Tips for preparing for a move overseas - in 2 years
August 10, 2020 6:10 PM   Subscribe

My daughter has 2 years of school left and after she has graduated we would love to move our lives from Australia to New Zealand. Although it's a while away, we are both excited and wondering if anyone who has moved countries has any advice on what they wish they had started getting organised 2 years in advance, if anything?

Some extra info:
- We have 2 pets that would come with us, and this is not a problem coming from Aus.
- I own my own home and haven't decided if I will sell or rent it out.
- My daughter might apply to study in NZ or plan to work for a year either by deferring or waiting to apply.
- I work in a marketing type role that will be easily transferable, but any advice on job hunting would be appreciated.
- Finding accommodation sounds like the hardest part as we have pets and securing a loan to buy a property might not be an option until I am established in a job.

We are just looking for ideas about what we can start researching or small steps we can taking toward such a big change.
posted by Youremyworld to Travel & Transportation around New Zealand (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Review tax laws! Omg a few days of research and work saves you so much headache when it comes to file cross border taxes. Are you keeping your money in the home country? Converting it all? Figure this out now.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 6:38 PM on August 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

I assume you’ve gone through the NZ government “migrate to NZ from Australia” page which lays out the major categories of concerns - retirement, tax, health benefits etc. If not I’d go through it - important considerations depending on how long you intend to stay in NZ and if you’ve achieved eligibility for pension in AU etc.

Consider what your long term goal is. Are you eventually going to try and get dual AU/NZ citizenship? Are you planning to retire there? This may change some of the issues you may need to deal with

Where in NZ? Obviously not as big as AU but like AU highly variable life styles, weather, and costs of living by location. Assume you’ve visited before? Your ability to get work in marketing may be more limited in outside larger cities but can you work remotely (even back to AU)? That may open up much more exciting non-city living options.

On the pets - I’d still make sure to review the NZ requirements in detail (cats / dogs). You are correct it should be easy(ish - rules can change and be interpreted) AU to NZ....but make sure none of the breed issues etc apply. Also consider if your pets will be in good shape to travel two years from now (that’s a significant period of time in any dog/cat’s life). Four /five hours in the hold (more if there are tarmac delays etc) is a stressful experience for any pet especially aging ones (moved my dog from the Cayman Islands to US - literally heard him barking like crazy in the hold from inside the cabin before engines were powered up on the tarmac....he was not the same for *weeks* afterwards.....and that was a 90 min flight to Miami)

Also yay you! Glad to see the trend is changing - so many AU based kiwi friends (especially in Victoria at the moment) talking about moving back. I’d tell you the absolute perfect beach town to move to....but I’m keeping it a secret until I retire there in case it fills up.....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:29 PM on August 10, 2020

Nothing to add to the above, except about selling/donating/discarding possessions. Unless you've already done at least once, most of the expats I've met or read posts from in the past 12 years of my being an expat said it took them far more time and effort than they anticipated. Three years prior to my leaving the US I did a possessions purge before moving to a new city. It made planning for the final purge easier and more accurate.
posted by Homer42 at 3:05 AM on August 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I moved from Australia to Canada 2.5 years ago. I think the biggest issues were deciding what to take and what to do with my house.

We stayed in an Airbnb for 2 months, so we didn't need to find a rental right away. I would recommend renting initially unless you are already familiar with the area so you have a better idea of what neighbourhoods you like. For home loans, most of the larger banks will require you to be in a job for at least 3 months and to have passed probation.

Gradually get rid of things you won't be taking with you, so you dont need to do it in a mad rush at the end. Also decide whether you really need the furniture or can buy something when you get over there. We got rid of all of our furniture and just shipped framed pictures and records. Everything else was packed in 4 large suitcases + carry on. It meant we didn't have to worry about whether furniture would fit when finding a place.

Also second looking at the tax laws. Australia passed a law last year so non tax residents need to pay capital gains on the full appreciation in value on real estate since purchase. This applies even if you are an Australian citizen. The 50% capital gains discount has also been removed on property for non tax residents. Not sure about capital gains on other investments.

As a non-resident, income tax rates also start at 32.5% from the first dollar earned, so make sure you factor that in when deciding whether to rent out your property.

Check whether you can leave your superannuation in your current fund. Some funds move you to a different option if you are not actively making contributions. There is an option to move your super to New Zealand if you move it to a KiwiSaver scheme.

Also see whether there are any requirements for exchanging your driver's licence. For example, whether you need to provide a copy of your driving record.
posted by Kris10_b at 4:28 PM on August 11, 2020

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