New to New Zealand?
Two years ago I left home in Ireland for another adventure, this time to Auckland. I had organised myself a working holiday visa, which is a great option for anyone who wishes to travel as well as earning some money along the way. Having previously lived in Australia, I had some indication of how to get myself set up when I arrived, but each country can be very different. If you are a traveller just arrived, or planning on heading to New Zealand soon, here are a few tips for getting settled and set up, which I found particularly useful.
First things first…
When you arrive, whether you are staying in a hostel or with friends, make sure to get a proof of address. It might be a good idea to organise this before arriving in the country, as you will need some form of physical letter with this information included. Some hostels may be willing to type up a letter also. You will need proof of address for setting up a bank account, and applying for your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number. The details can always be changed once you secure your living arrangements.
Setting up a bank account
Once you have your proof of address sorted, make an appointment with the bank. There are 26 registered banks in New Zealand. Click here for further information around fees, and you can determine which works best for you. Make sure to have your written proof of address, proof of identification and a copy of your working holiday visa with you to avoid any delays. Also hot tip: it can be difficult to get an appointment with the city branches, which tend to be busy. Instead, try making your appointment for a branch in the suburbs.
Setting up your phone
This can be done prior to moving over, or even at the airport on arrival. You will need a New Zealand sim card. This is obviously a pretty important step as it will be easier for making appointments and in your job search to follow. Ideally you want to include your New Zealand phone number and contact details on any job applications. There are lots of networks to choose from, so ask around to see which suits best for you. Wi-Fi is also easy to secure especially if you are staying in a hostel and will be an easy way to search for advice, tips and recommendations for getting around the sights.
Getting your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number
An IRD Number is a unique tax number given to you by the Inland Revenue Department of New Zealand so that you can pay the correct taxes as you work in New Zealand. For your IRD number application, you will need a letter from your bank stating your name, bank account number and proof that it is an active account. I’d advise making some sort of deposit into your account to show this. Then to apply, simply go visit the IRD website, there is a section for working holiday visas, and it’s a pretty simple process to follow.
You will need:
- A valid passport
- Proof of your New Zealand bank account
- Your tax number from home
- Proof of intended activity in New Zealand (visa)
Once submitted, it can take up to two weeks to receive your number, depending on the waiting time. Some cases have been processed in a matter of days. It is important to potential employers that you either have your IRD number, or that your application is underway. Additionally as the tax rate is higher without an IRD, it’s beneficial for you to get this sorted straight away.
The job search
Whether you wish to travel around New Zealand for a while, or get working as soon as possible, it is worth having your CV ready to go. When creating your CV, I’d recommend keeping it to a two to three page maximum, showing your most recent experience first and working backwards from there. For more information on writing a CV, one of my Madison colleagues has written a blog with a bit more information.
By keeping the information visually short and to the point, you are more likely to engage with the potential employer. Imagine how many CVs they are looking at, you have a limited time to get their attention. Use it wisely! Show your work ethic and personality through a cover letter and in the interview.
References are a very important element of the job search process. I would highly recommend you contact your referees to let them know you are job hunting, prior to providing their details to an employer or recruiter. In this way they can be prepared when the call comes for that all-important reference. If you are coming from overseas, it would be advisable to get your referees’ email address, as it may be difficult to organise a phone call due to time zone differences.
A good option to consider while job hunting, is to sign up with recruitment agencies. This is particularly desirable for anyone on a working holiday visa, as agencies have more immediate temporary opportunities that will give you a kick start to the New Zealand working life.
It’s free to get registered, so what is there to lose! There are many agencies across New Zealand and Auckland, with some specialising in particular industries. I might be bias, but I would recommend Madison. I too signed up to register when I first moved over, and was placed in a temporary role within one week— here I am two years later writing a blog about it! Temping was a great start to my time in Auckland; I met lots of new people through this and also had an income to support living costs. Here’s another piece from a Madison colleague about adapting your CV for the New Zealand market that you may find useful.
Be persistent! You might not get a job on the first try, but there might be something waiting around the corner just for you. Good luck, welcome to the country, and I hope you enjoy working in NZ as much as I have.
If you would like to have a chat about your job search, please feel free to contact me; firstname.lastname@example.org