Five Top Tips to Becoming a Successful New Zealand Resident
By Sam Dignadice
AUCKLAND – New Zealand has become an obsession for aspiring Filipino migrants. And who can blame them? New Zealand is indeed one of the best places in the world to live in.
It is home to around 50,000 Filipinos, who enjoy all the benefits the country has to offer. And to top it all off, these Filipino Kiwis can go home to the beautiful beaches of the Philippines when the weather in New Zealand gets too cold.
Are you dreaming of becoming one of them? Here are five tips that will help you realise that dream. Follow them and your dream will not turn into a nightmare.
Tip #1 Do your research.
This is your dream. This is your future. You have to own it by being informed.
The New Zealand immigration website (www.immigration.govt.nz) is your first port of call. Read it. Everything you need to know is in there. If you find this too difficult and you think that you’d rather trust other people to tell you what to do, then I’m sorry to tell you that you have taken the first step to failure.
The immigration website will guide you on how to apply for the correct visa. It tells you what skills are required in New Zealand. And generally, it will provide you with a lot of information that will help you make crucial decisions for your future.
Also, consult New Zealand-specific websites such as www.nzherald.co.nz – for news and information, www.trademe.co.nz – for finding out how much things are and www.seek.co.nz – to find out what jobs are available.
Of course, Facebook is always there. Join forums of Filipinos in NZ and post your questions there. Some good-natured kababayan are always on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Be informed. That’s the number one rule.
Tip #2 Choose the correct path – student or skilled.
If you have specific skillsets and equivalent experience, then the skilled category might be the best for you. Again, consult the Immigration website and see if your skills are in demand. The best thing about the skilled category is that if you are successful, then you earn income when you arrive in New Zealand.
The student path is way more complicated, expensive and fraught with risks. You have to pay for yourself during the period of study, you then have to find an employer to hire you and then you have to make sure that the job you land meets the Immigration department’s criteria.
Tip #3 For those choosing the student path, choose your course carefully.
Don’t take a course just because the agency told you that it was the one that was best for you. Chances are that agency is recommending that course because they make a lot more money from students taking that particular course.
It’s no different when you walk into a shop and you don’t know what you are buying; the shop attendant will make you buy the product where they make more money. It makes sense for them, but it doesn’t necessarily make sense for you.
Avoid management courses. Immigration NZ will typically expect you to become a manager after you finish a management course before approving your work visa. In New Zealand a manager is expected to be very experienced and very knowledgeable. A one-year course will not be enough.
Avoid computer courses. New Zealand universities produce top quality, world class computer science graduates. If you are taking a 12-month computer course in a low tier PTE, the competition is so stiff that your chances of getting an IT job are very small.
What’s the best course? Well, actually, this is all hit and miss. Immigration is now tightening up on student to resident visas. This path should generally be avoided at all cost.
Tip #4 If you need to work with an agent, avoid those who rely on celebrity endorsements.
Rely instead on word-of-mouth.
You can actually go through the visa processing application yourself. But if you are too busy and would like to work with an agency, ask for names of their previous clients and then contact them via Facebook. Also, name the agency you are working with and seek references from various Facebook forums of Filipinos in New Zealand. You will find more honest answers that way.
Agencies that rely on celebrity endorsements pay these celebrities a lot of money. Where do you think the payment will come from? Yes, from your application fee. Don’t part with your money so easily. If the agency is good, then their clients will tell you that they are good. Avoid celebrity endorsements.
Tip #5 Don’t give your money away so easily.
Employment agencies are not supposed to charge a processing fee, because they are being paid by New Zealand employers to find workers for them. If they do charge you, make sure that you have everything in writing. Keep the receipts and report them when you come to New Zealand.
Agencies offering the student pathway often charge hefty fees. Make sure you are dealing with a good one (see Tip #4).
But if I have Php1M and I am in the Philippines? Well, gosh, why would I even leave???
All the best, Kababayan. May all of your dreams come true.
Editor – Sam Dignadice is a highly successful IT professional residing in Auckland. He iss also a well-respected Filipino community leader.