Getting job-ready

A little forward planning and preparation will save a lot of time, frustration and stress in your job hunt.

You can get an idea of which industries are big employers in the region you’re considering from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s report

You also need to research what New Zealand employers look for in job applications and how to present yourself in the best possible way.

The Careers New Zealand webpage for migrants is a good starting point for preparing for your job search.

New to New Zealand | Careers New Zealand

Regional Sectors and Specialisations | MBIE

Do some homework

Start by doing some research into which industries and sectors are important here, and which ones are needing skilled people. Our Job Market page will give you a good overview.

Then, dig a little deeper using the Careers New Zealand Jobs database. You can search for specific job titles or professions and get information about pay, job opportunities, and the entry and qualification requirements in New Zealand.

If there isn’t a role exactly like yours, then this site is an excellent place to check out other areas of work where your skills and experience may fit. 

The Careers New Zealand website lists various privately-operated job vacancy websites you can visit to see what sorts of jobs are available. You should also check the TradeMe jobs and Seek websites.

If you’re coming to New Zealand as the partner of someone with a skilled migrant or work visa and want to try something new, the Careers New Zealand website can help you come up with interesting job possibilities to explore.

Job market & key industries

Jobs database | Careers New Zealand

Job vacancies for migrants | New Kiwis

Job vacancy and recruitment websites | Careers New Zealand 

TradeMe Jobs | TradeMe

Job vacancies in New Zealand | Seek

How to get ideas for your career | Careers New Zealand

Finding work (01:28)

Finding work

Giselle Abrianos – For me find a job here in NZ was not so hard because I start to look for job when I was in Brazil. So first I started to check if the same position that I had in Brazil I could have here. So I already had some idea which companies I could work. So the company I am working now it was one company that I discovered when I was there.

Dominique O’Callaghan - I arrived on a Thursday night, had my first two interviews on a Friday morning, uhm, had my second interviews on a Wednesday and got offered the job on a Wednesday afternoon. 

Diego Abrianos - attending the workshops provided by ARMS it just kind of opened doors for me. Ah… I was able to find another organization that was called Omega and another called Chamber of Commerce. And combining the help I received from those three major organisations I was able to review my CV to improve my CV to the local standard and then after more six weeks I guess, I was able to get a job or to get a proposal to sign to get the job.

Lindsey Crummett – My brother-in-law’s best friend worked at Weta - remembered he said he would talk to Richard for me – and it just seemed so easy that I was able to set up a meeting and meet Richard Taylor, and it was, it actually blew my mind how quickly it happened, I was able to show him a sculpture I had done and I was blown away by how friendly and warm he was.


Regional opportunities

If you know where you’re likely to be living, Careers New Zealand has a tool that lets you match your skills and interests to jobs in that particular area.

You can get an idea of what type of industries are big employers in the region you’re considering from this Statistics New Zealand report.

Regional Job Matcher | Careers New Zealand

Regional GDP: Year to March 2013 | Statistics New Zealand

Prospective employers

You’ll want at least some basic background on the employers you’re considering - what sort of work they do, what they specialise in, how big they are, who they compete with, what clients and customers they have - for your own information.

It’s not just for personal interest. You’ll also find that employers expect you to have this sort of general industry knowledge.

New Zealand companies tend to be small, so it can be relatively hard to get detailed information on them. However they will almost all have a website, so do some searching online.

As a shortcut, try Immigration New Zealand’s list of ‘accredited employers’ (accredited because they frequently employ migrants). It has web addresses for over 450 businesses.

Accredited Employers List | Immigration New Zealand


Employers may need help understanding the qualifications you’ve gained overseas

They’re used to the New Zealand ‘national qualifications framework’ which ranks qualifications from 0-10. A diploma is either 5 or 6, a bachelor’s degree is 7, a doctoral degree is 10 and so on.

Start by getting an understanding of the New Zealand system at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) website.

Then, check out Immigration New Zealand’s big list of overseas qualifications. It shows how they rank on New Zealand’s framework.

If your particular qualification isn’t listed, you may need to get it assessed by NZQA.

Understanding New Zealand qualifications | NZQA 

Qualifications exempt from assessment | Immigration New Zealand

Get international qualifications recognised for Immigration | NZQA

Qualifications for a visa

The qualifications on Immigration New Zealand’s list of ‘Qualifications Exempt from Assessment’ are pre-approved for immigration purposes. So they’re valid if you’re claiming points in a Skilled Migrant visa application, or if you’re applying for a work visa on the basis that your occupation is on a skill shortage list and a New Zealand qualification equivalent is mentioned as a requirement.

If your qualification is not listed then you might need to apply to NZQA for an International Qualifications Assessment to submit with your visa application.

If you are submitting an ‘Expression of interest’  then a pre-assessment Result (PAR) is an option. This costs less but isn’t sufficient for a full application.

Apply for an International Qualifications Assessment | NZQA

Business meeting

Qualifications for employment

If you want to work in New Zealand it may be useful to have your qualifications assessed by NZQA.

There’s a fee of around $750 for a standard application. The process takes up to 35 working days to complete once all documents have been received so make sure you allow enough time.

If your industry has a professional body in New Zealand it may be able to advise you whether you’ll need your qualifications assessed or translated. In some cases, industry bodies have negotiated reciprocal recognition of overseas qualifications.

For more about qualifications and finding work in New Zealand visit Careers NZ.

Apply for an International Qualifications Assessment | NZQA

Industry organisations in New Zealand | Christchurch City Libraries

Using your qualifications and skills in NZ | Careers NZ

Occupational registration

A number of jobs in New Zealand require some form of official registration. Immigration New Zealand has a list of the jobs that are affected.

If you are going to need registration, you should start the process as soon as possible. You’ll need to contact the appropriate registration authority to see if you meet their requirements then submit a registration application.

You may need to provide evidence of your occupational registration when you submit your visa application if:

  • you’re applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category and planning to work in an occupation where registration is required, or
  • you are including a job offer in a work visa application and occupational registration is a requirement.

If you are applying for a visa as the partner of a worker or New Zealand resident it is a good idea to submit your registration paperwork before you move to New Zealand.

Occupational Registration | Immigration New Zealand

Allow enough time

Gathering all the documents you need to have qualifications recognised or to apply for registration can be a time consuming task. Actually applying for registration or a qualifications assessment then having your immigration application processed will add more days and weeks.

Of course there will be costs - for example, gaining registration can sometimes be expensive. Don't forget to budget for them.

Make sure you allow enough time and money for all this when you’re planning your move here. 

Interested in coming to New Zealand?

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Page last updated: 26/09/2016

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