Applying for Your New Zealand Skilled Migrant Visa 101

One of the most popular ways for Filipinos to migrate to foreign countries is via the Skilled Migrant Visa. The thing with many Westernized nations is that they have a distinct lack of skilled manual workers (probably because a college diploma and a white-collar job with a fancy title are considered more aspirational in their societies).

New Zealand is no exception.

So, how do you cash in on the hype? Most importantly, how would you know if you’re eligible for New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Visa? And if you are, how do you go about things?

Read on and find out.

What Does the Skilled Migrant Visa Allow Me to Do?

New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Visa
Image Credit: BigStock

This visa enables you to live, work, and study in New Zealand. It also allows you to include your partner as well as any dependent children under the age of 24 in your residence application.

What Are the Requirements?

Generally, those who are aged 55 or younger and whose skills are aligned with the ones New Zealand has a shortage of are the best candidates for this visa. The country has separate lists of in-demand skills for both the immediate future and for the long term, and you can type in your occupation into this database to find out if yours is one of them.

Do note that the New Zealand government refers to a point-based system to assess expressions of interest or EOI’s (more on this later).

New Zealand government refers to a point-based system
Image Credit: Otago Daily Times

Those whose EOI’s have 160 points or more usually end up moving forward.

The more items on this list that apply to you, the more points your EOI can garner. Having been offered skill employment in New Zealand, currently working as a skilled worker in New Zealand, possessing a recognized qualification for your skill set, having close family living in the country, and being with a partner who speaks English at the same level you’re required to can all merit you additional points.

How Do You Apply?

First, check if you meet the requirements (see above.)

Next, submit your expression of interest (EOI) online here. You will need to create an account to be able to do this, but the link for that is also provided on the previously-mentioned URL. While waiting for feedback, you can also check New Zealand Immigration’s Guide to Fees online.

If your EOI scores at least 160 points, you’ll most likely be selected to continue with the application. You’ll receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) if this is the case.

selected to continue with the application
Image Credit: Visas Avenue Blog

You should also receive a form for resident application along with your ITA. This needs to be submitted along with the complete requirements within six months. Refer to the Fees Guide mentioned earlier for the necessary accompanying payments.

The final step, if your application was successful, is to receive your visa. Once approved, you should be issued either a resident visa or a job search visa.

What are the Common Mistakes to Avoid?

To have a more accurate picture of how many points your EOI should get, steer clear of the following application errors:

1. Listing qualifications that may not be recognized.

If your qualifications haven’t been certified in New Zealand, you may want to have them assessed by the International Qualifications Assessment (IQA). They’ll give you a Recognition Statement after the assessment, and you can use it for immigration purposes.

Not doing otherwise may result in your listed qualifications being disregarded and thus not bagging you any points on your application.

2. Citing irrelevant work experience.

Points for work experience are only credited if it applies to the same field as the job being offered to you or to your declared qualification. For instance, having worked on a renovation project for a church will get you points if you’re applying as a construction worker, but not if you’re doing the same for a healthcare position. (Duh.)

As a parting note, be sure not to confuse the Skilled Migrant Visa with the Entrepreneur Resident Visa. The former is best for those who intend to work for a company or for an individual, but if you plan on being self-employed (e.g., a freelance plumber or construction worker), the latter is probably more suitable.

4 Ways to Nab a Job in New Zealand

Wanderlust doesn’t come cheap. To be able to travel as often as you would have your Instagram followers believe, you must either be a.) an heir or heiress with a humongous trust fund, b.) a Kardashian/Jenner/”social climber/influencer” (Ugh), c.) someone who can find a job anywhere to pay for their trips.

So, unless you’re part of the privileged 1% (or are really, really good at taking selfies and thus qualifying as a “social influencer”), Option C is pretty much your only choice.

Let’s say you wouldn’t wanted to spend an entire summer backpacking around New Zealand. What are the ways in which you can quickly find a part-time job to help fund your adventures?

1. Join a job recruitment agency.

Join a job recruitment agency

These agencies usually get a heads-up on job openings long before these hit the newspapers or the Internet, if they do at all. Also, signing up with them is usually free, so while it’s not the most foolproof way to get a job, you’ve also got nothing to lose by having this option in your arsenal.

