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Moving to New Zealand From the UK

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

1st Jun 2023 (Last updated on 16th Feb 2024) 11 minute read

New Zealand is a great country to consider moving to as a British expat. It provides a fantastic quality of life and has an array of different job opportunities to consider. Being a smaller country, with a population of just under 5 million people, it provides a quieter and slower pace of life.

According to the 2018 New Zealand Census, 210,915 British expats live in New Zealand, making up 4.49% of the population. These numbers are likely to continue to rise as more people are looking to move from the United Kingdom.

While making the move to New Zealand is a big decision and is a huge distance from the UK, there are many positives for doing so. In this article, we have discussed everything you need to know before making the move, from visa types to education systems.

  1. Why Are People Moving From the UK to New Zealand?
  2. Types of Australian Visas
  3. How to Apply For a New Zealand Visa
  4. New Zealand Citizenship
  5. Cost of Removals to New Zealand From the UK
  6. Property Prices
  7. Work and Salary
  8. Cost of Living
  9. Healthcare
  10. Education
  11. Importing a Vehicle
  12. Culture
  13. Is it Worth Moving to New Zealand From the UK?

Why Are People Moving From the UK to New Zealand?

There are many reasons why British expats are choosing to move to New Zealand. One of the main reasons is the fantastic standard of living that New Zealand offers. While the cost of living is still quite high, wages are a lot higher on average in comparison to the UK. This means that people looking to move will have a significantly higher amount of disposable income to use at their leisure.

While the New Zealand weather can be unpredictable, in general, it’s better than the UK climate. New Zealand offers a far better work-life balance, and the culture is one that is open, accepting and focused on equality.

There are beautiful natural landscapes to experience such as the Southern Alps and Lake Wakai. Kiwis are known for their friendly and easy-going way of life. It’s easy to see why many Brits are choosing to leave the United Kingdom to live in New Zealand.

Types of Australian Visas

British citizens can move to New Zealand, but you will need to ensure you have applied for the correct visa. There are several different options to consider depending on why you’re moving to Australia.

Here are some of the different visa options to consider:

Temporary Visas

  • Working Holiday Visa - For those aged 18-30 looking to work in New Zealand. This is valid for 23 months.
  • Work to Residence Visa - For those under the age of 55. Allows a person to work and live in the country for 30 months.
  • Entrepreneur Work Visa - For those looking to invest in the country
  • Student Visa - This allows students to live and study in New Zealand

Resident Visa

To live in New Zealand on a permanent basis, you will need to be approved for a resident visa. There are many different options available, including:

  • Work
  • Study
  • Family Reunification
  • Investment

UK citizens looking to fill the gaps in the skill shortage listings are favoured by the New Zealand immigration system.

If you’re visiting New Zealand for up to 6 months initially, you won’t need a visa. However, you will need to have a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA). This will cost $17 (£8.21) and is valid for 2 or 5 years.

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How to Apply For a New Zealand Visa

To apply for a New Zealand visa, you will need to follow the application process through the New Zealand Immigration website. The application process is all completed online. You will need to send off documentation such as your passport, supporting documents and application forms to be approved.

For the Essential Skills Work Visa, approval is based on a points system. To be accepted you will need to have 180 points. This is based on your skill sets, qualifications, age and other criteria.

New Zealand Citizenship

If you want to become a New Zealand citizen through the grant system, you will need to have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years. You will also need to be proficient in English and meet character requirements.

New Zealand allows people from the UK to have dual citizenship. This means you don’t have to renounce yourself as a UK citizen.

Cost of Removals to New Zealand From the UK

Being over 11,500 miles away from the UK, you can expect removals to New Zealand to be a significant amount. Our international removals cost data displays that it will cost around £5,750. If you’re looking to use additional services such as packing, this can cost an average of £250.

When shipping to New Zealand, you can choose between sea or air freight. The exact shipping costs will vary depending on the type of shipping used, the number and weight of your goods, and the distance travelled.

Here at Compare My Move, we can assist you with your move. Simply fill out our form and we will place you in contact with up to 6 international removal partners.

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Property Prices

When purchasing a property in New Zealand, you can expect to pay around $10,106.32 (£4925.32) in the city centres and $8,030.04 (£3913.44) outside of the city centre. Interestingly, these prices are actually higher compared to the UK. In the UK houses cost £4,413.02 on average in city centres, and £3,298.61 outside of the city centres.

When it comes to renting in New Zealand, a 1-bedroom house costs $1,851.51 (£902.33) on average and a 3-bedroom house is around $3,059.29 (£1490.94). In the UK a 1-bedroom house will cost around £907.02 per month, and for a 3-bedroom house, it will be £1,608.53. While property prices are higher in New Zealand, it’s slightly cheaper to rent.

Some of the best places to live in New Zealand include Auckland, Wellington, New Plymouth and Tauranga. Expensive areas to live in are Coatesville and Herne Bay. More affordable areas are Rotorua and Hamilton. Dunedin and Auckland have large expat communities.

