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10 Things You Should Not Do When Immigrating to New Zealand

You probably read a bunch of posts about immigrating to a new country, what to do, what to avoid, plenty of advice that you may have thought is irrelevant to you. In this blog post, we tried to summarize our experience that you should be aware of before you do your move and immigrate to New Zealand.

  1. Don’t underestimate the distance : Despite living in a technological world, New Zealand's geographical location at the bottom of the planet poses challenges in staying connected. Why? First, due to the time difference that can even be 18 or 22 hours. Secondly, not many people are confident using social media, skype, messenger, etc. Just think of an elderly person in their 70s who was never interested in tech gadgets. They are not keen learners to improve themselves in technology, so you only have one option: calling them which can be very expensive. In addition: To get here it is at least a minimum of 26-30 hours journey (when you can snatch a good deal with short transfer time) with at least 1 connection. And then there is the jetlag, this will knock your socks off.

  2. Don’t have unrealistic expectations: Recognize that New Zealand has its own unique pace and lifestyle, everything is different here. This is a laid back country with all its pros and cons. Don’t expect that everything will happen quickly and straightforward as you get used to it. Adjust your expectations and embrace the laid-back nature of the country, understanding that things may not unfold as swiftly as you might be accustomed to. No one invited us, it was your choice to come here hence you should adopt the way of life here and not the other way round.

  3. Don’t think that you’ve arrived in Paradise: Yes, New Zealand is beautiful, stunning nature, breathtaking shores, amazing trekking tours and blue waters but not everything is perfect here. As a relatively young country, it is in a continuous process of growth and learning. Acknowledge that challenges exist alongside beauty. There are problems here as well, so don’t imagine a perfect country for yourself. However, I would say that this is currently the safest and most relaxed country I have been to.

  4. Don’t be impatient: New Zealand's laid-back culture may mean people are not in a rush to respond or act promptly. Patience is key, as good things often take time. Understanding and accepting the Kiwi style will contribute to a smoother experience. I can guarantee that you will get anxious, frustrated due to how things are run here, but this is normal. Acceptance is the key, it is a must have skill.

  5. Don’t assume continuity: Coming to New Zealand is not only a geographical change, it is a change in all different ways. Most of the people need to make compromises to be able to get a job offer here and start a new life. Even those people who are lucky and can continue their profession here, will face challenges just because the work environment, work behaviour is different than in their home country. If you want to stay here long-term, compromises are often necessary (but where aren`t?), even for those fortunate enough to continue their professions. Starting afresh is part of the journey.

  6. Don’t expect familiarity: Prepare for a complete change in your daily life. Everything, from food to language, will differ. Embracing these differences with an open mind is crucial for feeling comfortable in your new environment.

  7. Don’t come without sufficient funds: Underestimating initial expenses is a common mistake. New Zealand is a wealthy country and especially in the post- COVID era, everything is more expensive than before. Groceries, rent, fuel and even travelling have increased. If you don’t have enough savings to start your new life, you would be in a horrible situation after your arrival. Please don’t underestimate the significance of having enough funds. 

  8. Don’t expect the job find you: To be able to get a visa in New Zealand, you have to have a job offer from an accredited employer. This is always a very challenging process as you are not here, they don’t invite you for an interview. If you are here without a valid work visa, employers are not keen to talk to you, so this is a catch of 22. However, if you are determined, have an excellent CV with all your work experience that is needed here, you are on the right track. Obviously, you have to apply for the jobs, put lots of energy in the job hunt but don’t expect that the job will come to you. If you are lucky and have strong and good connections, they may be able to help you but you have to do your tasks as well.

  9. Don’t ignore English Proficiency: This is another mistake that so many people make. New Zealand is an English speaking country, you should speak the language if you want to integrate into this society. Don’t expect that they will learn your language because they won’t. When you decide to come here, you should accept that English is the language we use and you have to put a lot of effort into improving your English skills. Investing effort in improving language skills is essential for a successful transition. And trust me, language is not the most challenging part when you move into another country.

  10. Don’t believe that it will be easier: Although New Zealand is a developed country, far away from any wars, crises, etc. it is not easy to integrate into this milieu. We all have our challenges at the beginning and in the first couple of years (sometimes longer). You have to work here as well, you have to pay your taxes, you have to pay for your rent or mortgage, so nothing is free and nothing is easy. Plus you have your journey with Immigration New Zealand to constantly maintain your lawful status in the country until you achieve the main goal: to stay permanently in Aotearoa. But the pathway to this is rough. There is never a straight journey, everyone has their own challenge. The question is always: how tolerant are you? How many compromises are you able to make? How open are you to accept a new culture, a new language, a new environment? 

Summarizing our thoughts:

Before deciding to move to New Zealand, carefully weigh the factors mentioned above. The first few years can be decisive in determining whether this becomes your permanent home. Responsibility, respect, adaptability, and humility are crucial traits for a successful transition. Consider all aspects before embarking on this significant journey, ensuring you are prepared for the commitment and challenges that come with it. Immigration is a tough cookie whichever country you choose to go to. They all have strict rules, laws to follow and New Zealand is not an exception to that. But here you will find friendly folks, epic landscapes and the yummiest pies and safe life above all and that is a downright sweet feeling!


Harmony Immigration can assist you in various ways on your journey including comprehensive immigration services under one roof, crafting personalised CV, preparing you for job, visa interviews & IELTS exam, connecting you with potential employers, translating & verifying legal documents.

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