Working in New Zealand

New Zealand welcomes migrants who contribute valuable skills and qualifications to our country. However, finding a job in New Zealand may be a challenge.

The job market in New Zealand is very competitive and you may find that some employers do not recognise your overseas qualifications and training. Although you may have gained "points" towards your New Zealand residence approval based on your qualifications and experience, this may not mean you will easily find a job in your preferred career. We recommend you check to see if your qualifications are recognised in New Zealand. If they are not, you may have to consider extra study or retraining to get the job you want. Alternatively, you may find work in the same area, but at a more "junior" level than you may be used to, or you may need to seek other types of employment.

It is very important that you can read, write and speak English. Most New Zealand employers prefer to employ immigrants who speak English, and you may find it difficult to find work if you cannot do so.

Your qualifications in New Zealand

The more experience and qualifications you have to offer, the better your chances of finding work will be.

If you hold overseas qualifications, these may be recognised or they may count towards a New Zealand qualification.

You can apply to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to have your qualifications assessed before you arrive in New Zealand. http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/qualifications-standards/international-qualifications/. The NZQA has a specialist team, the Qualifications Evaluation Service, which will assess your qualifications in comparison with current New Zealand qualifications. NZQA will charge you a fee to assess your overseas qualifications. The assessment takes about eight to 10 weeks. NZQA evaluations are official assessments, but they are not binding on employers, professional bodies or educational institutions. You may be required to obtain an NZQA assessment of your overseas qualification(s) by Immigration New Zealand if you apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant category.

In addition, some trades and professional people (such as electricians, plumbers and doctors) need to get permission from the relevant registration board before they can work here. You may need to do extra training or examinations and there is sometimes a waiting list for this. New Zealand employers are looking for applicants that will come and work in New Zealand on a working holiday visa, temporary work visa or people who wish to make New Zealand their home for the rest of their lives.

Make sure you bring proof of your qualifications to New Zealand. These should be originals.

You should have the original of:

  • each degree, diploma or certificate you have been awarded
  • official transcripts, listing the subjects you studied and the marks or grades you obtained
  • apprenticeship documents
  • practising certificate, licence or registration details
  • evidence of professional, vocational or trade-related employment and experience
  • translations of all non-English documents prepared by an official translation service
  • proof of any name change (such as a marriage certificate or deed poll).

You may also be asked to provide a syllabus or course description and/or a list of marks for each qualification.