New Zealand is a beautiful country in the South Pacific. Two main islands and many other much smaller ones make up this country with volcanoes and glaciers in both islands. Wellington, the capital, is on the North Island. It is about 900 miles East of Australia. The population of New Zealand is estimated to be around 4.5 million in 2015.
Foreigners find New Zealand a popular place to work and live owing to the abundant opportunities, good pay and a high standard of living. The beauty of the land, the friendliness of the people and low crime rates also play a significant role in making New Zealand a mecca for many foreign workers
Opportunities for Skilled Workers
Although, finding a job anywhere in the world can be challenging, but having the right type of occupation, qualifications, work experience, and level of English language ability, certainly increases the likelihood of securing employment in New Zealand; particularly if you work within the field of Engineering. The job hunting process is pretty much ‘fail safe’ if you meet an employer’s criteria, it is the visa application process that can make or break your future in New Zealand. Immigration law and policy in New Zealand continues to become more stringent, and applicants are now required to meet a higher standard criteria:
You must possess proficiency in the English language (oral, written, and comprehensive); and your qualifications must meet the framework criteria of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), a governing body which assesses whether or not national and international qualifications are credible and robust.This is a requirement for most jobs in New Zealand.
There is also a registration process with the relevant professional bodies. Occupations within engineering, architecture, electrical, etc. will require registration/licensing in New Zealand. An assessment of your professional qualification(s) will be made, which may entail undertaking examinations, and re-training.
Skills Shortages in New Zealand
Since the early ‘90s, the New Zealand employment market has improved steadily. The economic recession during the ‘90s led to an unemployment record of 11%, many businesses shut down as a result of this downturn. However, since then, unemployment rates have decreased. In February 2005, New Zealand had a 3.6% unemployment figure. Engineering, accountancy, and IT are areas where there has almost always been a shortage of skilled workers.
There is a chronic shortage of engineers in many areas. Some of the engineering disciplines or areas that experience shortages most of the time are:
• Civil/Structural Engineering
• Electrical/Electronic Engineering
• Automotive Engineering
• Building Services Engineering
• Aerospace Engineering
• Chemical Engineering
• Environmental Engineering
• Engineering Drafting
• Materials Handling Engineering • Industrial Engineering
• Mechanical Engineering
• Process Engineering
• Project Management
• Systems Engineering
• Water & Waste Engineering
How to Look for an Engineering Job in New Zealand
In the case of senior engineers who will occupy executive positions, recruitment consultants will be involved in this type of hiring. Some companies will also use ‘head hunters’ to source the best engineers that qualify to work and live in New Zealand. This means that you will need to position yourself appropriately and market yourself effectively.
For engineers who are not at senior level positions, job opportunities can be found online via New Zealand’s favourite job- hunting websites such as:
• ipenz.org.nz: This is the site where you find vacancies exclusively for engineers willing and qualified to work in New Zealand
• jobs.govt.nz : Advertises for public sector jobs
• kiwicareers.govt.nz : A very comprehensive site with numerous job vacancies as well as relevant advice on the labor market and elaborate information on various industries in New Zealand
• itfutures.co.nz : For IT professionals
• qube.co.nz : For IT professionals
• sabrenz.co.nz : For IT professionals
• CareerJet.co.nz : This is the local arm of CareerJet.com
• trademe.co.nz : Another of the leading job hunting sites
• seek.co.nz : One of main job search engines in New Zealand
• nz.indeed.com : The local version of the US based Indeed.com, a site for job hunters
Important Steps in your Job Search
New Zealand employment practices may differ slightly or significantly depending on where in the world you are from. Here are the main steps you need to take when searching for engineering jobs in New Zealand:
1. Collect as much information as you can on engineering jobs in New Zealand
Information: Here, you will need to amass as much information about the kind of job you are searching for in New Zealand. It is an important step. Immigration to New Zealand could beckon and you may have to make some significant changes that may be life changing, and within a short notice period. It is from this information that you will find out if the job you are looking for will be the same as the job you will leave behind.
