Category Archives: Immigration

5 ways to survive the New Zealand Winter


On the month of June each year, the winter season in New Zealand begins. It will last until September 1st when spring officially kicks in. For most Filipinos and other nationalities that come from tropical climates, it can be a hard adjustment. But here are some tips I would recommend to make it easier:


The first time I arrived in New Zealand was actually winter season and my mistake during that time was to bring “ukay ukay” jackets to use. Wrong move. Most of them were useless against the Kiwi cold. What you need are “fleece” jackets as what they call them here. I would recommend going for the Merino wool variety which are soft, thin and lightweight but packs in the warmth.

If you are heading for places in the South Island, it is imperative to layer your clothes – perhaps starting with a thermal underwear, your regular clothes as a second layer, a soft shell jacket as the third layer, and perhaps a duck down jacket or a gore-tex jacket (for rain) as your outer layer. If you are walking regularly through snow, it would be ideal to get heavy thermal socks and waterproof boots.

Take note even if you are indoors, you might need long sleeve jerseys and jogging pants to let you sleep properly at night.

These winter clothing do not come cheap. However, I do not suggest you scrimp on them as bad gear might get you sick which would be more costly in the long run. One way to find cheaper options is by going to a local hospice shop (the NZ version of the ukay ukay) or buying online though Trade Me. If you are buying brand new, some of the Kiwi stores I recommend are Kathmandu, Macpac, or Ice Breaker. Just wait for their occasional sales, usually near New Zealand public holidays and NEVER buy full price.


When the cold months kick in, your chances of getting the infamous New Zealand “bug” (the kiwi term for virus) increases ten fold. If you get stricken, you can be shut down from work for up to 2 weeks and spread misery to the rest of your household. So in order to prevent this, it is advised to get a flu shot from your GP (General Practitioner – the term for family doctor here) or local “chemist” (pharmacy). Cost would be minimal or free in certain situations. Getting enough sleep, eating fruits and vegetables or perhaps taking a multivitamin would be other ways of strengthening your immune system.


Although living in a house you choose might be difficult in certain places particularly in Auckland, your overall health and well-being can be decided by your place of shelter. Steer clear of a “leaky home” if possible. The NZ Ministry of Business lists down the tell-tale signs of one. If you are already living in one, using a dehumidifier might be your best friend to somewhat remedy it. Not only is this cheaper to run, but it is healthier option than using conventional heaters. To save electricity, heat or dehumidify yourself in a single room instead of the whole house.


On winter days, most of us tend to lock ourselves indoors and be a couch potato. This will probably set you up for depression or “winter blues” as they call them. It is recommended that you get sunshine as much as you can. You have options of going skiing, running or even brisk walking provided you follow number one as above. You can also sign up for a local gym if doing outdoor activities are unbearable. Exercise will help inject endorphins to your brain, sending positive vibes to the whole body.


Why not take a break? This is what I usually do. During winter months in my experience it is usually cheap to get airfares to go to the other side of the world. USA, Canada and most of Europe are experiencing summer. Other options are nearby pacific islands like Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu or Rarotonga. The warm weather will certainly help you relax even if it’s only a couple of weeks.




What the latest immigration changes mean to the Kiwinoy hopeful

immigration change
Many saw the immigration changes as a political move by the National party to gain votes in the upcoming election

Last week, the government announced major changes to the skilled migration eligibility by putting in place salary thresholds to decide whether you are “skilled” or not.

Under the new policy, those earning below $48,859 a year will no longer be considered “skilled” regardless of job description. However, if you are earning above $73,299, you will automatically be considered “highly skilled” even if your job is cleaning toilets.

Immigration NZ will also remove the ability of temporary work visa holders to bring in partners unless they qualify themselves.

A three-year limit would be placed on temporary Essential Skills visa holders earning below the threshold while seasonal work visas changes would see those issued for a season rather than a full 12 months.

These will impact the Filipino immigrant in the following ways:

1. Entry via the student visa would become extremely difficult, if not impossible

To many Filipinos coming here as students, there is a big upfront cost. Without the prospect of gaining residency, the numbers would sure to drop in the coming years. The changes are tilted towards the mature qualified post graduates, away from the young undergrads which is what is happening today. This would be the death knell of the dodgy private schools or PTEs as we know it.

