The Road to Residency

Peaceful NZ afternoon

Life doesn’t get easier or give you a break during the immigration process. And, at times, things can be pretty overwhelming. However, the two certain enemies of gaining residency are fear and procrastination. Not going for it, because you’re heading for the unknown. And then, taking your own sweet time to get there – Procrastination. Because life is busy, there’s a LOT of paperwork, and fear of many things; two being the fear of failure and the fear of success. All we can say, if you want a better quality of life for your family, is “get moving, stay focused, and “Vasbyt” (loosely translated as “hold on tightly by your teeth!”)

My family and I arrived in New Zealand in 2017. After quite a time of settling in, moving home again, finding our feet in our jobs, schooling, volunteering, networking and making good friends, we have finally submitted our Expression of Interest (EOI) via Greatlife Immigration in 2018.

While Greatlife Immigration waited patiently for us to get our paperwork together, the process though seemingly simple came with a number of frustrations and everyday life complications. Firstly, our SA passports were going to expire before our visas and we had to apply for those first. The shocker was the realisation that they would take 6-12 months to be issued (long after we hoped to apply for residency). Jan at Greatlife Immigration has assured us we can transfer the residency label into the new passports once they are received. However, travelling will be a no-go for us until we get the passports, because NZ requires travellers on SA passports to have a minimum of 6 months’ validity. Moral of that illustration is, make sure you have plenty of time to spare on your passports.

Regarding the residency process itself, but including processes that cover EOI, Invitation to Apply (ITA), residency and passport application, there are a number of things to consider. Talk to your Greatlife immigration advisor Jan Barnard, local library, police station, justice of the peace and citizen’s advice bureau. All of these people will give you guidelines that will help you get your ducks in a row and not lose your “varkies” (piglets/marbles) in the residency process.

Paperwork to do list, etc (clickable link)

The paperwork and paper cuts may seem extremely overwhelming at times, but VASBYT. The evenings we sit with our windows and doors wide open, go to bed at times with the door and car unlocked, the quiet walks with other mums and kids through forests and veld, swims at predator-free beaches and the welcome feeling from the locals, far outweigh the paperwork. The red tape is brief compared to the length of peaceful, fruitful days you will spend in your new home country.

So, get scanning, signing and sending. Your new Greatlife awaits!

(Now where are my varkies?)

PS – Click on “Talk to Us” in the menu at the top of our Greatlife Immigration blog post. We are an experienced family-run enterprise, having been through the process ourselves and with others many times. Jan B.


Article by Lindsay Neumann

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The Treasures of Tasman

The heat of summer and being back at work is upon us and so is the craving for our next holiday. New Zealand has many jewels hidden in its landscapes. One of these to be discovered is at the top of the South in Nelson/Tasman. The Abel Tasman National Park is surrounded overhead with glorious tree ferns and mosses underfoot, criss-crossed with bubbling rivers and waterfalls, and shaped by magnificent turquoise bays. It is teaming with bird and marine life and is easily accessed by boat, kayak, bicycle, car and foot.

Fly into Nelson from any New Zealand Airport or come by Road or Ferry. Either way, do come. Nelson/Tasman is a great holiday destination, if not for any other reason but its length of sunshine hours each year.

Before heading West and North West around the Nelson Bays on route to the Abel Tasman do stop off at a local favourite – Tahunanui Beach – for oysters or the local fish of the day, cocktails and a swim in the calm, warm ocean.  An overnight in Nelson on a Friday night will give you live music at The Boathouse, or other local top restaurants and great shopping the next day, especially at the weekly Saturday morning market.  The Dutch stand at the back of the market, and Kiwi Kai or Maori Flatbread somewhere in the middle are great choices for a bite and you can sit right there in the market and absorb the bustling jovial atmosphere.

An afternoon at Founders Park will give you a great introduction to Nelson’s early beginnings and a couple of hours spent at the Gardens of the World in Hope is a great place to chill and enjoy a picnic.

There are many other local spots, like Twin Bridges Reserve in Hope; Spooner’s Tunnel in Wakefield; and the Nelson Lakes, but do research how to find them before you go.

