New Zealand: beside the Land Down Under

Living abroad remains popular among South Africans, and some are even willing to renounce their citizenship. Isabelle Coetzee finds out how South Africans can become a resident beside the Land Down Under – New Zealand.

With landscapes ranging from ice-covered volcanos to wide, green fields, New Zealand can offer a never-ending variety of adventures to both travellers and residents.

Effect of migration on South Africa

Currently boasting a population of nearly five million people, the land of the long white cloud is quickly blooming into several dense metropolitans.

According to Hayden Glass, who’s a New Zealand economist, evidence shows that greater migration between two countries boosts trade and tourism.

In his co-authored book, Going Places: Migration, Economics and the Future of New Zealand (2016), he explains, “Diaspora members create connections between producers and consumers in both countries. They also buy the products of their countries of origin and introduce them to new markets.”

In other words, both New Zealand and South Africa benefit from cross-migration between the two countries.

How to immigrate to New Zealand

Residents enjoy a statistically safe environment – also excluding dangerous Australian animals – and, according to Dani Watt, New Zealanders aren’t defined by their careers, but rather by their characters.

So how can you become one of them?

New Zealand’s immigration services offer a lot of advice on their interactive website, where South Africans can identify their particular interest in the country and follow the prompts to find their ideal visa.

In general, South Africans have been very welcome in the Great South and, according to the 2013 census, over 54 279 South Africans now live in New Zealand, which forms more than 1.36% of the population.

In their Self-Assessment Guide for Residence, immigration authorities explain that residency does not necessarily imply citizenship, and that you can keep your South African citizenship when becoming a New Zealand resident.

According to this document, the New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP) can accept 85 000 to 95 000 migrants between July 2016 and June 2018.

These figures include:

  • The Skilled/Business stream (approximately 50 500 to 57 500 places)
  • The Family stream (approximately 27 000 to 29 000 places)
  • The International/Humanitarian stream (approximately 7 500 to 8 500 places)

New Zealand has become known for its interest in skilled migrants, including plumbers, gas fitters, math teachers, diesel mechanics, and electricians.

By following the prompts on this site, you can receive a number of points that, if tallied up, will indicate whether you qualify for a Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa. In general a minimum number of 100 points are required, but the site currently indicates that 160 are considered the minimum.

Besides important skills, the New Zealand immigration office looking for applicants who demonstrate good health, good character, and the ability to speak English.

According to their website, the visa application process involves four dominant steps:

  1. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI): “In this, you tell us about your health, character, age and English language ability, as well as the factors that will earn you points. When it is completed, submit it to INZ where it will be checked to ensure that all relevant information has been supplied.”
  2. You are invited to apply for residency: “The application for residence is a much simpler form to complete because you will have supplied much of the necessary information with your Expression of Interest.”
  3. You send in your application form: “After you have been invited to apply you will need to send us all the necessary documents to support the claims you made in your Expression of Interest – such as passports, qualifications and relevant certificates (original documents or certified copies).”
  4. A decision is made about your application: “We assess your application against the Skilled Migrant Category criteria. We also verify everything you have told us in your Expression of Interest.”

To apply for a permanent resident visa, South Africans will spend R1 805 on their application, and R710 to cover a service fee and courier costs. These applications should be made through the VFS.Global website, and applicants typically receive feedback within 10 working days.

“New Zealand welcomes new migrants – people who will contribute to our country by bringing valuable skills or qualifications, setting up a business, or making a financial investment,” their guide on immigration states.