For you to make it to 160 points, the Filipino student should gun for Masters or Phds in top-ranking universities like Auckland or Otago University. This move not only costs more but entry into graduate programs are more stringent. It goes without saying that you should specialise in areas that are in demand.

2. Most foreign workers in the low wage sectors would just be disposable workers or “OFW forever”

The bulk of Filipinos in New Zealand are those working in the Hospitality Industry as Chefs, caregivers in rest homes, and farm hands. They hold temporary work visas and most would be shut off from ever gaining residency — except those covered by the one-off “South Island contribution visa.

What this means is that people working in this sector should aspire for management roles such as becoming a Head Chef, Healthcare Centre Manager or Farm Manager. The magic number you are looking at is earning $24 per hour and in reality, not a lot of small businesses in New Zealand can pay such amount unless you put on added responsibility.

If you are given the maximum stay of a three year visa, remember this will be followed by a “minimum stand down period” before becoming eligible to reapply for another temporary visa so you have to act fast.

3. The wise will only target high paying jobs or high paying companies

 If you are still strategising your way into New Zealand, there is no other way now as it had become a question of salary above anything else.

According to Careers NZ, the jobs with the highest median salaries (as of 2015) are the following:

  • Doctors/specialists – 207k
  • IT systems architect – 125k
  • IT project manager – 115k
  • IT consultant – 105k
  • IT sales – 105k
  • Engineering manager – 105k
  • Bank, Finance and insurance manager – 100k
  • Finance manager – 97k
  • Energy Engineer – 95k
  • Lawyer – 95k
  • Commerical Real Estate Agent – 95k
  • Corporate banker – 95k
  • Marketing, media and communications manager – 95k
  • Construction project manager – 90k

Even if you are still in the Philippines or in a third country like Singapore, Japan or Korea, you can gain qualifications and experience in these areas and work your way up. Another possibility you can explore are working in multinational companies with offices in New Zealand. Like all good things, it is a process and you should be ready if the goal posts would move again in the future.


Why the Silver Fern Visa is the best pathway today


Due to the recent changes to the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), the Silver Fern Visa is perhaps the quickest pathway to enter New Zealand and gain a visa to allow you to legally look for a job, provided you have the skills that the country wants.

This visa targets the 28-35 age group, which I believe is the perfect time to hit the “reset” button to one’s career. If you come too early, you might not have the necessary skillset and experience. If you come too late, then the opportunity for you to pivot and adapt to a different career or industry historically lessens as you approach middle age.

The average processing time of this visa is around 25 days, wherein you will provide evidence of your health, character, qualifications and work experience. This is relatively fast compared to the conventional path of the SMC which has around a one year wait before you could even set foot to the country.

Once you are issued with a Silver Fern Visa, you are now given 9 months to look for the skilled job that matches your experience and qualifications. If all the stars align and you get a job offer, you can eventually lodge your residence onshore, which again will be easier and faster than doing it offshore. The new threshold of 160 points is already unreachable for most people, at least with a Silver Fern you are inside the country, be able to earn NZ dollars and can begin to explore your options. Some Filipinos go through the long and complicated process of SMC only to find out once they are here, they cannot find a job in their profession.

For me, the advantage of going through this process is you get to enter the country relatively quickly, throw your hat in the ring and be able to gauge yourself against the New Zealand job market without spending a lot of money. (Read related: The truth about student visas) This is also different from the working holiday visa as you are not limited to only 3 months work.

I would say once you hit the 6th month of your visa, you will already be able to tell if New Zealand is really for you and your family. You will be exposed to the climate, housing, and culture to the level that ordinary tourists wouldn’t. What some smart Filipinos do is to file a long leave with their existing company in the Philippines (if you can) to mitigate the risks of failing to land a skilled job. Sabi nila, at least may Plan B at babalikan ka pa.

In the end, there is no point staying in a country if you cannot gain long-term employment that will pay for your needs and wants, so the Silver Fern is just the perfect avenue to put yourself in that position. If you return to the Philippines after your trip, you can treat it as a reconnaissance mission and possibly try again later using a different pathway. But it is not a losing cause – you gain more knowledge about the country because there are some stuff you will only find out once you are physically here instead of only reading about it on the internet.