Heading Westwards around the coast you’ll come across loads of arty crafty places that make pottery, jewellery, unique glass pieces, sculpture, paintings and other artwork. Rabbit Island is another good swimming stop-off. Explore the treasure trove of goods at the apple-shed stores on Mapua Wharf with an ice-cream from Hamish’s in hand. Consider hiring an electric bike ($99 for the day) and exploring Waimea Estuary or taking the Mapua Ferry across to Rabbit Island for another swim.

Next stop, Motueka. Highly recommended is the longer scenic route via Ruby Bay towards quirky Motueka where the Smoking Barrel is your next stop for delicious decadent doughnuts!

Just around the corner, the golden sands of Keiteriteri and Split Apple Rock will give you a taster of Golden Bay on the opposite side of the Tasman. Your entry point to the Abel Tasman begins a few kilometres down the road from here or take State Highway 60 straight to hippy Takaka and explore from there. Wanui Falls is a great starting point and easily reached within a few hours.  Takaka is a fabulous otherworld place to spend a few nights – great food (try a pizza at the Dangerous Kitchen), vibe and shops to browse. The Takaka information centre also will give you numerous Abel Tasman adventures to choose from.

So, book a place (well in advance is advised) and make sure to pack in your swimming togs, walking shoes and camera. Happy adventuring!

And, if you haven’t got here yet and need help with all the moving logistics and immigration paperwork, contact our office at We are very excited to share our journey with you.

Article by Lindsay Neumann for Great Life Immigration Services

Photographs of Nelson/Tasman by Lindsay and Scharll Neumann

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Welcome to 2018 – a year of exciting challenges and adventures!

I thought this photo taken by the Auckland webcam at 12.05 on 1 January 2018, immediately after a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display from Sky Tower is quite appropriate for the first blog of 2018.

As revellers celebrated the old and new year, the spectacular Cruise Ship Dawn Princess departed with 2200 guests on their next adventure.

This is the life in our Immigration World. We here at Greatlife Immigration Services could at least celebrate with all the clients who received visas and residencies last year, and celebrate the fact that we had no visas declined in 2017, although it was a tough and challenging road at times.

Some of our major victories were helping clients from Fiji and Afghanistan with declined visa applications, who after I took on their cases received approved visas and an approved residency.

The stormy waters that we encountered were the new points and salary changes, the cut in residence numbers and other changes to Immigration policy which placed several clients in precarious positions, with a large number not meeting the 160 points required to apply for residence.

But, just like our majestic cruise ship, we and our clients must storm all weather conditions and keep sailing to new beginnings.

This brings me to write about my “foot in the door” approach, which could benefit lots of people in making their dreams come true, if they are only willing to be patient, step back and start again, and persevere in reaching their ambitions.

The foot in the door theory is as old as the mountains, but daily we receive notifications from prospective clients who say they are not willing to uproot, (understandably) their lives if they cannot walk into the Country and be guaranteed to get residence. The reasoning is that they are senior managers, have large expensive houses, smart phones and smarter cars, and if New Zealand does not give them residence then they will not make themselves available to the Country. They would rather remain in their home countries, instead of securing a better future for their children and spouses or partners.

My own foot in the door story started in 2006 when I entered New Zealand to “look and find” (There was no look, see and decide back then). Just look for work, find work and move. We had no knowledge base, no Facebook, and only one friend in New Zealand. So, no help, no guidance, just instinct. We decided our two young daughters should gain a first world education that will eventually lead to them to having better opportunities for excellent jobs, and the exposure to other world adventures.

My understanding was that, as a former senior manager in a large Government Department, being a Lieutenant Colonel in the Police, having studied a Diploma and law degree, opening doors in NZ would be easy. Well, after applying for around 30 senior positions all over New Zealand without any luck, my guesthouse owner initiated a meeting with a local security company. That was my foot in the door to New Zealand “Kiwi experience”. Ten months later, after working 10-hour nightshifts, I eventually could recall my “Kiwi” experience during an interview at Auckland Council and became the Team leader of the Compliance and Enforcement Team, with a 200% increase in salary, and with this position, I qualified for residence. Now we are all Citizens, the daughters both studied at University, both have travelled overseas three times, and are secure with their Kiwi passports in their back pockets.

We were also equally unsure, scared, and very apprehensive about the move. We let our house until the day we received residence, because my view was that if anything changed then at least we had a house to return to. I took out a second bond which I used to get here, and on selling, paid the full bond and had hardly anything left. But that first foot in the door secured our New Zealand passports!

