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Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

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Old Sep 24th 2018, 11:27 am
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Default Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Hi NZ Expats

This is my first time posting on the BE forums and I’m going to apologise up front because, whilst I am trying my flipping hardest to be succinct, this is a fairly complicated topic that I don’t really want to oversimplify. Consequently, this is probably going to be a bit of a wall of text if you can bear with me.

I am currently in the process of launching a NZ skilled migrant permanent residence visa application, and as things progress towards point of no return territory, I was hoping to share a few final thoughts and concerns with people who have more direct experience than I before crunch time.

Briefly about me: I am an Engineer with a good amount of professional experience at a large multinational industrial company and I have decided to take advantage of a voluntary redundancy scheme to change the direction of my life a little after a several core parts of it have felt fundamentally disrupted over the last couple of years.I don’t want to air all of my dirty laundry here but maybe some background will help everyone understand my state of mind as I approach this: I have recently split up with my girlfriend of several years; I have grown completely disenfranchised with big western corporation culture despite previously being a “company man”; I feel that the febrile UK political climate and breakdown of UK-EU relationships has damaged my future and has caused a distancing in my relationship with my Eurosceptic family; and I have grown increasingly depressed at the lack of care and accountability displayed by many parts of UK society towards nature, society, each other and the rest of the world in general.

Then I visited New Zealand in November last year and felt completely refreshed, like these feelings and frustrations just melted away. People were incredibly friendly, it was simple to strike up an enjoyable conversation with even complete strangers; People cared for their natural resources, I took a walk through the beautiful Pukekura Park in New Plymouth and there was absolutely no litter despite there being no bins either; there was an overwhelming sense of security and community, often apartments we stayed in, in the centre of town were left unlocked; peoples attitude to life was more relaxed but still understanding of the important things, I remember seeing a drink driving awareness poster in Tauranga that read “If you drink and drive then you’re a bloody idiot!”; some of the NZ national industrial companies were also consistent with these values, I visited a Contact Energy plant near Taupo where people there seemed friendly but professional and still valued sustainability.

I currently have a live working holiday visa that is due to expire in October 2019. My plan is to prepare my Visa application and travel to NZ in January next year on my own, spending 3-4 months touring both islands in a campervan to experience more of the country and as a kind of emotional convalescence sabbatical, before settling in either Auckland or Wellington (Initially) to apply for full time work that would support my permanent residence visa application. I do not necessarily want to live in either place forever, but I think that they would be the best places to find suitable employment and given me opportunities to build a social life there (Which I would be doing from scratch).So that’s my background and plan in brief, now finally for the actual questions and concerns that I have:
  • Whilst acknowledging that everyone’s experience can be a little different, are the general impressions of NZ that were made during my visit last year accurate, or were they coloured too much by the fact that I was a tourist? You obviously have to expect that people you engage with who want your custom are going to be somewhat more polite to you than strangers. However, I made a big effort to interact with people outside of this bubble and still retained these positive impressions.
  • A big worry is the isolation. Whilst somewhat appealing to my slightly introverted personality on the one hand, I acknowledge that it will be very important to develop a social network in New Zealand to keep me engaged and avoid shrinking back into a lonely bubble where I just feel sorry for myself and want to move back. How easy is it to do this? What tools and tricks are available for doing so? I have lived on my own in countries like Germany and France before so it’s not unfamiliar territory. But it is a lot further away if anything goes wrong.
  • How is the job market / employment in New Zealand really? I speak to emigration agents who are gushing with praise over the demand for foreign labour, the work life balance etc. but I am well aware that they have to say that to justify the services they offer. I don’t expect an easy ride and I am prepared to work hard. Looking at employment websites and overall employment rates there do seem to be opportunities. Do people find work place environments different in NZ – is that sense of community still present? Opinions from engineers/project managers/the power and industrial sector are especially welcome as this is where I will be plying my trade.
  • Am I silly to plan arrive in high season? I have set a quite reasonable budget for my travels and to sustain myself whilst job hunting but I will be looking to make some significant seasonal purchases when I arrived (For example a campervan). I have also budgeted to buy a car and use hotels/hostels on my travels and I am looking into buying a white van and converting it to self-contained myself as alternatives.
  • Is there any key advice from other people who have attempted something similar which I may be overlooking or may have missed?

I’ll stop there for now because that feels like far too much already. Thanks for your patience and I really appreciate any thoughts or insight you have to offer.
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Old Sep 24th 2018, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Hi and welcome to BE.

I'd agree with your general impressions of NZ, certainly from my own experience anyway. I have found people in general to be very friendly and engaging. I am the kind of person who does and will talk to anyone so I guess if you aren't that way inclined it could be lonely here, especially if you are here on your own. If you have the confidence to make the effort and to integrate - basically force yourself out of your comfort zone and on to others then I doubt you'll go far wrong. Yes, you probably had the rose tinted glasses on during your holiday visit and life living here will be a lot different when you throw the general living here pressures in to the mix, but those things have to apply no matter where you live so no use stressing about them being any worse or onerous here in NZ.