It should also be noted that while the primary duty of a recruitment agency is to match you up with a prospective employer, your chances of getting a job still rely heavily on your CV and how well you do during the interview.

2. Browse the newspapers, bulletins, and job boards.

Browse the newspapers, bulletins, and job boards
Image Credit: 123rf

A bulletin is basically a magazine with short news stories and classified ads, and you can get one of these as well as the local newspaper at any convenience store. Ask around as to when these dailies are released so you can be among the first to apply for the job openings advertised within them.

New Zealand still makes use of notice boards, and your hostel might have one that displays local job openings, so be sure to ask the receptionist if they’ve got one.

3. Apply for jobs online.

Apply for jobs online
Image Credit: Alamy

This is perhaps the easiest option since you can do this anywhere so long as you have a good wi-fi signal. You can even get started with the application process before you even get on the plane.

Provided that your CV and preliminary communication with prospective employers kick a**, it’ll take even less time for you to land a job since you’ll just have to attend interviews upon arrival.

Do note, however, that there’s likely to be more competition in busier towns like Auckland or Wellington, so you better get cracking once you’ve booked your ticket. Try visiting sites like TradeMe, SEEK, or Seasonal Jobs for a start.

4. Approach employers face-to-face.

Approach employers face-to-face
Image Credit: Getty Images

A proactive confidence and a go-getter attitude are highly-prized traits among New Zealand’s employers.

Here’s how you can demonstrate such: once you’ve settled in, print out a few copies of your CV and take a walk around town. Go inside supermarkets, hotels, and other similar establishments you could see yourself working in, ask for the manager, and inquire about any job openings open to tourists or backpackers.

If they answer in the affirmative, introduce yourself and submit a  copy of your CV.

You may not hit pay dirt on your first try, but this is still arguably the best way to get employment in New Zealand, so long as you remain persistent.

It goes without saying that you should have a working holiday visa in place before you embark on a job search, lest you find your trip abruptly cut short (i.e., because working illegally can get you deported).

Good luck!

A Quick Guide for Filipinos Moving to New Zealand

Visiting other countries while on vacation is one thing. Moving abroad to actually live there is another thing entirely.

In the first scenario, the novelty is all part of the fun. You’ll marvel at how differently everyone sounds (even when they appear to be speaking English), rejoice in the colder climate, and perhaps even find amusement in exploring local transportation.

In the second scenario, however, the unfamiliar can quickly turn terrifying. Those quaint accents won’t be so endearing when they get in the way of your understanding directions or workplace instructions, all that powdery white winter snow will only mean that you have to spend the morning shoveling it off your car and the driveway while you freeze your butt off, and you’ll have to figure out public transportation routes quickly lest you show up late to work a little too often.

This is not to discourage you from migrating, of course. There will always be a period of adjustment when you’re trying something new, and the key to getting through it successfully is knowing what to expect.

Say, you’ve decided to move to New Zealand. What sort of things should you watch out for?

Language

Image Credit: Shutterstock

English remains to be the predominant language in New Zealand, but the Kiwi accent can take some getting used to. It’s quite different from the way Americans speak, but it’ll sound familiar if you’ve lived in Australia for some time before crossing the Tasman.

New Zealanders also tend to speak quite fast, so you may find them hard to understand if your own grasp of the English language isn’t too solid yet and/or you’re not used to the Kiwi accent.

Fortunately, the Kiwi’s are usually friendly and obliging if you politely ask them to slow down or to repeat what they’ve just said. Brushing up on your study of the English language also helps, and you can perhaps try to listen to local podcasts to get familiar with the accent.

Climate

Climate

The weather in New Zealand is generally mild, but as with Australia, its citizens experience all four seasons, but they occur in reverse order.

Winter, for example, lasts from June to August, and whether you get snow or not depends on which part of the country you live in. The landscape then changes from white to a lovely burnt orange, courtesy of autumn, which graces the country from March till May.

Spring usually arrives around September, and Mother Nature remains in full bloom until December, which typically marks the beginning of the summer season.

Thus, you may want to stock your wardrobe with coats, jackets, and thermal wear to prepare for the fluctuations in temperature.

