When it comes to a high quality of life and an affordable cost of living, New Zealand is right up there according to a new poll from Alliance and Leicester. In the poll that surveyed expatriates on a whole host of aspects relating to their newly adopted nation, New Zealand scored so well in every category that it was ranked in the number one spot as being the best overseas location for British expatriates.
According to the BBC, well over 200,000 Britons have already established a permanent home in New Zealand, and because it has an affordable cost of living coupled with an excellent standard of living, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see this figure increase now that there has been a marked rise in the numbers of Britons actively thinking about relocating overseas to escape the miserable state of the economy in the UK.
If you’re currently doing country profiles and analysis to see where in the world you and your family would like to live, here are some expat fast facts all about living in New Zealand. You can use these to compare and contrast with other countries so that you determine which nation is best for you.
New Zealand is about 10% bigger than the UK.
It is divided into the North and South Islands.
The population is in the region of 4 million people.
Auckland is the main business centre in New Zealand, home to almost 1 million people.
English is the nation’s main language.
The capital is Wellington and not Auckland! Wellington is on the North Island.
New Zealander’s drive on the left.
British appliances can be plugged straight into sockets in New Zealand if an Australian plug adaptor is used.
Health & Education
Healthcare across the nation is excellent, standards and availability of care and treatment are high.
Health insurance is generally recommended for expats, but you should determine whether you would be entitled to state care depending on your status if you relocate to New Zealand.
Education is free for all children from the age of 3 to university level.
University degrees are also heavily subsidised by the government with student loans in place to make up the short fall.
Education standards are first world, degrees from New Zealand are respected internationally.
Climate & Lifestyle
Officially the climate in New Zealand is considered to be mild, but rainfall is high. Snowfall is experienced on the mountains on the North Island and across the lower half of the South Island in the winter.
The landscape is stunning and features everything from beautiful mountains to raging rivers, and the landscape is a very important reason behind the fact that New Zealanders are considered outdoor loving sports enthusiasts! If sport is your passion you will be more than well catered for in New Zealand, no matter what type of activity you enjoy as either a competitor or spectator.
As in the UK, the legal drinking age is 18.
Levels of serious crime in New Zealand are low.
Jobs and Employment
New Zealand has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the world and annually actively encourages skilled migrants to emigrate to live and work in New Zealand.
On average, wages are lower in New Zealand than in the UK, but then the cost of living is far lower with the average house price costing in the region of £105,000 currently, and falling!
As in the UK, it is quite normal to have dual income households.
The highest rate of tax is 39%.
It is hard to get a job in New Zealand before you have received residency permissions, and very few people who end up living in New Zealand have been financially assisted by an employer to relocate there.
Expat Specific Facts
By its very nature New Zealand is a nation of immigrants, therefore you will not be prejudiced against because of your nationality once you relocate. However, you may be teased depending on whether your nation’s teams are winning or losing against New Zealand in any major sporting tournament!
Britons generally find integration easy as English is the main language, New Zealand is still a commonwealth country, Kiwis drive on the left and many of the fundamental systems in place such as the legal system are based on the British equivalent.
It is possible to relocate lock, stock and barrel to New Zealand, there are relocation companies who will ship your personal effects from the UK all the way. What’s more, with the right rabies injections, microchips and all inoculations, you can even take your dog or cat with you.
Finally, you have to apply to become resident in New Zealand and the process can be lengthy and very time consuming. Apply well in advance of your preferred relocation date to ensure you have enough time to fill in all the forms and for them to be processed. If you are a qualified migrant such as a nurse, doctor or teacher, you’re a skilled tradesperson, you have significant assets or an established business to relocate and you are of good character, you stand the best chance of being accepted for migration.
Check out the government’s Immigration New Zealand website to learn more.