Prospective clients who are still uncertain should think about the future 5 or 10 years from now. Getting a job and a work visa, although valid for only three years, may just make the world’s difference to your future. Firstly, work visas are always renewable, and secondly, the government may reduce the current required 160 points, or bring back the old selection clause of 100 points, plus a job. The fact that the Expression of Interest (EOI) programme still allows you to submit at 100 points, indicates that the door is not closed. If you have a job when the selection clause changes, you can apply immediately. Further to that, work to residence visas with accredited employers lead to residence, and you may study a diploma that will give you that elusive 40 points needed if you do not qualify at present. Think about your children, if they attend school in NZ, their chances at finding work are much better than for persons applying from overseas, and then they can apply for residence after 10 years of work, or immediately after studying a diploma. They can at least then become residents and citizens. By not moving now you are hampering their chances at a better future as well.

Getting back to persons who do not qualify for residence; are over 55, do not have enough points, etc, think about that 10-year plan. If you remain in your home country, what you see is what you get. And what you have now is all that you’ll ever have.

Working in New Zealand for 10 years will give you 10 years of first world experience, which may help you, should you need to return to your home country. Whilst you are earning New Zealand dollars, you may be able to save up for your retirement in your home country. The current exchange rate is around 10 to one, and the average weekly income is around $900 or above. If you save the money instead of buying two hamburgers and two coffees a week, you’ll save the equivalent of R260 000 in today’s rate. If the partner works and does the same, we are talking about half a million Rand.

I sincerely hope this has given you some food for thought and that you will endeavour to make the right decision for yourself and your family for 2018 so that your ship can sail in to NZ soon.

The year 2018 looks promising for the Greatlife team. We are now rolling out our new software program, called “Check Your Visa” which promises be more time efficient and streamline our communications.

Tanya, our web designer has created a new look for our website, which will become active this month, whilst Lindsay and myself will bring out more blog articles this year.

Elena will be taking on more adviser duties, and I may plan some seminars in South Africa to help more people achieve their dreams.

We are wishing everyone a very rewarding, fulfilling and satisfying new year!

Jan and the Team.

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Does New Zealand want me?

Pohutukawa by Brian Livingstone

One question that has been at the edge of my thoughts at varying stages of my time living in New Zealand, is: ‘Am I welcome in New Zealand? Do New Zealanders want me?’ After all, I want to feel welcomed, but I also want to feel wanted.

First Impressions

Firstly, the two people I met in my first couple of days here, and with whom I have become friends, are both New Zealanders. One, Pākehā (European descent) and the other Māori (Pacific descent). Both born to generations of immigrants. Both welcomed me in their traditional way, took an interest in where I come from (South Africa) and took me on a little trip around the area we live in to show me the sites. Both have introduced me to their friends. Since my first two days in New Zealand I have met many, many others from New Zealand, from other towns North and South, and from several different countries. I have never felt more welcomed on a personal level.

Still, the same question pops up every now and then; ‘Does New Zealand want me to become a New Zealander?’ Perhaps the thought is more persistent because I am still in the process of applying for residency which feels unbelievably possible, but just out of reach (for now).

Practical thoughts on the matter

So, I do what we tend to do in this information universe and type the question into Google…

‘Am I welcome in New Zealand? Do New Zealanders want me?’

First of all, there is the objective, practical, political side to the answer that is reflected in the selection process for people wanting to become residents, and later citizens. The point system tells its own story. You are welcome if you have something to offer – skills, investment, qualifications. Once you get through that process – you know you are desired on a practical level.

A deeper look

On the next touchy feely level, before we look at private organisations, special interest groups and individuals, the Government takes their interest in you further. Not only do they desire what you have to offer, but they also want you to want to stay and put extensive resources into non-Governmental projects that aim to help migrants settle better.

One such example is the Nelson Multicultural Council (NMCC) in the Nelson /Tasman region that is collaborating with Victoria University to run a lengthy series of workshops for both migrant and refugees to the area.  Their aim is to research their experiences arriving, feeling welcomed (or not), settling in (with easy or difficulty), challenges and obstacles they have faced or still face, and what help they still need. All the information will guide support for, and services to, current migrants and refugees and other newcomers going forward. Topics that have arisen have included language and communication barriers, prejudice, access to services, legislative differences to their country of origin, handling disputes, employment opportunities, cost of living.