We lived in Wellington for 2.5 years initially and we found it pretty easy to make friends. Was different for us as we were a young (ish) family with a 1 year old at the time so inevitably we were going to meet likewise families at kindy and playgroups etc. In all honesty we could pretty much pick and choose who we wanted to engage with more than the next person although we found it way easier getting friendly with Ex Pats more than Kiwi's, however in all honesty there seemed to be more Ex. Pats than Kiwi's coming in to contact with us.
For a young lad on his own you could easily meet people if you are in to sports. Maybe just join a walking club or cycling group etc. There's loads of clubs and groups knocking about. Many on Facebook and other Social Media stages. There's a website also called MeetUps which a friend of mine in Wellington tried out when he arrived and virtually made friends within a week.
Yes NZ is a lot further away than Europe etc but you just gotta get that out of your mind and get on with life and cross the bridges of doom as they appear.

For an engineer I'd say the job market will be pretty good for you. I'm elec eng since 1995 and been in the electricity industry 31 years this month. Currently working for NZ National Grid - Transpower. Work life seems very different here than in the UK. Way more laid back, way more informal but yet everyone is still highly professional. In my experience pay isn't as good, you won't get as much annual leave but other benefits wise and work/life balance is way better in my opinion. I've not experienced anything bad at work here. Some people have stories about bullying etc but I haven't seen any of that.
I left the UK in early 2012 before my then employer took on board flexible working and remote working etc so it has been a massive change coming here. Many businesses want their employees to look after themselves and their time, do their work but have a good work/life balance. We have a complete open policy of flexible working, working from home or anywhere else you can get an internet connection if you wish. We even have an open desk policy now so if you go in to the office you sit wherever you please. Hardly any fixed desks....apart from me and the rest of my team as we have no other choice unless we are on project work. It definitely feels like you are part of one big family here and the sense of community is ever present. I'm sure others will say differently but that is my experience and I've only worked for the one NZ employer.

If you arrive anytime beginning of Dec to end Jan you'll struggle as it's NZ summer time when lots of people are off work on annual leave for summer holidays and child care. Recruitment will be less likely at this period. Many businesses are on mandatory shutdown for at least 2 weeks over Christmas/New Year.

Campervans and caravans are ridiculous prices here. Being on your own I'd recommend buying a people carrier type vehicle that has already been converted to be used as a campervan. Much more cost effective and handle more like a big car than a slow snail of a truck. There's always loads of them being advertised for sale that have already been converted and include all the stuff you need.

Good luck with the plans whatever you decide.
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Old Sep 24th 2018, 10:00 pm
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

In short .

You were on holiday after a time of disruption to your life so yes, the grass is greener may well have come into play alongside the rose tinted sunglasses. Heck , it happened to us last week and we only went from Nelson down to Dunedin.

Yes. if you are a tourist , people will put on their best face. Of course they will.

Sometimes a change is as good as a rest so give it a go. Not sure on the campervan thing as that is really more of the tourist thing. Perhaps settle on one area and really get into the place for real for a few months. Turn up at social meet and greets and sports clubs . Act as though you are here to stay.

The friends thing is different for everyone . I disagree with Escaped on this in that ,to me , it is not personality based but rather more what is the definition of a friend.

My husband is shy but he is into sports and is happy to have the bloke type meet up friends.
I am rather outgoing but a friend to me has a deeper relationship . I suppose I am saying that what might be friends to some , might be acquaintances to others. Only you know this.
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 2:36 am
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

You Kiwis are a nice bunch, really thoughtful and honest posts there for the OP to mull over.

The only thing I can add is regarding the comment that NZ is so much further away from the UK if anything goes wrong. Geographically, yes. But as long as you can keep the price of the airfare aside, it's not really far at all. Couple of days max and you're back in Blighty.
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 7:20 am
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Like Bevs, I think you do risk missing a certain real life aspect with your intentions to come back effectively as a tourist again. Doing the campervan thing really won't get the real life view of the every day experience of just living here, which brings with it a whole different dimension and different kinds of people all together. By all means I would suggest a holiday period to scout about for a short period but with an aim to try and settle somewhere more permanently, paying the rent, doing the weekly shopping and all the boring stuff as well and see how you feel.
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 9:16 am
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

My first thought was, jeez this guys running away from a lot of problems he REALLY needs professional help

Get some counseling to help you get over the relationship break up. You come across as a spoiled millennial brat who cant get his own way

Stay at home, sort your shit out and grow up, I think you'll soon bore Kiwis with your sob stories.