Interested? Make sure you apply using fast broadband internet as visa applications open online on November 3 at 5am Manila Time (10am NZ Time). Have your Visa/Mastercard credit/debit card ready for around a P10,140 peso swipe (subject to change). The 300 slots are filled within seconds.

Addendum: For restricted occupations like nurses, you need to secure New Zealand registration first BEFORE applying for this visa.

Implications of latest policy changes

Last October 11, Immigration New Zealand implemented radical changes to the Skilled Migrant Category, Parent Category and the way it evaluates its English Language requirements. If you have been invited to apply prior to this date, the old rules will still apply to you. If not and interested to apply for residency, read on to learn how this affects you.

The biggest change is the selection of EOIs of only 160 points or more, which was raised from the previous 140 points. What this means is essentially pulling the plug on the residence hope of most international students, which had been flooding the New Zealand job market in recent years. Everybody saw this coming when Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said this on live TV. From a policy standpoint, what I see the NZ government is doing is essentially raising the bar for its skilled intake and only allowing immigrants who will not only pay more in tax money than the average Kiwi, but not compete with the locals for low to medium skilled labour. There is also mounting political pressure to decongest Auckland due to the housing crisis.

This is a profile of an individual or family with above 160 points:

  • 10 years or more of work experience in an area of government identified shortage
  • A recognised graduate or post graduate qualification related to the above
  • A skilled New Zealand job offer outside of Auckland (annual salary of 70k or above would indicate the level of skill)
  • Perhaps a partner who also works and passes the English requirement

If you fall to the above criteria then I don’t see any problem gaining residence if the paperwork is right. If you don’t, the only way around it would be to gain more experience in a comparative labour market, or gain higher qualifications. I will discuss this later on a separate article.

As for the English language requirement, Immigration NZ from October 12 would only accept IELTS score of 6.5 above on all bands (nurses and other professions might need higher) – reading, speaking, writing and listening. They’ve also added other alternatives like TOEFL and similar English tests. When I applied for residency eight years ago, I only presented my certificate of medium of instruction from UP Diliman. This has changed.

Frankly if you fall in the profile I mentioned above, I don’t see anyone not getting this score. I would recommend taking this test before lodging your EOI. You can review and retake it in case you fail to reach the minimum points. Please note there is an expiry of these certifications so time it accordingly.

For stopping the parent category, it is quite understandable from the position of the NZ government as most of these older folks coming into NZ contribute nothing economically and puts a serious strain to the public health system. Family reunification has been one of the values of Kiwi society but the current economic climate warrants this temporary halt.






How to enter New Zealand as a Filipino


Since I started this blog, I have been asked several times about the different pathways to legally enter New Zealand. I would like to begin that all information is on the official immigration website and what I will enumerate is a mere summary of the most common pathways that Filipinos take to START living and working in New Zealand. Please note that this is not immigration advice but a bird’s eyeview of the NZ immigration system as of this date, and is subject to change anytime.

1. Skilled Migrant Category Residence Visa

This is the “ultimate end goal” among Filipinos 55 years old and under, wanting to live and work in New Zealand. It works on a points-based system based on your age, qualifications, work experience and skilled job offer. It goes without saying that you must be healthy, have no criminal convictions and fluent in English. This is a process that normally takes anywhere between 1-2 years from Expression of Interest to the stamping of your resident visa on your passport.

2. Essential Skills Work Visa

If you have the skills that New Zealand needs and your employer proves to immigration that no kiwi is available to do the job then you might be entitled to get this visa. You will undergo a process called “labour market testing” except for accredited employers authorised by immigration. Karamihan sa mga kababayan natin na nagtatrabaho sa Christchurch rebuild ay ito ang way of entry.

3. Student Visa

Contrary to what immigration advisers might say, this is the most expensive and riskiest visa to take as I explained before.  This is the option most Filipinos presently take if they don’t qualify for the points threshold of a Resident Visa. It allows you to work part time for 20 hours every week and full-time during school breaks. With this visa, you take a course to study and depending on the level you MIGHT be eligible for a Post Study Work Visa to allow you to stay in the country and look for work. But make sure you have loads of money upwards of 1 million pesos (that you might not recoup) if you decide to take this route.

4. Silver Fern Job Search Visa

For highly skilled young people (20-35 years old) wanting to come in and look for work. There is a quota of 300 slots each year so you have to get in quick. This is a better option than entering via Student Visa in my opinion.