The NMCC states,

Nelson has the third highest percentage of people born overseas for any region in New Zealand. New migrants in the region bring a diversity and vibrancy which creates an even richer mix of people in this area. 

I personally find this heartening. 

‘Naturals at welcoming strangers’ 

 The New Zealand government websites for newcomers ( promotes New Zealanders as “Naturals at welcoming strangers”. They say Kiwis are great travellers and know what it’s like at arriving somewhere new. Nearly a quarter were born outside NZ and over 90% of Kiwis feel some connection with another country through family, friends or interests. 

 In 2015 Expat Insider and Expat Explorer surveys, over 90% of respondents found the welcome they received met or exceeded their expectations and they found Kiwi people friendly. This is one of the reasons New Zealand ranks so highly worldwide (2nd out of 64 countries) for ‘ease of settling in’. 

 More evidence of a warm welcome… offers 

  • Tips for settling in; Ways to meet people, learn English and feel at home here.
  • Organisations you can turn to for free and trusted advice.
  • Job hunting tips; Ensure that your job search is successful and speedy with these practical tips.
  • Information for partners; Practical information about getting you and your family set up in New Zealand.
  • Info & events in your region; Explore our comprehensive directory of trusted local services and information sources near you.
  • a quarterly magazine for new migrants called LINKZ, published by New Zealand Immigration. You can read about it on their website – – or subscribe directly via

Local is Lekker

In SA, we say Local is Lekker (really good). And, the same could be said for your very own local spot in NZ. There are vast numbers of social groups and activities run for newcomers by newcomers and native (born here) New Zealanders.

The New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils (NZFMC) was established in 1989 as a non-government body acting as an umbrella organisation for the ethnic communities of New Zealand. Read more about the welcome they offer you by typing into your browser.

The New Zealand Newcomers Network is a network of groups throughout New Zealand welcoming newcomers. Anyone can join. Even New Zealanders. Why? Because all New Zealanders are either immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Many move around New Zealand and also feel like newbies when they arrive. As a foreign immigrant, it surprises me that they see themselves as new entrants in my town. But it also fills me with hope.

Make your local your kind of lekker

Find a Newcomers network in your area by visiting If you can’t find a group, they invite you to contact them to start one of your own. Isn’t this an amazing welcome?  You don’t have to fit the mould, you can create your own!

Welcome is a two-way street

Lastly, part of being embraced by another culture is to take an interest in theirs. Find out about the customs of your new home – the library and google, and old fashioned chatting are great sources. And, why not read up on Māori language (Te Reo), culture and heritage!

Article by Lindsay Neumann.

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New Immigration Advisor for Greatlife Immigration Services – Elena Bollino

We here at Greatlife Immigration Services are very fortunate to introduce a new adviser to our Company. Elena Bollino joined as my assistant in February 2017, and has proven her worth in gold!

Elena was born and raised in Naples, Italy. At quite an early age she realised her passion for languages and for travel. At the age of 19 she left her hometown to have her first work experience in London where she improved her English skills and gained some work experience.

At the age of 21, on her second year of study at Istituto Universitario Orientale University in Naples, where she studied Chinese language, literature, history and arts, she went to China where she lived for two and half years. She initially studied there, then found jobs as interpreter, language teacher, and as personal assistant for an Italian firm in Beijing. Elena graduated at the age of 23 in Foreign Languages and Literature.

Elena then worked in Paris and Rome in customer service, and as a personal assistant and interpreter/translator for an Italian TV channel.

Her passion for people and different cultures didn’t stop her traveling spirit. Elena moved back to London where she worked as an office manager, international sales executive, conference manager liaising with top managers and CEOs of globally recognised companies.

She came to New Zealand ten years ago, and became a resident two years later.

Elena has worked in New Zealand as a languages teacher, cultural mediator, interpreter, career advisor and business development executive.