Sorry, just saying what I see
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 12:10 pm
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Originally Posted by Justcol View Post
My first thought was, jeez this guys running away from a lot of problems he REALLY needs professional help

Get some counseling to help you get over the relationship break up. You come across as a spoiled millennial brat who cant get his own way

Stay at home, sort your shit out and grow up, I think you'll soon bore Kiwis with your sob stories.


Sorry, just saying what I see
You come across as a very nasty person who gets a kick out of insulting people. You could have conveyed a similar message without being so horrible.

Not sorry, just saying what I see.
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 1:38 pm
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Hi everyone

Thanks for the constructive replies - It is a lot of food for thought but generally does re-affirm my first impressions of New Zealand. I think that my main concern is definitely the sense of isolation, a recurring theme of peoples experiences seems to be a real sense of isolation and nostalgia for the UK that possibly comes from difficulty fully integrating/engaging with NZ society. I have worked abroad for several years before though so I think that I can cope and one thing I want from this experience is to keep pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. As escaped suggested I will definitely be looking into meet up groups and clubs to make friends initially because I won't have a work network available. I really enjoy mountain biking, tramping, surfing, climbing and sailing so I think that I will have a few options there (Already looking into sailing clubs on the North Island).

The comments about my travel plans are really interesting as well and not something that I had really considered. My original intention was to tour the whole country as a kind of truncated gap year adventure as I never had that experience and jumped straight into work after University. I liked the idea of the freedom and sense of adventure that it would provide. Bo and Bevs are right though it would not give me the chance to properly experience NZ society and culture as I would probably end up mingling more with tourists and everything I did would have that kind of touristic veneer on it. I need to give that a bit thought now. Off the top of my head, the idea would be to pick a handful of locations to use as a base of operations for at least a few weeks at a time and tour the country that way. This would provide an opportunity to integrate a little more into the New Zealand life, join local clubs, meet ups etc. whilst still letting me explore this beautiful country (I forgot to mention that the outdoors is the real pull of New Zealand for me and initially I don't want to be rooted into just one place to miss out on this).

Unfortunately, I can't really bring my car over. It's a left hand drive VW Golf that I brought back with me from Germany so, whilst I love it to bits, I would like to go back to driving on the right side of the car. I've also heard that you need to own a vehicle for at least a year before importing it without tax duties?

Apologies if my initial post felt a bit self-absorbed, I was worried that it would but I felt a bit of background on my thoughts and feelings would help put you guys in a better position to advise me on my expectations of the country. Hopefully it is clear that I am looking for advice on what New Zealand is like as a place to live and not on how to solve any perceived personal issues that I may or may not have :-)
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 1:41 pm
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Default Re: Introduction & Concerns From A Potential Immigrant

Originally Posted by Justcol View Post
My first thought was, jeez this guys running away from a lot of problems he REALLY needs professional help

Get some counseling to help you get over the relationship break up. You come across as a spoiled millennial brat who cant get his own way

Stay at home, sort your shit out and grow up, I think you'll soon bore Kiwis with your sob stories.


Sorry, just saying what I see
Justcol, for a minute there I almost forgot just what the internet was like. Thank you for reminding me

Out of interest what were your motivations for moving to New Zealand? Did it meet, exceed or fail to live up to your expectations and how are you coping with the fallout from that?
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Old Sep 25th 2018, 9:34 pm
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Hi scouse , I'm nice as well and I'm a Pom.
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Old Sep 26th 2018, 2:40 am
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Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post
Hi scouse , I'm nice as well and I'm a Pom.
Even better, a nice Pom spreading niceness in Kiwi land
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Old Sep 26th 2018, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by spouse of scouse View Post
You come across as a very nasty person who gets a kick out of insulting people. You could have conveyed a similar message without being so horrible.

Not sorry, just saying what I see.
It is what he does. I am very surprised he has not been thrown off the site TBH. Strange behaviour for someone in a profession that is caring for others eh?
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Old Sep 26th 2018, 10:32 am
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PS you are on my ignore list now, I think it is best that way eh??
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Old Sep 26th 2018, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by Genesis View Post


I met someone recently .......
Its nice to know i'm always in your thoughts.

Last edited by BEVS; Sep 27th 2018 at 1:26 am. Reason: adjust quote
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Old Sep 27th 2018, 12:13 am
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If you two have finished playing conkers it's time to

Originally Posted by Thyferra
I am the kind of person who does and will talk to anyone so I guess if you aren't that way inclined it could be lonely here
Here? You mean the UK/Europe.

Being a talky to anyone person wouldn't necessarily relieve a loneliness if that is what a person is feeling. In fact that could be incredibly off-putting to some folk.
Wherever in the world one is, it is best to just be yourself & one way or another one can hopefully find some like minded people to get along with.


Originally Posted by Thyferra
I really enjoy mountain biking, tramping, surfing,
Oh. I took you to be British but from the wording you are a returning Kiwi ?
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