Environment

New Zealand Farmland Square
Image Credit: Natural Habitat Adventures

The local population has a deep love and respect for nature, and New Zealand’s iconic scenery can be glimpsed everywhere, even in the country’s biggest cities.

In the midst of so much natural beauty, it’s not surprising that much of the recreational activities in this country are done outside. From hiking to skiing, adrenaline junkieswill have no shortage of new hobbies to explore.

However, do be warned that littering is frowned upon as it’s bad for the environment. Last I checked, New Zealand’s parliament was even proposing a fine of NZ$1,000 for anyone who gets caught littering. Yikes. Best keep litter in your pockets till you come across a garbage bin then.

Employment

Employment in New Zealand
Image Credit: New Zealand Now

Salaries are generally good in this country, and employment opportunities for expats are quite diverse. Part-time jobs in the healthcare industry are a popular choice for many migrants who are also trying to get a degree or are in the process of applying for a citizenship.

Fields like forestry, fishing, and construction have the highest demand for skilled labor, so if you’ve got skills and/or an education that would prove useful in any of those industries, you’re likely to find a job faster.

Transportation

Transportation in New Zealand

If you choose to settle in big cities like Auckland or Wellington, you’ll have access to a comprehensive rail system, so you may not need a car to get around.

Not so in the more remote areas, however. Some of the smaller cities have buses servicing the local populace, but driving your own car remains to be the most convenient mode of transportation. However, traffic jams are uncommon and are usually found only in big cities during rush hour.

And, of course, there’s always the bicycle. When you live in a country this clean and safe, getting to and from work and school on a bike actually sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Culture

Culture in New Zealand

NZ culture is arguably one of the best things about this country. Corruption and discrimination aren’t the norm here, and Kiwi’s have a reputation for being open-minded and friendly.

This also extends to their business culture, which is more informal than those in other Western countries (though basic courtesy is still practiced and valued).

The Maori heritage is also a crucial part of the country’s culture, with many Maori words finding their way into everyday conversations, so you may want to familiarize yourself with what they mean and how they are pronounced.

See? Moving over to New Zealand might call for some changes in your lifestyle, but that’s nothing compared to what you’d be getting in return: a naturally beautiful, politically and economically stable new homeland that’s arguably more accepting of outsiders than any other place in the world.

Injured Yourself While Gallivanting Around New Zealand? ACC’s Got You Covered

Few things can ruin a vacation faster than an injury, especially if your primary reason for visiting New Zealand was to get your fill of adrenaline-pumping activities.

I mean, you can’t exactly go bungy-jumping with a broken leg now, can you?

But as if you needed another reason to love New Zealand, they have this most extraordinary scheme called the Accident Compensation Corporation or ACC.

It’s basically a Crown entity that’s charged with administering the country’s universal no-fault accidental injury scheme, which, get this, applies to ANYONE in New Zealand, whether they are a resident or a temporary visitor (i.e., a tourist).

And if that doesn’t make you feel a lot more confident about taking the Zorb out on a spin, you should also know that this sort of “no-fault” coverage means that the ACC will help you out regardless of who or what actually caused your injury. (Yep, you’ll still get assistance with injury-related costs even if you happened to, say, break your ankle while strolling down a hill after chugging half a six-pack. Crazy, I know.)

So, how do you get help from the ACC if you do get injured?

For starters, you need to go visit a healthcare professional or a doctor at a medical centre or a hospital. (Don’t just put Vicks Vaporub on your injury, for the love of God.)

The attending physician will then treat your injury, help you fill out an ACC form, and even send off the said form for you. You’ll need to pay a partial amount for this first medical visit, but you can avail of a refund for much of the cost afterward if your ACC claim is accepted. Should you be in New Zealand for work purposes, the healthcare professional can also produce a medical certificate for you in case you need to take a few days off to recover.

ACC Form

Image Credit: Shutterstock

The ACC will contact you via phone or through a letter if your claim is successful, so remember to keep the receipt for your treatment costs. The following are examples of the sort of medical assistance that the ACC can provide:

  • Treatment costs;
  • Prescription medication costs;
  • Compensation for lost earnings;
  • Transport to and from treatment;
  • Recovery aids and equipment;
  • Childcare;
  • Assistance with chores around the house;
  • Assistance with getting back to work.

