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Getting a Job

workingIf you haven’t arranged employment before you get here, you’ll need to have patience while you search for a job.

The New Zealand job market is quite different from most countries.

Businesses are small, with the average company employing between five and ten staff.

Positions can be more diverse and may require a wider range of skills than in your home country. They may also have a different job title to the one you are used to.

Careers New Zealand have some very practical advice about what to consider when you are moving to New Zealand and thinking about getting a job. They offer a useful indepth guide to finding work in the Kiwi job market.

They also have a jobs database which is useful for finding out your equivalent position in New Zealand, as well as giving background information for the industry and profiles of key employers.

New Zealand Now has information about jobs in New Zealand and areas of skill shortage . You’ll find useful information on the site about key employment sectors such as healthcare, engineering , and ICT , and how to get job-ready.

Where to look for a job

New Kiwis is an employment service specifically for new and potential migrants, so it pays to register with them either here or offshore, as well as with New Zealand Now if you are still in your home country.

Many positions are advertised online. TradeMe and Seek are good starting points, but there are many more sites listed on Careers New Zealand's job vacancy and recruitment sites page. Workhere is a website for offshore job seekers.

Some positions are filled without being advertised. This 'word of mouth' system of employment is the reason that it can be helpful to build a network of contacts as soon as possible.

Investigate some of the options on our meeting new people page, or consider starting with contract or temporary work. Some recruitment agencies specialise in "temping" or temporary and contract assignments. This option can give you "a foot in the door" which means that if an employer is familiar with you and your skills and abilities, this may give you an advantage over outside candidates if a job becomes available.

This option also can provide you with a reference from a Kiwi employer which can be an important advantage in future job applications. Volunteering can also be a good way of getting this local work experience.

Getting started

Make sure that you understand the process of writing a job application and completing an interview - this may be different here to your home country.

Careers New Zealand have also developed a quiz about some of the technical language in job advertisements and applications.

The more experience and qualifications you have, the better your chances of getting the type of work you want. However even well-qualified migrants can take several months to find a job they feel happy with, and you may have to move out of your specialist field. This can be hard for some, particularly as they adjust to the country at the same time.

The key to success may be to find work where you can, get used to the New Zealand workplace, build your experience and kiwi networks, then set about finding work that is closer to what you really want to do.

The Skill Matcher tool put together by Careers New Zealand can help you to identify jobs that are related to your skills or use your transferable skills.

Assessing a job offer

Once you have a job offer, check that you understand the details and language of the offer. An employer cannot offer you a job that doesn't comply with the law, so check the details if you are not sure. The offer must be made in writing, although it is common for the first offer to be made verbally, often on the telephone.

The Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment (MBIE) provides a range of employment related information covering legal requirements for areas such as employment contracts, wages and conditions, health and safety and holidays and leave. This information is also summarised on our Employment rights page.

Trade unions

Everyone has the right to join a union in their workplace. Check the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions website for information about a union in your industry

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Useful Links

  • New Kiwis – an online service connecting potential employers with new migrants in New Zealand.
  • Help in your language– if you’re not comfortable speaking English, settlement information is available in other languages. CAB Language Link is free, independent and confidential. Phone 0800 788 877. You can also contact this service through SSNZ.
  • Other Settlement services


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