With more sheep than people and more pine trees than sheep, expats looking for work in New Zealand can certainly count on employment opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Most businesses in New Zealand have a standard five-day, 40-hour work week and are generally open from 8am to 5pm, with a lunch break of between 30 minutes to an hour. That said, businesses often determine their hours according to the needs of their industry, employees and customers. For instance, it is common for employees at hospitals and factories to work outside of regular work hours.


The job market in New Zealand

New Zealand has become a popular country for expats to immigrate to, which means there is stiff competition for the limited available jobs. The biggest issue foreigners may face will be meeting the stringent immigration requirements. Those with specialised qualifications and who are proficient in English will be most successful.

While the country is known for its agricultural output, other large industries in New Zealand include tourism, manufacturing and finance.

Occasionally, the government announces qualified personnel deficiencies in a specific job field and expats in that field will then be actively recruited. This is especially true for towns other than Auckland.

Skills deficiency announcements are published in the Essential Skills in Demand List produced by Immigration New Zealand, which is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The list outlines the job fields and skill sets that are needed in the country, and is a good guide for expats looking for work in New Zealand.

Obtaining or qualifying for a job on this list allows for streamlining of the visa application process, as employers will not have to prove that there are no New Zealanders able to take the position that is applied for. The Essential Skills in Demand List is reviewed and updated annually.

Other industries in New Zealand that continuously provide employment to expat workers include IT, new media, medicine, construction and engineering.

New Zealanders are also known for being great entrepreneurs, and there are many small businesses in the country. This bodes well for expats wanting to move to New Zealand to start up a business, as the government is open to entrepreneurs with a focus on job creation.


Finding a job in New Zealand

The official Immigration New Zealand website is a valuable resource for the most up-to-date information on industries that have a short- or long-term shortage of skilled workers.

Expats can also try searching for jobs through recruitment agencies, in the classifieds section of major newspapers or on online job boards. One example is CareersNZ, which is a government supported website. It provides helpful advice on finding a job in New Zealand, and job postings for both locals and foreigners.

Expats wishing to take up employment in New Zealand must also ensure that they have a valid visa.

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