Category Archives: study

Do not study business


In a previous post, I exposed the dangerous minefield called the student visa.

If you are the type of person where money is not an issue and really want to pursue further studies in New Zealand then it would be wise to select the right course that would increase your chances of securing a skilled job.

Recently, I’ve been meeting a lot of pinoys studying diploma of business here that had been sold to them by unscrupulous agents back home.

Many have paid thousands of dollars, worked in odd jobs and ended up packing their bags in debt.

Studying business is a terrible choice if you plan on permanently settling here.

After finishing your studies it is highly unlikely someone will offer you to “manage” their business.

For one, New Zealand is a tiny, isolated country in the Pacific where the average business is 1-5 people, a vast majority of which are solo operators.

Think about this – if you had a business in the Philippines would you hire a foreigner to manage your operations?

No, you would hire someone with local knowledge and that takes years of on-the-ground experience.

Not an expensive piece of paper.

Business courses do not teach a marketable trade or specific skill.

The most successful business people in the world did not study “business”, they just had an idea and learned it as they went along.

Another similar course being peddled is “Healthcare Management” to target the clueless pinoy nurses and other medical professionals.

The reason why these types of courses are being pushed are the low overhead costs of offering these programs. Whereas let’s say you offer a degree like engineering or computer networking, you would need to build the expensive infrastructure to support it.

With “Healthcare Management” or “Business,” all you need is a room, perhaps a whiteboard and a guy off the street pretending to be a “management guru.”

What it ultimately boils down to is that Kiwi employers are not looking to give any “fresh off the boat” immigrant any kind of managerial or leadership position.

Because of its size, taking in a rookie “manager” is a risky position for most New Zealand companies. Aggravating this further are the strict labour laws, making it hard to fire people who they later find unsuitable.

If you are aspiring Kiwi and want to learn a skill that will lead to jobs, the best course of action would be to look at the job sites and talk directly to employers.


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.






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.