Immigration services career

Elena also worked at Immigration New Zealand for five years, where she developed her passion for Immigration law and helping others achieve their dreams of migrating to New Zealand. She became a licensed immigration adviser in August 2017 and currently holds a provisional license. Currently, Elena is completing the Graduate Diploma in New Zealand Immigration Advice, Level 7 at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Elena’s language skills, experience in customer service, as well as her knowledge of immigration instructions will give clients the opportunity of clarifying immigration queries in English as well as in their own language.

She speaks five languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French and Mandarin.

We are looking forward to a long and rewarding career for Elena at Greatlife Immigration Services.

Welcome (Benvenuto) Elena!

JAN BARNARD, Greatlife Immigration Services

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Bringing pets to NZ

Tackling paperwork to get you and your family to New Zealand is the first step to immigration, but what about your extended domestic family – your beloved pets?

It is important to understand that New Zealand is strict on the import of animals to help keep the country disease and pest-free. South Africans are welcome to bring cats and dogs along with the family providing their animals meet specific health standards. It is an arduous journey. Consider your options carefully.

On the one hand, it is a dearly loved member of your family that can help transition your family into new unfamiliar beginnings, but on the other the decision to import impacts your options on rental accommodation, which can affect the suburb you live in and the school your child goes to. It can also be a long, uncomfortable journey for your pet, and potentially a sad outcome for your family if you don’t follow the import guidelines to the letter. Although a new pet will never replace your original, consider getting a pet once you’re settled in New Zealand. There are also a number of animal petting zoos and farms for children.

Important change: From 22 October 2017, cats and dogs from all countries can no longer fly into Wellington Airport. They must be cleared for entry into New Zealand (Australian cats or dogs only) or transferred to a quarantine facility (all other countries) from either Auckland or Christchurch airports.

In this article we will look at pets coming from South Africa*. Please note that this information serves to give you an outline of what to expect only. It does not provide all pet import information. We highly recommend you choose a professional pet exporter to help you bring your pet over safely. Most airlines expect you to use one to ensure you have met regulatory requirements.

Here we cover dogs and cats, but horses and ornamental fish are also considered. Birds, ferrets, mice and rats, reptiles (including snakes) are not permitted.

So, what does New Zealand require for pet immigration from South Africa?

To successfully import your cat or dog you need to:

  • read the import health standard (IHS), guidance document and checklists for cats and dogs (see link page below this post). Is your cat or dog eligible?
  • use a pet exporter
  • book an MPI-approved quarantine facility
  • apply for a permit to import from MPI a minimum of 20 working days in advance of the date you require the permit
  • ensure all of the import requirements have been met
  • notify an official veterinarian in New Zealand at least 72 hours before arrival
  • declare any medication your animal is taking.


Eligibility is restricted to domestic cats and dogs. South Africa is on the Category 3 list of approved countries where rabies is well controlled. No hybrids are allowed and certain dog breeds are prohibited. An approved microchip must be implanted in the animal. Pets must meet the minimum age specified on the veterinary certification and not be more than 42 days pregnant on the date of shipment. Animals must have resided in the country of export for at least the six months (or since birth) immediately preceding the date of shipment. New Zealand also has specific veterinary certification requirements for dogs coming from South Africa. One such requirement is for the disease Babesia Canis (carried by ticks).

Guide and Assistance Dogs

Assistance dogs are highly trained animals that help people with special needs. The process for importing them to New Zealand is similar to importing other dogs but special quarantine arrangements can be made to minimise disruption for handlers. Although a permit is still required, the permit fee is waived for assistance dogs. If you have questions about bringing your assistance or guide dog to New Zealand, email You can also refer to information provided in the link at the bottom of this post.


  • Your cat or dog will be cleared for entry into New Zealand when it passes final veterinary inspection, after a minimum of 10-days quarantine with all supporting documentation compliant.
  • If your cat or dog does not meet the requirements, it will be held for further tests, treatment or quarantine, possibly re-shipped to the exporting country (or another country), possibly euthanased. You will have to pay for any costs involved.

For more guidance, visit our  Related links and documents page


[*] If you are wanting to bring your pets from a country other than South Africa, contact New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries on +64 4 894 0100 or email

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North vs South Island settler

Choosing your New Zealand port

Leaving your country, friends and family behind when you decide to immigrate can be gut-wrenching. People worldwide do it for many reasons and it is, a brave, bold, and often necessary step to ensure safety, happiness and long-term economic and educational prosperity.