5. Working Holiday Visa

A recent new visa for Filipinos, aged 18-30 to allow you to work 3 months for a single employer. For this reason, this is a good option only if your primary reason is tour and see the country. Nonetheless, it allows you to enter the country and legally seek work.

6. Work Visa based on partnership

Take note there is no fiance visa like in the US. A certificate of marriage wouldn’t suffice either. Ideally, you have to be living with your partner (can be a same boy or a girl) for 12 months or more before applying for this visa, and there are enough documents to prove financial interdependence (e.g. joint bank accounts, tenancy agreement, etc.) to be eligible for this visa. So searching dating sites for a kiwi boyfriend or girlfriend is a no go.

7. Visitor Visa

There are some incredible stories from Filipinos who were on a visitor visa but were able to get a job and permanent residence but these are VERY RARE, usually coming from the older crowd who arrived pre-2000. Still, getting a visitor visa is a relatively low risk move to allow you to see the country and possibly meet employers without spending heaps of cash. But at the end of the day, you would still need a work visa as above to sign and take a job offer.

8. Enterpreneur Work Visa

I haven’t met a Filipino who went via this route. In case you’re interested, you need at least $100,000 NZD or 3.5M pesos to invest and start a business here.

There you go. As you can see, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to starting your New Zealand dream. What works for Pedro will not necessarily work for Juan. But in the end, take responsibility for your own actions and not play the “victim card” when things don’t go your way. Do your own research that applies to your own situation and take that calculated risk.

The Truth about Student Visas

Due to immigration rules tightening, many Filipinos are now opting to study in New Zealand. In fact, latest official figures showed that the Philippines is leading with a 72% increase of student visa arrivals from the previous year.

It seems that the recent upsurge had been caused by some dodgy agents in the country advertising the student visa as a relatively “easy” pathway or simply by people who jumped on the bandwagon without doing their homework.

Example of a deceptive Filipino consultant advertising their “Study in NZ” services on Facebook

Of course, student visa as an “easy” pathway is very far from the truth. Remember that when you apply for a student visa you sign on a piece of paper that your “statement of purpose” is to study and leave the country when your visa expires.

Immigration NZ nor the NZ government does not promise or guarantee any jobs, more so permanent residency when you decide to go down the student visa path. You are allowed to study, in some cases work part-time, but at the end of the day, the agreement is that you pack your bags once your study is over. This is all written in black and white.

Pero sa hirap ng buhay sa atin, some pinoys do take their chances and hop on a plane to study with a hope of securing work, any work, which in the case of NZ does not apply. This is quite different from the Middle East or Singapore in that if your objective is permanent residency, it has to be skilled work that is in line with your experience and field of study and that New Zealand has a demand for those skills.

In other words, you have to bring something special to the table before they let you in. No Mcdo managers, factory hands, call center agents or kitchen staff because they have plenty of those people already.

They say “no guts, no glory.” And I agree. Despite all the gloom and doom in the global economy nowadays I still think the rewards outweigh the risks in taking such endeavor. But you also need to assess your odds and prepare accordingly to increase your chances of success.

studying in nz

First, the student visa would be the costliest pathway one can take and you need to be financially prepared. Conservatively, you will be spending over 1 million pesos per year in tuition fees and living costs. Remember that no amount of part-time work (limited to 20 hours per week) will be able to sustain yourself in NZ. If you have to borrow this amount of money, it will take years to recoup even if you end up finding a NZ job.

Secondly, you need to choose a field of study that has to be in an area of your specialization already. Case in point – no sense taking a business course when your undergraduate degree is nursing and you are looking for nursing job.

Third and finally, the skills has to be there for you to compete in the present job market. The course that you will study is just an “icing on the cake” that will let you inside the country so you can job hunt. But in the final analysis, the offer will only come if you can truly add value to the company you are applying for. Frankly, how many comes out of college and be able to hit the ground running? Real skills takes several years to develop, and that’s why Kiwi employers value experience over degrees. It is also important to note that less than 15% of Kiwis hold university degrees and this is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of them learned on the job and have worked their way up. Practicality and improvisation is inherent in Kiwi culture and oftentimes classroom “theories” are dismissed. To learn more, read about the term “number 8 wire” and its origins.

