Making the move: Australia --> New Zealand
October 11, 2009 7:36 PM   Subscribe

What's involved in moving from Australia to New Zealand?

I've been flirting with the idea of moving over to NZ for at least two or three years after thoroughly enjoying myself a couple of years ago on holidays.

I've done a little bit of googling and found a few sites, but I'm after more specific information:

- Does Australia have some agreement with New Zealand that allows both citizens to move and work freely in either?
- What process, as an Australian, would I have to follow, ie - 1) get job offer, 2) apply for residency etc...

There are quite a few jobs of interest (web design) on in the area I'm after so that shouldn't be a problem.
posted by simplesharps to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes there is such an agreement, so just apply for some jobs via, arrange some accommodation, and go.
You were one click away from this page which states that
If you are entering New Zealand with:
a valid Australian passport, or
a current Australian Permanent Residence Visa, or
a current Australian Resident Return Visa
you will normally be granted a New Zealand residence permit on arrival.
posted by Canard de Vasco at 7:56 PM on October 11, 2009

Have a look at the 1973 Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement. This allows NZers to work in Australia - this page suggests that the arrangement is reciprocal.
posted by Paragon at 7:57 PM on October 11, 2009

Australian citizens and people who hold a current Australian permanent residence visa or a current Australian resident return visa do not need a New Zealand visa to enter New Zealand. - Immigration NZ
Assuming you're Australian you automagically get to go and live in NZ for as long as you feel like it. You also have a right to work, and access to benefits (there are some rules on this, I suspect, in the same way as NZers coming to AU have to wait six(?) months before applying for the dole) and are generally considered "one of us." except for some (mainly governmental) jobs that require citizenship.

Australians can even vote in NZ elections if they're keen, although you need to register in advance...
posted by Suspicious Ninja at 9:19 PM on October 11, 2009

Ah, knew there would be a specifically spelt out answer somewhere:
If you’re an Australian citizen, you don’t need to apply for any type of visa or permit, but you will be allowed to live, work or study in New Zealand indefinitely . You will need to show a valid Australian passport on your arrival in New Zealand and be of good character.
(Please note that last caveat :P)
posted by Suspicious Ninja at 9:24 PM on October 11, 2009

and access to benefits (there are some rules on this, I suspect, in the same way as NZers coming to AU have to wait six(?) months before applying for the dole)

I think (but am not 100% sure) that the waiting period in both countries is now 2 years (and I think NZ citizens in Australia now have to actually apply for a permanent resident visa, boo) so yeah I would make sure that if you're going to turn up in NZ without a job arranged that you have enough money to support yourself for a while.

As for the logistics--

A good place to find somewhere to rent/share is TradeMe, if you're just looking to flat share you could probably get something arranged in advance even.

Here is how to open a Kiwibank account before you even arrive. The other banks (Westpac, ASB, ANZ, NationalBank, BNZ etc) will likely allow you to do the same thing. You may find having a bank account from Day One quite handy.

You will need to get an IRD number to work in New Zealand (it's the equivalent of the TFN) This is the form you need to fill out - I don't think you can send it in in advance but you can at least have it all filled out and ready to go on arrival, if you want. If you are staying in NZ for more than 183 days (six months, essentially) you will be a NZ resident for tax purposes.

NZ and Australia have reciprocal healthcare agreements so you should be eligible for publicly funded healthcare in NZ, though if memory serves there may be some sort of clause where you have to have lived or be intending to live in NZ for two years or more.

If your mobile phone is unlocked, you will be able to take it to NZ and use it with a or 2 degrees SIM card. Have a look at the pricing and figure out which one suits your needs best. You may be slightly shocked at the prices - NZ doesn't really have anything like the Caps.

Oh, and if you're living in a major Australian city right now, there are going to be things you're used to having that you just can't get in NZ. I'm sure you know this if you've visited, but an Australian couple made news not all that long ago for a blog where they complained about not being able to get The Age in Auckland. You will, however, be able to get The Best Tomato Sauce In The Universe (Watties, oh how I miss thee!) so it all evens out in the end ;)

Otherwise, people may be able to provide more specific advice if you have an idea of where in NZ you would like to move to.

Good luck!
posted by lwb at 1:19 AM on October 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hurr, my link to Vodafone New Zealand didn't work.
posted by lwb at 1:21 AM on October 12, 2009

You should be able to apply for jobs from within Australia; Seek is a good site as you've noticed. You could also try TradeMe Jobs.

A minor word of warning that salaries in NZ tend to be lower than Aus. Obviously there are plenty of other good reasons to move, but don't do it for the money.
posted by Infinite Jest at 4:42 AM on October 12, 2009

Yeah, Infinite Jest makes a really good point there that I meant to bring up. I make nearly twice what I made in NZ in Australia and for lower-skilled work. If you move, you should probably be prepared for taking a fairly considerable pay cut and not necessarily seeing that much of a drop (if any) in your living expenses. People do say that the difference is somewhat made up by disparity in cost of living and taxes, but I have not found this to be the case - in fact, both my living expenses and tax burden are markedly lower here in Australia. There's a reason so many Kiwis move here - NZ is a lovely country (I'm biased) but it becomes a bit less appealing when you realise that skilled university graduates there often earn about the same as a just-out-of-highschool Safeway worker does in Australia. It varies, of course, but I would give serious consideration to what your likely earning power in NZ would realistically be, and whether that's acceptable to you/whether living in NZ is worth it to you.
posted by lwb at 4:56 AM on October 12, 2009

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