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Moving to New Zealand: Common Questions From Construction & Engineering Candidates

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​​At RobLawMax, we often speak with overseas Engineering candidates looking for opportunities to live and work in New Zealand. Although it’s a rewarding experience, it’s not as easy as packing up your things and hoping for the best. Before you start putting any plans into action, there are various factors to consider. We spoke with our very own Thomas Smith, who shares his advice on some of the most common queries we receive from candidates about moving to New Zealand.

What’s the best way to approach immigration? Who should candidates speak to?

Once you’ve spoken to any family members that would be immigrating with you, visit New Zealand Immigration to check out your visa options. Don’t rely on Recruitment Consultants or Human Resources Advisors for advice on eligibility to working in New Zealand. Although we keep up to date with developments within this space (as you’d expect), only licensed Immigration Advisors are legally entitled to advise on immigration matters. 

If you decide to move forward with an Immigration Advisor, check out your options. Also, you’ll be able to confirm here whether your children are considered dependents and able to immigrate.

What documentation will need to be brought over?

Ensure that you have copies of qualifications and documents proving good character. Immigration New Zealand will require Police clearance certificates from any country you have lived in for 12 months or more over the last 10 years.

Will candidates need employer references their home country?

Positive references will be critical to gaining interviews and offers of employment. I would recommend speaking to previous employers to request written references. If they’re unable to provide one for any reason, then verbal references will also be acceptable.

Do they need to visit New Zealand first?

We’ve found that potential employers show more interest in those candidates who have either previously visited New Zealand or who are planning a visit in the near future for face-to-face interviews. Be aware that some employers will not engage with you if you have not visited or are not prepared to do so.

What is the cost of living like? 

There are a lot of people who arrive in New Zealand with little understanding of the cost of living, or who make the mistake of assuming that the cost of living is uniform across the country. How you find the cost of living here will really depend on a) where you’re coming from and b) where you’re looking to settle. It’s a good idea to do your research before you arrive. Visit to assess the cost of renting or buying properties in different regions and use New Zealand Immigration’s cost of living calculator to give you a rough idea of expenses.

What approach should candidates take when it comes to finding Construction & Engineering jobs?

New Zealand is a relatively small employment market, so it’s important not to engage with multiple agencies. Instead, choose a Recruiter who is responsive and who you feel demonstrates specialist knowledge of your sector.

Keep a record of positions you’ve previously applied for. Your prospects of gaining employment in New Zealand will be damaged if potential employers receive your details directly and from recruiters as well.

Closing Thoughts

The team at RobLawMax Recruitment includes a number of expats who have immigrated to New Zealand, so we are on hand to make your transition as smooth as possible. If you’re considering relocating to New Zealand, feel free to download a copy of our extensive ‘Guide to Making a Successful Move Down Under’ and have a read through the key mistakes people make.

For further advice, or to find out more about Construction & Engineering jobs in New Zealand, get in touch with me.