Academic achievement is not highly valued here (unlike the UK or US) and that is why I have reservations on recommending the student visa path. But if you have money to burn and game for adventure then taking the plunge is definitely worth it.

Why the Working Holiday Visa is nothing more than a money making scheme


In less than 24 hours, 100 places will again open for young Filipinos wanting to stay in New Zealand for 12 months. More information about the requirements can be found here.

There had been recent excitement over New Zealand Immigration offering the Working Holiday Visa to Filipino Citizens and some even claim that this is the “easiest pathway” to New Zealand.

However, it is important to note that this is a TEMPORARY visa and the expectation is that you will RETURN to the Philippines once the visa period ceases.

There are three major caveats with regard to this visa:

  1. The target age group of this visa of 18-30 years old is also the group of people with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Government estimates 20% or 1 out of 5 young kiwis have no jobs. Being allowed to work is one thing but actually securing work is another thing.
  2. Part-time, fixed-term work is hard to find. Usually 3 months temporary work can be found in far-flung farms doing fruit-picking and other labour intensive jobs. Not only is it back breaking work, but it is usually paid minimum wage of $14.75 per hour (or $12 after tax) that is not enough to sustain your living costs here.
  3. Immigration requires that you need to have $4,200 to meet your living costs. But as above, if you are unable to find a job, there is no way you are living here with that sort of money. I would say you need to have at least $200/week to survive in the city centres. Multiply that 52 weeks in one year and you would need $10,400 (around P331,000) for the whole duration of your visa. The present reality is that there are heaps of long-term unemployed in New Zealand (some spanning multiple years) living off taxpayer subsidies. Look into the jobs and careers section of the Trade Me forums and there is plenty of discussion about that.

Knowing these facts, the working holiday visa would be more suited for someone who is:

  1. Boy/girl with wealthy parents who can finance their holiday.
  2. Those seeking first world training and a bit of overseas experience and then come back to the Philippines to use this to benefit their careers.
  3. Those who can avail of free accommodation from relatives/friends and spend this time for reunion and bonding.

If you are looking to stay permanently in New Zealand and have the skills that New Zealand wants, you better be looking at the Silver Fern Visa or the Residence Visa – Skilled Migrant Category.

The working holiday visa is called as such because it is really meant for young people doing their holiday with a chance to earn a bit of money on the side if they are lucky. If you are to apply for a work permit after your visa expires, you will go under the same tedious process (i.e. proving that there is no Kiwi for the role) like everyone else but not on equal footing, as you have already spent heaps after one year.

Truth be told, this is actually an opportunity for New Zealand not only to boost their tourism revenue but also supply the remote, low populated regions with cheap, youthful and energetic labour on a seasonal basis.






Find out if your skill is “in demand” in 10 seconds

In a previous post, I’ve warned to be wary of NZ’s “skill shortage” lists. Sa panimula, magandang malaman ito sapagkat ito ang basehan ng immigration para bigyan kayo ng “bonus points” upang madagdagan ang inyong tsansang mapili sa EOI pool – ang unang hakbang tungo sa NZ residency.

Pero malungkot man sabihin, madami sa kababayan natin ang naliligaw ng landas sapagkat pagdating nila sa NZ, ang sinasabing “skill shortage” ay hindi pala totoo kapag nagsimula na silang maghanap ng trabaho.

Dapat natin tandaan na ang mga trabaho para sa migrante ay hindi nanggagaling sa gobyerno kung hindi sa mga pribadong kumpanya base sa demand for goods and services.

Mahalagang maintindihan na ang service sector ng New Zealand ang bumubuo sa 63% ng kabuuang ekonomiya nito – HINDI manufacturing o primary industry (gatas at agrikultura) na madalas ma-associate natin sa isang bansa katulad ng New Zealand.

Snapshot of the Economic sectors from Statistics NZ

In the bigger scheme of things, kahit pasok ka pa sa immigration points at mabigyan ng visa, sa huli, ang trabaho na naaayon sa iyong karunungan at karanasan ang magbibigay sa inyo ng kabuhayan at overall satisfaction sa pag settle.

