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Moving to New Zealand From Singapore

Moving from the bright lights and skyscrapers of Singapore to the famously green and beautiful New Zealand is a big change in many ways, but the two countries do have their similarities—the labour markets are fairly comparable, and both have quality education and healthcare systems.

In fact, the two nations have populations within a few hundred thousand of each other, but while Singapore has a land area of almost 740 square kilometres, New Zealand spreads across more than 260,000 square kilometres.

Am I eligible to move from Singapore to New Zealand?

Singaporeans are certainly eligible to gain work and residency visas in New Zealand, but like the rest of the world, they will have hurdles, requirements, and hoops to jump through to get there.

There is no simple checklist that can determine your eligibility for residency or work in New Zealand. Most prospective immigrants will choose a “pathway” to focus on, depending on their circumstances: partnership visas, work visas, business visas, and more. The most popular is the skilled residence, which is for people who have the skills New Zealand needs for economic growth.

Of course, every situation is different. The best way to get an idea of whether you will be eligible for any type of visa is always to get advice from professionals like the team at MILNZ.

Navigating the Skilled Migrant Category

For many Singaporeans seeking residency in New Zealand, this is their best option. It’s widely open to a variety of job types and people. You need to prove that you have the skills NZ needs for economic growth. As we mentioned earlier, the job markets in Singapore and New Zealand have many similarities, which can boost your chances.

The skilled migrant category residence visa is for indefinite stays, available to those aged 55 years or less, and can lead to permanent residency. It can also include partners and dependent children.

The system for assessing applicants has shifted recently. From the 9th of October 2023, it goes something like this:

  • Applicants need six points, which are assigned according to a NZ occupational registration, qualifications, and income from a job offer.

  • You can only claim points from one category. So your income and qualifications cannot be combined to make up your points. The only exception is that they can claim up to three points for skilled work completed in NZ (one per year) and combine these with others.

The biggest hurdle that most Singaporeans will come across during the process of applying for a visa is the common catch-22 scenario: you need employment for the visa, but many people need the visa to gain employment. There are ways to tackle this, which we have explored more in-depth in this blog post about navigating the Catch-22.

We have more in-depth information about the skilled migrant or green list pathway here, and other residence visas and pathways available here!

Which jobs are in demand in New Zealand?

Thankfully, there’s no guesswork needed here—Immigration New Zealand posts and updates the Green List to let prospective immigrants know what they’re looking for. Having the experience and/or qualifications to take on a Green List role will increase your chances of gaining residency in New Zealand.

The list includes a wide array of jobs. There are many healthcare roles listed, but many others too including, currently, acoustic engineer, multimedia specialist, quantity surveyor, and more. Jobs are tiered according to demand.

If you’re just starting to think about moving to New Zealand, the Green List should be your first port of call. If your profession is on there, the process will likely be significantly easier.

Quick FAQs

How much does it cost to move from Singapore to New Zealand?

There’s no single answer to this very common question, of course. Each prospective immigrant’s journey—and therefore costs—will vary greatly.

One fairly predictable cost is the visa application fee, and these can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website. As an example, in the Skilled Migrant category, the basic fee for a Singaporean candidate applying from Singapore is NZD$4,890.

Beyond this, you will have to calculate your costs to include airfares, moving costs, visits, and anything else involved in the process. Additionally, there is the cost of legal help—and this is a very valuable investment in the success of your application.

Can I bring my pets to New Zealand?

Can my children attend school if I am on a work visa and we are waiting for our residency to be processed?

Can my partner get a work visa if I get one?

Do I need health insurance?

Thoughts from NZ immigration experts

We are no strangers to helping people migrate from Singapore to New Zealand! It’s a privilege to help people in their search for a slower pace of life and more green space. With the right help and advice, Singaporeans tend to have a high rate of success. The job market there has many similarities to New Zealand, especially (in our experience) in engineering, ICT, electronics, and communication. This makes the job search simpler and brings skills in line with what is sought after by NZ employers.

If immigration is in your long-term plan, you may have a chance to pivot or adjust your career to bring it in line with something on the Green List—although, of course, these do change. Filling any gaps in your English ability is also a fantastic way to prepare, as there are English language requirements for most visa applications.

Applying to work and live in NZ requires commitment and determination. It will be costly and can involve a lot of job applications. But it’s achievable, and most migrants find it to be well worth the effort. To set yourself up for success, get in touch with our team!


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