Once you’ve chosen New Zealand as your future home country, a very wise choice, in our opinion, you may be considering ‘North vs South’ to settle with your family. Whilst this is largely influenced by job offers and the immigration point system towards residency, you do have some choice in the matter. The biggest contrast appears to be in weather and house prices (if you take quality of life out of the equation for now), as NZ salaries are, on average, pretty balanced. There is also not as huge a focus on hierarchy or status of jobs here as is seen in many places around the world.

So, here are some pointers for your NZ compass…

The population size is far larger in the North with almost 1.5 million people living in Auckland and 500 000 in Wellington. In the South, numbers are closer to 500 000 for the Canterbury region (including Christchurch), under 200 000 for Otago (think adventure capital Queenstown and student heavy Dunedin, dwindling to under 100 000 in other regions and main cities further South like sunny Nelson, Tasman, Marlborough, Blenheim, the West Coast and icy Invercargill.

If you love large cities or need to live in a place that feels a little more like busy city life, then metropolitan Auckland is a good choice. Auckland is considered one of the world’s most liveable cities, ranking third in the 2015 quality of living survey conducted annually by Mercer. Naturally there are outlying areas in reasonable proximity to Auckland where you can enjoy the peaceful and better house price benefits whilst having easy access to the hustle and bustle when you desire it.

If you’re from the platteland and a quieter pace is more your thing, there are quieter towns in the North, but if you really want quiet, head South. Captonians may especially love sunny Nelson which is reminiscent of Simonstown, St.James, the Waterfront and Boland rolled into one with the stunning Abel Tasman (think Knysna-Plett heyday) on your doorstep! If you miss the South-Easter and still want the feel of bustling city blended with quaint, but want to be close to the SA High Commission (useful for all those visa applications) then Wellington in the North is a good place to start.

Whilst income is better in the North, house prices are far higher, averaging a little under $1 million. In contrast, the rural and southern house price average brings the national average down to around $450,000. Southern and rural salaries and house prices are of course catching up, so it is worth bearing this in mind.

Wellington and Auckland salaries average around $50k with house prices just under $500k in the Wellington region and just over $600k in Wellington City. Still a bigger bang for the Wellington buck.

Interestingly, Invercargill in the very deep south has a decent average wage of $45 000 with house prices around the $250 000 mark. If you don’t mind the cold, not a bad place to make a start. Check out our previous blog on Invercargill great winter escapes!

Nelson/Tasman/ Marlborough/West Coast regions in the South average salaries of $40k with house prices averaging over $450k, but if you look at the small southern town of Greymouth (30 000+ population), house prices are a little kinder at around $240k+. Christchurch salaries are also better than the southern average at $45k with house-prices still high for the region at $485k despite the recent devastating earthquakes.

Generally, people earn weekly salaries and property rentals are paid weekly too. Many immigrants rent property until residency at least. The national median rent for a three to four-bedroom house is around $460/week with wide regional variations. Auckland is considerably more expensive while rural areas and the south, are much cheaper.

More about weather…

For the highest number of sunny days in New Zealand, look no further then Nelson at 2350 hours of sunshine per year. The rest of the Bay of Plenty (north coast of north island), and Napier (north island wine region of Hawkes Bay) are only slightly less sunny.

New Zealand is cooler than many countries – attributed to being so close to the Antarctic. However, it is of course on average about 10 degrees warmer, in north of the north and considerably more humid than the cooler south.

Further south of Nelson/Tasman/ Marlborough/ Canterbury, it gets much cooler with the coldest of course being Invercargill.

If you want windy, look to Wellington, Palmerston North and Invercargill. For rain lovers, the West Coast (South Island) rains supreme!

 We have several clients living in the South Island from Invercargill through to Christchurch and Nelson, and they all love it there!

Wherever you choose (or are chosen) to live, it’s pleasing to note that there are different kinds of housing in New Zealand from city apartments, to seaside cottages and suburban homes with ample garden space. However, New Zealand winters further south of Auckland are cold and it’s good to look into heating systems and costs. Also highly recommended is the newish HRV systems that keep house damp at bay.

