So, by now your plans to move to New Zealand are probably coming along. You’ve decided that you want to move abroad, you’ve worked out where you plan to move to and you might have taken a recce trip, if not, then you have probably been busy completing your research online.
So what’s next? Before we go any further, let me just remind you of the disclaimer information at the front of this book, just in case you missed it. I am not an immigration consultant and nor do I claim to give any immigration advice. In order to give any advice on immigration to New Zealand, since 2010, individuals need to be a registered immigration adviser and trained appropriately. If you require any immigration advice about your personal situation then I suggest that you consult a registered immigration adviser. All the information I provide in this section is my personal experience and in no way constitutes advice. Whew, all legal mumbo jumbo stuff out of the way, let’s get on with it.
The next stage in the process is working through the legal paperwork and endless tedious forms. Obtaining the correct paperwork is the key to a successful emigration and you should spend time at this point researching the country specific legalities and the processes that you will need to fulfill and ensure that you will be able to meet them. You should take into account factors such as the skills that you have to offer, your age, family connections and funds that you have available as these will be crucial to your choice of destination. Be clear on the process and the forms that will need to be completed to start you on your move abroad journey.
There is no way of avoiding the pain of form filling at this stage, I’m afraid. All your personal information has to be meticulously copied into a form that makes it easier for those reading it to understand and makes it feel like you are filling out an application to become a rocket scientist at times. I truly understand your pain, as I recall the tedium of this stage. I am challenged by form filling at the best of times. I leave them hidden down the back of my desk or the bottom of my in tray. I live in hope that if I leave them long enough they will miraculously fill themselves in. When I stare at a blank form, I can almost hear it laughing at me, taunting me to have a go and roaring when I fail miserably to decipher what it is asking me to fill in that particular box. You know what I’m talking about?
You are handed yet another application form requesting information from you that is so utterly confusing that it takes ten minutes just to understand each question. If ever there was something so mind numbing and boring; it is form filling. I am afraid that if you wish to progress to the next hurdle then you will have to complete this stage, there is no way around this except, there is always the option to pay for someone to complete this for you. But why would you do that when all the information is clearly laid out on the New Zealand immigration website?
Try to tackle the application form a small bit at a time. Set time aside each day, it may be easier to set yourself a small target to complete it by filling in small sections at a time.
Here’s where we left off before I went on about all the legal mumbo jumbo stuff. Here’s what we did for our application process to New Zealand.
Step 1: Expressing Your Interest
This is the first step of the process. We put the wheels in motion, submitting our ‘Expression of Interest’ form. This is the process of paying for the privilege of being advised whether you are eligible to apply any further in the pool of applicants wishing to move to New Zealand. You have to work out the number of points you can collect, and these will dictate whether your application is selected at this initial stage.
When you fill in the Expression of Interest form, I really recommend that you have completed your research about New Zealand. Understand what skills they require and check that you have enough points to make the application in the first place or this could be money down the drain. Also book at the additional ways that you can add points to your application. For example, check your qualifications and experience and family connections as these all help to add up those much valuable needed points. Competition is fierce so check to make sure that you are applying all the points that you are entitled to.
I cannot stress enough, at this stage, that you need to ensure that you fill in all the information in your Expression of Interest Form as correctly as possible as this will avoid any problems later in the process. Be aware that checks will be made and are carried out on all information that you provide, so make sure that you can back it up. Whatever you do, don’t claim additional work experience or qualifications because you will have to provide proof later on.
After submitting our Expression of Interest, we had to then wait several weeks to find out whether we were successful. As it happened I had enough points based on my skills, experience and family connections, so we were lucky enough to go through this stage the first time round.
If you are not accepted there is the option to remain in the pool for further draws, but you should check the process as the rules change from time to time.
The next step was, we were invited to submit the Invitation to Apply (ITA). It is at this point that we had to supply all our supporting documents. So it was back to the files and cursing that I hadn’t kept a more organised filing system. I promised myself that once I had completed this application that I would sort it out — you’re right, it is still in an order that only I can understand.
A few tips when you arrive at this stage, is to make sure that you provide all the documents required in the order required and keep copies as this makes it easier for your own reference purposes later on.
We also needed to complete a full medical assessment, at our expense, with an approved medical practitioner and you will be provided with a list of suitable medical practitioners who will carry out your medical check.
We also had to get police clearance for all countries that we had lived in previously, that is if you have lived in any other country prior to where you are currently living. This process can take some time, so you will want to get started on this early on in the process if you need to complete this section.
I also had to submit references from current and previous employers to confirm the number of years of work experience that I was claiming points on.
It is a field of paperwork that you will need to gather and which can take some time. But persevere it really will be worth it in the end. After waiting almost a year we were told that my daughter (yes the one who didn’t want to come) hadn’t passed the medical. I won’t go into the full details here as it is a rather complicated rare condition that she has but one that was well controlled. You wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with her to see her until she is followed by her medical file which doesn’t reflect the person standing before you. A basic overview is that, she had to undergo major surgery when she was 15 years old, due to polyps (growths) in her colon, she was doing well following this and has to have bi annual checks to monitor her, but it was enough for our application to be rejected due to the costs of her ongoing medical care.
We decided to go down the medical appeal route. V%en putting in a medical appeal, you will have to prove that your skills or the benefits that you will be bringing into New Zealand would outweigh the costs of the medical expenses. That is, do the skills that you bring benefit the country more than any costs that may be incurred by the medical condition in question? Will you be a positive resource or a drain to the country’s infrastructure is what it boils down to at this stage.
We had to get numerous letters from medical consultants confirming that her condition was well managed and that her prognosis was positive. It was a long and slow process but persevere if you find yourself in this situation. There is hope and until the final decision is no, then continue if this move abroad is what you truly want and believe in. Eventually we were given the all clear to move onto the next stage as her medical appeal was accepted.
Don’t underestimate the time that it can take to obtain the necessary paperwork. I never thought it would have taken us three years from the time we started planning till the time we left. It took us a total of 18 months to obtain our residency visa. But this delay meant that we had to reassess our plans and we had to delay our actual move abroad in order to fit in with the girl’s education.
A Quick Hint:
Whilst you are at the waiting stage before the next process, now is a great time to have a good de-clutter in the house. Be ruthless and ask yourself if you really need that item and, secondly ask yourself, do I want to pay to take this item across the world. Start going through your home, room by room, sorting out and tidying, discarding any items that you don’t use often or that you think you might not need any longer (Big hint keep the thermals).
Ask yourself the three following questions for each item:
- What does this item mean to me?
- Why am I keeping it?
- Do I really want to pay the shipping costs to carry this item across the world?
If your visas come through then you will have nothing to do but sit back, have a brew and pat yourself on the back. If they don’t then you will at least have a tidy home, providing you with clarity to start looking at your plan B (you have one of those right?)
I’m Jenny and I whilst I love being an expat in Auckland I could not find any reliable advice or guides online from someone who had actually made the move to New Zealand. So I decided to create this blog which offers free advice for expats by an expat. Hopefully you will find everything you’re looking for (and what I wish I knew before) here but if you can’t please do contact us.