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Tips For Setting Up Your Life In New Zealand

By · March 7 2022
Tips For Setting Up Your Life In New Zealand

Moving to a new country can be stressful. Setting up your new life with all the proper paperwork can be time-consuming but will make things like applying for jobs, paying tax, and getting a driver's licence easier if you do things right from the get-go.

Here are some things you should consider setting up to make your new life in New Zealand that much smoother.

Setting Up A Bank Account

Getting a bank account is one of the first things you should do after moving to New Zealand. You’ll need one if you are working so that you have easy access to cash and online payments. New Zealanders tend to use electronic payments and credit cards rather than cash.

If you have a visa for New Zealand, you can set up a bank account in New Zealand while you are overseas. You will need to activate your account once you arrive in New Zealand and show proof of your address. You will also need:

A New Zealand ID or your passport to prove your identity

Proof of a permanent address in New Zealand

A New Zealand IRD number. If you don’t have one, use your foreign tax number

Proof of your visa: this could be a work, residence, or student visa.

How to Get an IRD Number

You’ll need an IRD number to pay tax once you start working. You can apply for an IRD number as a new arrival or not. Your ‘new arrival’ status is the same as the last date you can enter New Zealand on your visa until you become a new arrival after that date.

Apply for your IRD number on the Inland Revenue website. It’s faster to apply as a new arrival, and you need less evidence to support your application.

If you are an Australian resident, you need a passport to apply. If you are on a resident visa, you need your passport and Immigration New Zealand Application Number. If you are on a student visa or a work visa, you'll need:

your passport

your Immigration New Zealand Application Number

your most recent overseas tax number (if applicable)

an NZ bank account, showing your name and account number, or customer due diligence (CDD), if you have one.

Convert Your Overseas Driving Licence To a New Zealand Licence

If you have a valid overseas driver’s licence, you can convert it to a New Zealand driver’s licence. Depending on when you last entered the country, you can only drive using an overseas licence for 12-24 months. Many places won’t accept overseas driver’s licences as legitimate forms of identification, so this will prevent you from having to carry your passport with you wherever you go.

To convert your overseas licence, you will need to fill out an application form and take your supporting documents to a specialist overseas conversion site. These are found in most towns and cities within New Zealand.

Paying Tax

Your employer will take PAYE tax out of your paycheck and pay it to the IRD on your behalf.

New Zealand has a very easy to use tax system. Most new arrivals will need to file a tax return in their first year in New Zealand, and if you earn overseas income, you may need to fill out an IR3 form. The tax year in New Zealand runs from 1 April to 31 March.

You will be classed as a non-resident for tax purposes once:

You have a permanent abode in New Zealand or;

You have spent 183 days within the past 12 months in the country.

Find out more about your tax status on the IRD website.

Finding Work

You’ll need the right visa before you can work in New Zealand. Once this is approved you can get to work looking for a job. Most New Zealanders use the websites Seek.co.nz and Trademe.co.nz to find work. Workhere.co.nz is a website designed for recruiters to fill jobs predominantly with foreign workers.

Immigrants and people on visas are often viewed as highly employable, so don’t worry too much about finding a job. Seasonal work, bartending, hospitality, and tourism jobs are easy to find.

Getting Your Work Visa

New Zealand has working holiday visas for residents of 45 countries and a range of visas for skilled migrants and essential workers. Check out the Immigration NZ website to see what visas you can apply for. 

The NZ immigration process for work visas is pretty straightforward, and visa acceptance times are fast compared to many other countries. Half of all essential skills visas are approved within 42 days and 90% within five months.

The NZ Immigration website is user friendly, and once you have submitted your documents, your caseworker will be able to tell you an estimated time frame for processing.

Access to Healthcare in New Zealand

New Zealand has a government-funded healthcare system that is subsidised for all New Zealand citizens and permanent residents. You may also be eligible for subsidised healthcare if you are a work visa holder who’s eligible to stay in the country for more than two years.

If you are not eligible for public health services, you can still use them; you will just have to pay. It is a good idea to get travel insurance before leaving your country to cover you for the duration of your trip.

Moving countries can be stressful, but moving house doesn’t have to be. At Wise Move , we get you the best price for your move, no matter where you are in the country.

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