Immigrants need visas to work and live in New Zealand and there are different types available depending on need. There are special visas for people planning to invest very large sums of NZ dollars. And then, there is the ‘getting residency and having enough points’ subject. If you need the points, then the choice to live outside of Auckland may be a necessity. For more information about residency and visa requirements, read our earlier blog post on the latest residency points or contact us at

For further reference (and statistics), visit New Zealand Immigration’s New Zealand Now regions page.

Author: Lindsay Neumann for Greatlife Immigration Services and photograph of West Wave, New Zealand taken by Jan Barnard

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Final Immigration Policy as at 28 August 2017

The following is a shortened summary of the final changes to the Immigration Policy as at 28 August 2017.

It is divided into two parts, work visas, which are temporary visas, and residence visa application, which is permanent.


Known as Essential Skills visas.

Employment will be assessed as being in one of three skill-bands, based on the remuneration that will be paid and the skill level of the occupation as described in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).

The skill-band of the employment will determine the duration an Essential Skills work visa may be granted for, whether there is a maximum time a person may work in New Zealand before they must leave for 12 months, and whether the partner and dependent children may apply for visas based on their relationship to an Essential Skills work visa holder.



Higher skilled jobs, earning above $35.24 per hour



Up to 5 years

No limit on number of repeat applications

Can include partner and children.

Mid skilled levels:

Skill level ANZSCO 1, 2 and 3.

Earning above $19.97 per hour

Up to 3 years.

No limit on number of repeats

Can include partner and children

Lower skilled level occupations:

Skill level 1,2,3. Less than $19.97


Skill level 4 and 5 earning less than $35.24 per hour.




One-year at a time.

Can reapply to maximum of 3 years. After 3 years must leave New Zealand for one year, cannot apply for same salary level.

Cannot include partner and kids

Applicants can apply for a visa of a different type, an Essential Skills work visa for mid- or higher-skilled employment, and will then be assessed on that category.

Family of lower skilled and paid occupations: Immigration instructions have been amended to restrict the ability of Essential Skills work visa holders in lower-skilled employment from supporting the visas of their partner, and dependent children for work, student or visitor visas.


(Skilled Migrant category)

Samples of jobs
Jobs at ANZSCO skill levels 1, 2 and 3 must be paid at or above $23.49 per hour, which equates to a salary of $48,859 per year based on a 40 hour week.
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Sales and Marketing Managers
  • ICT (IT) occupations.
Jobs that are not considered skilled, must be paid at or above $35.24 per hour, which equates to a salary of $73,299 per year based on a 40-hour week.


  • Truck drivers
  • Administrators
  • Legal clerks
  • Secretaries
  • Bookkeepers
  • Sales persons
  • Several other occupations on skill level 4 and 5 of the ANZSCO codes


Job offer; skilled 50
Work experience, 10 years and more

Two years is 10 points, and increases every two years with 10

Age; 20 to 39 30
Age; 40 to 44 20
Age; 45 to 49 10
Age; 50 to 55 5
Job outside Auckland 30
Qualification recognised by the NZQA; Diplomas 40
Qualification recognised by the NZQA; Diplomas

Note; the list of qualifications exempted from assessment has been revised.



Partner level 7 or 8 Degree NZQF only 10
Partner skilled employment on skill level 1,2, 3 earning above $24.00 per hour.
Bonus points for earning above $46.98 per hour. 20
Bonus points for 12 months’ work in NZ

No additional points for extra years

  • Close family
  • Absolute skills shortage
  • Future growth

To submit an expression of interest and to apply for residence the following criteria must be met.

  1. You must have 160 points.
  2. You must meet above salary and skill level thresholds.
  3. All persons 16 years and older must pass the IELTS (English language tests). It is only valid for 24 months.
  4. All persons to have acceptable standard of health
  5. All persons above 17 to have acceptable character requirements and must submit Police clearances which is less than 6 months old.

Jan Barnard


Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Networking enriches your experience

One thing I’ve learnt living in New Zealand is that there are opportunities to fulfil your purpose and passion in life. Sometimes these come knocking or fall into your lap, but mostly it’s about actively looking for them. It helps to leave your comfort zone and talk to people. Networking is key.

New Zealanders are generally, warm, welcoming people and many welcome you in, but in many instances, you need to take the first step.

There are music, craft, collectors, parent networking, health and exercise, cooking and gardening groups, to name a few, and these are regularly advertised in local papers and on community noticeboards.

