Maybe you just filed your expression of interest (EOI) for the skilled migrant category and waiting to be selected. Or perhaps you are currently in the process of compiling your documents for residence visa. From EOI to the moment you set foot on New Zealand, the average waiting time is 1-2 years if everything falls into place. Use this time wisely to make your dream a reality by doing the following.
1. SAVE, SAVE and SAVE!
If you are bringing peso to New Zealand the exchange rate is definitely not in your favour. The more hard cash you can bring the easier your settlement will be. New Zealand is one of the most expensive countries in the world and everything from transportation, food and all your consumables will be thrice as much as back home. Moreover, job hunting costs money! You will be travelling extensively, using the internet, preparing for interviews and there are no guarantees if cash flow will continue during this period. Although I’ve seen the job market improving since the 2008-09 recession, some Filipinos still take 6 months or longer before landing a skilled job. Can you survive without money coming in for 6, 7,8 or 9 months? So it’s best to prepare for the worst case scenario and save as much moolah.
2. EXPAND YOUR SKILLSET
Think of yourself as a product that you are selling to potential employers. Pedro is a fantastic computer programmer in the Philippines but outside the IT industry, he is a worthless human being. On the other hand, Juan is a chef by profession but also a handyman that can do carpentry and plumbing. Juan is also a car enthusiast and likes fixing and maintaining cars as a hobby. Who do you think is likely to get sold – Juan or Pedro?
The point I am trying to make is simple — the bigger market you cater, the better your chances of landing a job. Another way to look at this is to ask yourself “What problem can I solve?” Most of the jobs in this world are created by problems and the more problems you can solve, the better.
While still in the Philippines, take a short course on software testing, hairdressing or coffee making to add to your list of skills. It may not be the job that gets you the permanent residency, but enough to land a “survival job” that gets you some cash flow as mentioned in number one.
3. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE COUNTRY
The whole point of immigration is to have people from overseas come in who will not only contribute economically, but also integrate into New Zealand society socially and culturally. How do you do this while still in the Philippines?
Listen to New Zealand radio and watch video clips of New Zealand TV on youtube. Look at their map. Play Rugby. Familiarise yourself with the accent. Read about New Zealand history, the Maoris, the Scots and the earlier settlers. Although kiwis are known travellers and very tolerant of other cultures, your goal should be to become a “new kiwi”. By nature, humans are attracted to others who are similar to them. This will pay dividends in the job hunt process later on.
4. RESEARCH YOUR INDUSTRY
Some people will tell you to apply for jobs while still in the Philippines. I say DON’T. What you will do is just a pointless exercise as most kiwi employers will not even consider you if you are not physically in the country. Not only that, some companies use job application software now so flooding your CV in every available vacancy might end you up in the spam bin and cause the system to block your name entirely.
What you can do before you arrive is list all the companies in your target industry. Visit their official websites. Find out who are the decision makers, how they make money, how they lose money, who their competitors are. Are they mentioned in the news? Conduct informational interviews of people working for the company through linkedin. These bits of information will come in handy when it is time for you to make your cover letter or appear before an interview. But DO NOT APPLY WHILE STILL IN THE PHILIPPINES. It will just be wasted effort.
5. GET FIT
This is often overlooked during the migration process. When you come to a new country, one of your biggest assets is your health. As the vitamin commercial would say Bawal Magkasakit. You have to prepare your body in perhaps the biggest stress you will ever experience in your life. You will be walking a lot because of unfamiliar surroundings. You might be forced to do physical labour jobs to earn some spare cash. Your body will adjust to cold weather you are not used to. In the event of getting sick, not only does it jeopardise your job hunt and residency aspirations, it will drain your finances severely as most likely you are not covered by the public health system yet. Exercise, eat healthy and perhaps take travel insurance at least for the first 6 months when you arrive.