Ask around: Talk to people in similar positions in New Zealand to gain different perspectives. Talking to such people may also have some useful information on the job market, working conditions and pay packages. Read from online resources about working and living in the country.
Available opportunities: Job vacancies will vary from region to region and online resources will come in handy on this one.
Living preferences: Apart from the regional spread of vacancies, you will need to
consider whether you want to live in the cities, small towns or in the countryside.
2. The Job Search: here, you will scour all the relevant sites for a job that is in line with your qualifications. This could be a long drawn process that can takes months - possibly even a year or so; you will need to be patient. Sign up with reputable recruitment agencies and contact employers directly. You will then have a shortlist of positions you can apply for.
Update your CV, and tailor it to the requirements of the employers in New Zealand, and the engineering jobs in New Zealand. Show your qualifications appropriately and list your skills. Be specific and as detailed as possible. Attach your certificates and make sure that your CV does not exceed 3 pages. Have it proof-read by a professional resume writer - he/ she will need to check grammar, spelling, structure etc. Always include a cover letter and have it proof-read as well.
Prepare for interviews and practice. Use sample questions and answers regarding your profession. You can practice with your peers for confidence building. If your application successful, the employer might ask to interview you via Skype, or request that you visit New Zealand for a face-to-face interview.
3. Job offers and commencement of work: if you secure a job offer you can then, begin planning your move to New Zealand (e.g. logistics of transporting furniture).
Immigration to New Zealand
As noted earlier, it is not the lack of employment opportunities in New Zealand that should worry you, but the stringent requirements that you will need to meet to be allowed to work in New Zealand.
You will in most cases need to have a job offer to apply for a visa. The process of applying for a visa is complex, with numerous visa categories under which one might qualify.
There are different types of visas for people seeking employment opportunities in New Zealand. Each has its own application procedures.
This type of visa allows you to indefinitely live and work in New Zealand. You will have a significant access to services that are publicly funded. Under this type, you have two categories of visas:
The Skilled migrant Category: this one is purely points based and it factors in points for your age (you should not be older than 56 years old), qualifications, work experience, NZ job offer or current NZ employment, character, English language ability, health, etc. This visa is ideal for people who are in skilled occupations.
Work to Residence visa: a significant number of engineers use this category to enhance
their chances of obtaining permanent residence in New Zealand. However, the road to residence via this category is a long one: before an applicant can apply for residence under this category, he/she will need to work for their NZ employer for a minimum of two years. To be eligible:
To have been working in New Zealand for a period that is not less than 24 months on a Work to Residence Visa.
To be in good health and be of good character
To provide proof that your background is English speaking or alternatively, have in possession a Level 5 IELTS Certificate.
There is also the requirement that you meet the conditions of either of the following pathways:
Accredited Employer work visa: here you are allowed to apply for a residence class visa through the Accredited Employers under the Residence from Work Category.
Long Term Skill Shortage List work visa: under this category you are allowed to apply for residency if you had been granted a temporary work visa that allowed you to work for a New Zealand employer.
Work visas fall under this category, and grant you entrance into New Zealand to live and work for a specific period of time. Under this type, you have two categories:
• Work visa: allows you only a temporary stay which will depend on the labor market conditions and the terms of your employment offer.
• Working holiday visa: enable visa holders to travel, holiday and work in New Zealand - all at the same time! If you want to continue building your engineering career, as you travel, then this might be a great option for you. New Zealand has Working Holiday Schemes with various countries. If you are a citizen (i.e. passport holder) of one of these countries, and meet the Working Holiday Visa Scheme requirements, you might be eligible to work and travel in New Zealand under this visa category.
New Zealand is a thriving nation that is known for its beautiful natural environment, friendly people, and secure lifestyle. Whether you are interested in living and working in New Zealand permanently, or temporarily - it is a land of great opportunities for the persistent - and the skilled!
For more information on your individual immigration pathway(s) to and employment opportunities in New Zealand, email: firstname.lastname@example.org