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How to find a job

Useful tips and information which may help you to find employment in New Zealand and apply for a work visa


We often receive questions about finding a job in New Zealand, the process of job search and getting a New Zealand Work Visa. The most popular are:

  • «Is it possible to find a job in New Zealand from overseas?»
  • «How easy is it to find a job after studying in New Zealand»
  • «What kind of salary can I expect, will it be enough to qualify me for residency?»

We would like to underline that no one can guarantee you a job, no matter what advertising articles may tell you. New Zealand is not that much different from other countries and finding a first job is always a struggle. Migrants often see themselves somewhat disadvantaged by lack of local experience or insufficient language skills. Nevertheless, as our experience shows, anything is possible as long as you keep trying and believe in yourself.


To be able to work, you must have a work visa, resident visa or a New Zealand citizenship. And to get one of these, you need to find a job in New Zealand. Sounds a bit like a Catch-22, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, securing an offer remotely is extremely difficult and very unlikely, even if you are good in your field of work. For this reason, most people come to New Zealand to study and look for work onshore to increase their chances of staying in the country. In some cases, students have the right to work part-time, which not only helps the budget, but also assists with job hunting and interviews.

There are rules for obtaining work visas after the completion of New Zealand-based training, you can read more about visa types on our website. The next step after securing a job and a work visa is residence – the visa which will allow you to stay in New Zealand indefinitely. In August 2017 Immigration New Zealand  announced changes to residence instructions which introduced the minimum wage threshold which is currently $27 per hour (as of August 2021). For some occupations this can be difficult, but is still a possible task. It is possible to apply for a work visa with any salary (at or above minimum wage), the salary normally affects your visa duration. Thus, when applying for Essential Skills visa your visa duration will be:

  • 2 years if you earn below $27 per hour
  • 3 years if you earn $27 per hour or above


The most common way to find a job is to browse the websites:

  • and – are the most popular websites for job search.
  • and – websites for foreign applicants. Employers who post jobs on these websites are usually familiar with the process of hiring a foreign specialist.
  • – excellent resource for a job search if you have just graduated and do not have much work experience.
  • – here you will find job ads for current students
  • Facebook groups – here you will find ads from local businesses

You can also contact a recruiting company. There is a large number of them in New Zealand and services for applicants are free of charge. On the Careers New Zealand website you will find a detailed list of such agencies. You can work with more than one company. The labour market in New Zealand is small and it is important to remember who you contacted about work, when and what exactly was said.


Finding your first job is always the hardest task. Therefore, we advise you to do any work while you are studying and at the same time look for the job of your dreams. This applies to all professions without exception. Do not limit your search and be open to new experiences and not be afraid of lower-skilled work. We do not know any employer who would cross out your CV because you, an engineer, have worked part-time in a restaurant or at a construction site. Contrary, this will most likely be seen as initiative and hard work. Such qualities are valued in any career field.

Try Volunteering. New Zealanders  appreciate helping the community, whether it is participating in beach cleaning, taking SPCA dogs for a walk or volunteering at Salvation Army. In addition, you will make new acquaintances and will gain invaluable life experience, as well as very useful recommendations for employment.

Also, there are agencies who can help you with employment, such as:

These companies help migrants and New Zealanders who have returned to the country after a long absence. Their seminars last for 3 days and participation is absolutely free, you only need to register on the website. Training is conducted by highly qualified specialists who will teach you:

  • how to develop an effective strategy for a job search
  • how to write a professional resume
  • how to correctly answer questions during an interview

We want to note that this is not just lectures and theoretical knowledge. They will work with you individually, answer all your questions, you will pass a trial interview where you will be given feedback and will work on the correct model of behaviour. After completion of this seminar, you will have an opportunity to meet with your mentor in a few weeks and analyze how the job search is going.