Gawin ang apat na hakbang ito para malaman simula’t sapul kung ang inyong trabaho or skills ay “in demand” sa New Zealand:

  1. Pumunta sa, ang leading job website ng mga kiwi.
  2. Ilagay sa “keywords” ang inyong major job title, alternative job titles or di kaya core skills. Halimbawa sa ibaba, pwede i-type ang “network administrator” o kaya “systems administrator”. Pwede rin i-specify ang mga associated keywords/buzzwords sa inyong industriya tulad ng “cisco” or “sharepoint.”
  3. Click “more options” at i-tick ang “full time” sa work type sapagkat ito ang requirement ng immigration sa pag approve ng residency then click “Seek.”
  4. Kung may lalabas sa search results na sampo o pataas na bilang ng full-time, permanent vacancies sa buong New Zealand, congratulations dahil masasabi mo na maganda ang pagasa mo makahanap ng trabaho dito.Kung hindi naman, huwag malungkot dahil at least hindi ka magsasayang ng oras at limpak limpak na salapi para lang mauwi sa wala ang pagpunta mo dito.

    Pwede ka mag-aral ulit, mag upskill at maghanap ng career alternatives na mas aayon sa New Zealand job market.

Self-assessment of job or skill demand

Ano nga ba ang SKILL?

rat race

Maraming nagsasabi na ang New Zealand ay naghahanap daw ng mga taong skilled – kaya’t karamihan ng nakakapag migrate dito ay nagaapply bilang “skilled migrant.”

Bago mag apply ng trabaho, maging totoo sa sarili at ilista ang inyong mga skills na may pakinabang para sa ibang tao at magbabayad sila ng malaking halaga para dito.

Ano nga ba ang “skill”? Ayon sa diksyunaryo:

“A skill is the ability to do something well.”

Hindi porket nagbasa ka ng libro o nagaral ng apat o limang taong kurso tungkol sa isang larangan ngayon ay bukas meron ka ng “skill.”

Hindi lahat ng nag aral ay natuto.

Ang skill ay nahahasa sa matagal na panahon ng trial and error para masabi na ikaw ay magaling dito. Mas matagal mong ginagawa ang isang bagay, malamang mas gagaling ka o bibilis sa paggawa ng isang skill. Ang iba naman ay in-born o likas sa kanila ang magpinta o mag design halimbawa. Some are genetically gifted na gawin ang isang bagay. Ilan sa mga skills na pwedeng meron ka ay:

1. Mag program ng computer
2. Mag serve ng customer and ability to give their needs
3. Mag drive ng truck
4. Mag gatas ng baka
5. Magluto ng masarap at masustansyang pagkain
6. Mag ayos ng sirang sasakyan
7. Gumawa ng website
8. Mag gupit ng buhok
9. Mag alaga ng may sakit o matanda
10. Magkabit ng cable ng internet

Natural, hindi lahat ng skill ay babayaran ng pantay pantay. Sumasailalim ito sa batas ng supply and demand. Siempre, mas marami ang gumagawa ng isang skill, mas marami kang kalaban sa trabahong ito, mas magagawa ng employer na maging mapili o di kaya’y baratin ang pagbabayad para sa skill na ino offer mo.

Kadalasan, ang sueldo ang tinitignan ng immigration kung papasok ka sa tinatawag na “skilled immigrant” – naglalaro ito sa halagang $55k a year pataas.

O kung marami man ang gumagawa ng skill na alam mo, masasabi mo ba na isa ka sa upper 5% ng pinakamahusay? Kung oo, paano mo mapapatunayan ito sa harap ng isang employer?

Ang konseptong inilalahad ko ang magbibigay sa inyo ng bigger picture sa pakikipagsapalaran dito sa bayan ng middle earth. Dahil marami ang gusto pumasok at manirahan dito, tanong sa sarili kung ano ang inyong competitive edge laban sa puti, negro, tsino, bumbay o kung ano mang lahi. Lahat sila ay gusto rin magkaroon ng job offer kagaya mo. Sa marketing, ang tawag dito ay “product differentiation.”

Huwag idaan sa “bahala na.” Kung sa Pilipinas a degree from UP or Ateneo or a mention ng isang bigating kumpanya was enough to get you in the shortlist, well, in New Zealand it will be a totally different ball game.

Alamin ang inyong core competencies, ilista ang major players at saliksikin ang gaps or niche in the market. If you call yourself a “skilled professional”, you better have superior knowledge about your industry.

5 things you can do now to prepare for your New Zealand Dream

Photo taken from
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.