To be clear, the ACC covers personal injuries (i.e., physical injuries, mental injuries brought about by physical injuries, criminal activity, or any traumatic work-related event, and damage done to prostheses that are meant to replace parts of the body, such as a prosthetic leg, etc.) that are caused by any of the following:

  • Accidents;
  • Occupational hazards;
  • Medical treatments;
  • Sexual abuse.

Lastly, it should be noted that there are certain injuries that the ACC does not cover, such as:

  • Pre-existing conditions or illnesses;
  • Stress, hurt feelings, or heartbreak (i.e., if you get friendzoned or busted by a hot Maori or Kiwi, sorry, mate, you’re on your own);
  • Aging-related symptoms;
  • Non-traumatic hernias, such as the sort you could get from coughing or sneezing;
  • Gradual process injuries that aren’t caused by occupational hazards, such as skin rashes born of a stubborn insistence on using Vicks Vaporub as a cure-all;
  • Damage to items that aren’t meant to replace body parts, such as hearing aids, glasses, or pacemakers.

Stay safe, everyone!

5 Jobs That Can Give You Free Accommodation in New Zealand

Remember that scene in Titanic where Rose’s uptight snob of a mother grills Jack at the dinner table? After he talks about how he’s been to so many places, she makes a subtle dig at his poverty by asking, “And how is it you have the means to travel?”

He then replies, “I work my way from place to place, you know, tramp steamers and such.”

Despite the fact that the movie was set more than a hundred years ago (1912, to be exact), 21st century travelers can still do a Jack Dawson if they’ve got limited funds. Accommodations, for instance, arguably eat up the biggest chunk of your travel budget. Especially in a place like New Zealand, where you’ll be lucky if you find decent rooms for under USD 173 per night.

Fortunately, you can find a place to stay for free on this island nation if you’re willing to put in a bit of work. Here are five different gigs that can save you from having to sleep on a park bench if you’re running low on cash:

1. Au Pair.

Image Credit: BananasBunch

It’s basically a fancy term for a live-in babysitter.

This sort of arrangement typically suits single women who plan to stay in New Zealand for quite a while and don’t mind looking after young children in exchange for a place to stay. It’s also a great way to supplement a degree in Early Childhood Education and Development with actual childcare experience.

As a bonus, it’s also got potential as an excellent cross-cultural exchange for both the host family and the au pair.

2. Waged Jobs in the Hospitality Industry.

Image Credit: iStock

If you aim to hang around New Zealand for a few months, you could try to get a job at the local hostel, hotel, or motel. Working the reception desk or a handful of housekeeping shifts a week could mean a free bed to sleep in and some extra pocket money to boot!

3. WWOOF.

WWOOF
Image Credit: The Green Compass

No, this has nothing to do with pretending to be a dog (although you may find yourself making a few new furry friends in the process).

WWOOF stands for “Working Weekends on Organic Farms,” and it involves volunteering to work on a variety of organic properties for about 4-6 hours a day. Manual work is clearly involved, but you’d be doing so in a safe and perhaps even scenic environment, and the hosts typically provide shelter AND food.

Aspiring socio-preneurs and food sustainability advocates ought to find the experience extremely educational and rewarding as well. Learn more about WWOOF here.

4. DOC Volunteer Work.

DOC Volunteer Work
Image Credit: AA Traveller

Speaking of volunteering and the environment, another option involves signing up with New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DoC) and helping out with their efforts to preserve and restore the country’s historic buildings and wildlife sanctuaries.

Some projects include free accommodation for volunteers, and you can visit the DoC website to find which of the ongoing ones would suit you.

5. Sailing Crews.

Sailing Crews
Image Credit: Crew 4 U 2 Sail

Fancy going all Pirates of the Caribbean on New Zealand’s most pristine waters AND scoring complimentary board and lodging?

Log on to Find A Crew, and look for a captain who’ll take you on as part of the crew on their floating vessel! Trips brokered on this website typically last for an entire week and usually come with a free bed aboard, or at the very least, a small fee in exchange for the same.

Okay, so you might argue that a working vacation is no vacation at all. Still, if you look at the jobs listed above, most of them actually offer great opportunities to get to know the country and its people better, potentially resulting in a more immersive experience. And how many travelers can claim that they’ve managed to do that while savi quite a bundle in the process?