In our personal experience, we find that employers look at the applicant’s credentials in the following order:

  • Visa. This is the first screening point. Most employers do not want to deal with visa issues, so they are looking for people with work rights. We recommend that you let your prospective know that you work with an Immigration Adviser who will help you get the visa quickly.
  • Local experience and recommendations. New Zealand employers want to be sure that a person will be able to work in the local environment, that they have already passed the adaptation stage and are ready to work. Therefore, we strongly recommend that our students seek work or volunteer for the duration of their studies. This helps a lot not only financially and psychologically, but also increases the chances of finding a permanent position in the future.
  • Professional skills. Opening positions in the company, employers want to see a person with certain clear skills. It is the availability of these skills and their correct formulation in your resume that will help to tip the scales in your direction.
  • Foreign work experience. Of course, the knowledge and experience gained in your country will always remain with you and can play a positive role in finding a new job. Not all knowledge will be relevant and useful, but nevertheless. If you have experience working for international companies or participating in international projects, the better it is for you.
  • Personal qualities. In New Zealand, communication and personalities play a big role. Managers prefer to hire employees, with whom, in their opinion, it will be more comfortable for them to work. Thus, it is very important to be able to position yourself as a team player, even if you are a niche specialist. Most likely, you will work within a team and your ability to do so will be taken into account.
  • Education reputation. If it comes to this point, a person who graduated from an Ivy League university would most likely be preferred to someone who had their qualification granted by a private university.

And only with all other data being equal with your competitors, in sixth place, the employer may look at the prestige of your education. And, perhaps, give preference to the qualification that is more highly ranked in New Zealand and in the world. In areas of the academic, scientific, medical, engineering and some other fields, the prestige of education will play a much more important role than others.


The level you study at and the subjects you choose can strongly affect your income. Ministry of Education* research shows that higher qualifications usually lead to higher earnings. The current minimum wage rates (before tax) are as at 1 April 2018 and apply to employees aged 16 years or over:

Type of minimum wage   Per hour   8 hour day   40 hour week   80 hour fortnight
Adult   $20   $160   $800   $1600
Starting-out   $16   $128   $640   $1280
Training   $16   $128   $640   $1280


Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for every hour worked.

Careers website suggests that in five years after qualifying, graduates in the majority of subject areas usually earn at least the median (middle) New Zealand income.

The effect of qualifications on earnings is stronger for graduates with 10 years’ work experience:

  • Level 1 to 4 certificates – 15% more than the median income
  • Level 5 to 7 certificates and diplomas – 30% more than the median income
  • Bachelor’s degrees – 67% more than the median income
  • Postgraduate qualifications (Level 7 and 8 graduate certificates and diplomas, and Honours and Master’s degrees) – 95% more than the median income
  • PhDs (doctorates) – 130% more than the median income.

Subject choice affects income

Subject choice can also have a big effect on your income. Median incomes after 10 years for Level 5 to 7 certificate and diploma graduates in:

  • performing arts and personal services – $34,500 a year
  • civil, mechanical, aerospace and industrial engineering – $73,000 to $86,000

Median incomes after 10 years for Bachelor’s degree graduates in:

  • visual arts and crafts and performing arts – $43,000 a year
  • law, accountancy, banking and management, computer science and information technology and veterinary – $78,000 to $88,000
  • dental studies – $95,000
  • medical studies – $124,000.

Ministry of Education website – find out more about the graduate earnings study

Compare Study Options tool – check graduate earnings for New Zealand courses



We would like to emphasize that we are trying our best to help our clients with access to all the necessary information. For some, it will be more difficult, for someone else a little easier. Remember that the whole process of the job search is in your hands. Our clients’ experience says that those who are determined will achieve their goals. Don’t get us wrong – we know that immigration is not easy, but we want to assure you that everything is possible if you have a good plan and constantly work on it.

We wish success to all our customers without exception, sincerely worrying for every single incident that may occur. So we try to collect the maximum of useful and important information for you, on how to live comfortably and successfully in New Zealand.