, the day after the earthquake was helping me in, in move stuff out from my [place] and he had his own problems but he was still willing to come and help me move out of our old rental into the new one. And, you know, I can’t thank them enough for how much support and help they’ve given us since we’ve immigrated.

I always wondered what if, we hadn’t tried it? If we hadn’t come? Would we have always wondered what it would’ve been like? And so at least, you know, I’m glad that we did. And I think, that in a way, if you’ve got that nagging thought in the back of your head, of trying it: give it a go, come and see what it’s all about, and, I think you’ll really appreciate that you did.


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.

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. In fact for several years observers described us as the ‘rock star’ economy. 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 2015 is expected to be around 3%, supported by net migration flows, labour income growth, and construction activity.

Prices for some of our agricultural products are no longer quite so favourable and of course economic recovery is now underway in the UK. However the IMF still predicts New Zealand’s GDP growth will be slightly higher than the UK’s for at least 2016 (2.74% vs 2.32%) and 2017 (2.5% vs 2.19%).

Visas to invest in New Zealand

Investment opportunities

Economic overview

Tax system & rates

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

Register with us and you’ll receive great info on jobs and upcoming events.


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Page last updated: 08/11/2017

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