There are a number of Newcomers Networks in towns throughout New Zealand. Many are run and attended by members of the Citizens Advice Bureau, local multi-cultural councils and volunteer networks.

The Multi-Cultural Council in Nelson Tasman, for example, is about to start a series of workshops for new immigrants who they say “bring diversity and vibrancy to the region creating a richer mix of people.” The workshops form part of their research to find out what they can do to help people settle into their new home.

This week one of our clients who was interested in starting a business accepted an opportunity to attend a workshop on self-employment for partners (of skilled working migrants) on open work visas. It was organised by a local branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau. To illustrate the value of this experience, click on the excerpt from the workshop.

Connecting Locally

Three more wonderful examples of proactively finding out how New Zealand ticks, and becoming part of the fabric of this inspiring country include joining:– an online community of neighbours that talk to each other, sell or give stuff away to those that need it, alert each other to events, activities, risks, garage sales, etc. in the neighbourhood. – New Zealand has a great volunteering culture and many say the country is effective because of this fact. Becoming a volunteer is a great way to meet people, make new friends, learn about the country, get work experience, give something back to the community, and have fun.

Similar to the Newcomers Network is the online social hub called Meetup. Find any promoted social or special interest group in your area. You can join anything from Writing, Hobbies, Dance, Pets, Sci-fi, Photopraphy and Culture, to Career and Business groups. Happy hunting!

Finally, having a disability needn’t be a liability. There are employment agencies that specialise in helping people with disabilities find work and empower them with skills to find and keep the jobs they enjoy doing. One such organisation is Workbridge. Visit the Workbridge website for more information about their services and where to find them in towns across New Zealand.

Click on our Greatlife Immigration Services tab to find out more about making New Zealand your new home and making the right connections.

Author: Lindsay Neumann and Photograph of Hot-air balloons: Brian Livingstone for Greatlife Immigration Services

Posted in blog

Greatlife Immigration Services launches BLOG

great life logo

Welcome to our new Great Life Immigration Services blog!

Here we will share with you why we love living in New Zealand and how we can help you get here, and stay here, each step of the way. We invite and encourage you to become part of the fabric of this amazing country!

Towards the end of 2016, we decided it was time to upgrade and improve our website and modernise our logo. The idea for the blog took shape and we are now proud to share this with all our old and new clients.

In starting a blog for the first time I realise again how important it is in life to be part of a team. The Greatlife Immigration Services team is no different, and I am thankful for the extremely competent Team members that keep us moving.

The idea behind the logo is to impress the motion of the immigration process, which is like the sea and the tides. Laws and circumstances may change, but just as the waves are a constant certainty, so are the team members that keep Greatlife rolling and moving forward!

Just to name everyone in an informal way is my way of saying thank you for being so wonderful and supportive.

Ronel manages all the inquiries and the office processes. She also ensures the admin and emails are handled and directed efficiently.

I have two wonderful assistants; Gerda and Elena. Gerda is in Cape Town and manages all our clients in South Africa. She lends a helping hand and sympathetic ear to numerous family members who are still stuck in SA whilst waiting for the main applicant to find work in NZ!

Elena in Auckland, is a New Zealand immigration law graduate who holds a degree in modern foreign languages and literature. She is fluent in ItalianSpanish, French and Chinese. Elena is an invaluable member of our team and we are waiting for her license to be issued this yearShe will then take on some of the licensed adviser’s tasks amongst other duties.

Tanya of Firestarter Design (, is the brainchild and designer of our website, and the new spic looking logo is also her innovative work!

Lindsay created our blog, writes blog posts and assists with our marketing! She will continue to add interesting articles and news.

Brian, a qualified and experienced professional photographer will be providing some beautiful photos to paint the greatness of New Zealand to you, the readers!

I have the privilege to be a part of NZAMI, New Zealand’s leading professional association for immigration advisers since 1989NZAMI works closely with Immigration New Zealand and the Immigration Advisers Authority, in their commitment to building the professionalism of the immigration industry in New Zealand. This membership helps me to remain at the crest of the wave.

I hope you all will enjoy the articles and benefit one way or another. It is important to know that our clients become part of our Greatlife Immigration Services team. Always remember we are here for you!

Keep in touch!

Jan Barnard

Posted in blog