*Data taken from Numbeo statistics

Work and Salary

In New Zealand, the average wage is $97,300 (£50,970.12) per annum. This wage is nearly double the average UK salary of £25,971 which is a significant increase. This provides a larger amount of disposable income for workers in New Zealand, which will be very noticeable when moving from the UK.

According to Careers Government New Zealand, some of the most popular jobs in New Zealand include:

  • Police Force
  • Nursing and Healthcare
  • Accounting
  • Teaching
  • Electrician

As New Zealand has a small population, there are many job openings that need to be filled for specific skill set shortages. This skills shortage can be great if you’re qualified in these fields and are looking to move to the country. You may be more likely to have a visa accepted as you can help to improve New Zealand’s economy.

Some of the in-demand job roles according to Grab Jobs include:

  • Customer Service
  • Psychology
  • Software Developers
  • Bartenders
  • Graphic Designer

Working in New Zealand is not too dissimilar to the UK. Some of the most popular jobs according to the 2021 census in Britain include education, construction and retail.

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    Cost of Living

    The cost of living in New Zealand is 6% less expensive compared to the UK. While this isn’t a significant difference it is still noticeable.

    Here is a comparison of the living costs for both countries:

    Cost of Living ExamplesNew ZealandUnited Kingdom

    Public Transport Pass (Monthly)

    $153.89 (£75)


    Utility Bills (Monthly - One Person)

    $105.26 (£51.30)


    Gym Membership (Monthly)

    $63.58 (£33.30)


    Taxi (5 Miles)

    $27.68 (£14.50)


    Restaurant Dinner (2 People)

    $97.94 (£51.30)


    1 Cinema Ticket

    $18.33 (£9.60)


    Beer (0.5L)

    $4.70 (£2.46)


    Chicken Breast (1kg)

    $13.82 (£7.24)



    $5.06 (£2.65)


    *Data taken from LivingCost.Org

    As you can see from the examples given above, many things in New Zealand are more expensive compared to the UK. Even so, the overall cost of living is lower, especially when utility bills are taken into consideration.


    Healthcare in New Zealand is like the NHS in some ways, as they have a free healthcare system. The General Medical Service is publicly funded through taxes and the majority of services are free. Other services people are required to pay for at a low cost.

    While private health insurance isn’t necessarily needed, some people will choose to pay for this. If you’re not a permanent resident and have a temporary visa, it’s recommended to have private healthcare insurance.

    It’s useful to note that dental costs are not covered as part of the New Zealand free healthcare system. This can be quite an expensive service to use if you need to pay for treatment.


    The New Zealand education system is fairly straightforward. While school is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16, children can attend school for free from ages 5 to 19. Most children choose to leave school at 17.

    A pupil will need to be a permanent resident to receive free education. There are both state and private schools in New Zealand. Top performing schools include Pinehurst School, St Cuthbert’s College, and Diocesan School For Girls.

    As New Zealand is a predominantly English-speaking country, it’s easier for British children to settle into state schools. New Zealand also has Māori medium education where education is partially taught through the Māori language.

    The education system is made up of 3 different stages. These stages are:

    • Early childhood education: 0-5 years
    • Primary education: 5-12
    • Secondary education: 13-17

    The quality of education in New Zealand universities is of a high quality. All the universities are rated well in the QS World University Rankings. There are only 8 universities in the country, but when you consider how small the country is, this is a good amount of choice. Though, compared to the 160 universities in the UK, choices are more limited.

    Some of the best universities include:

    • Auckland University of Technology
    • University of Auckland
    • Lincoln University
    • Massey University
    • Victoria University of Wellington

    University in New Zealand isn’t free. According to IDP Education, an undergraduate degree will cost anywhere between $20,500 - $25,000 (£9,916.34 - £12,093.09) each year. The average university course in the UK costs around £9,250 annually.

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    Importing a Vehicle

    If you want to import your vehicle from the UK to New Zealand, it will need to be put through the entry certifier process. While this process can take around 50 days, it’s important to complete. It will assess your vehicle to ensure it’s suitable to be used in the country.

    Tests will be carried out to inspect the condition of the vehicle, its fuel consumption, and verify its identity. Importing a car independently may cause it to be denied when shipped.

    You will need to provide some of the following information when importing a vehicle:

    • Emission standards
    • Ownership papers
    • Fuel consumption certificate
    • Brake standards

    You will need to arrange shipping of your vehicle and be prepared to pay the cost for shipping, Goods and Service Tax and other charges that may apply. Once the vehicle arrives in New Zealand, it will need to be deregistered with the UK authority.

    UK citizens will need to have an Overseas Driver's License to legally drive. This can be used for up to 12 months. After this time, it will need to be changed to a New Zealand driving license. Driving in New Zealand is similar to the UK as they also drive on the left-hand side of the road.

    For more information check the New Zealand Transport Agencies website.


    The culture in New Zealand is open and welcoming. Most people feel a strong connection with being a New Zealander, and they are friendly people. Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand and this culture is important to many people in the country.

    While English is the most spoken language in the country, the native language is Māori. The Guardian states that around 30% of the population can speak the language in some capacity. New Zealand sign language is also an official language of the country.

    Being open-minded and accepting is a big part of New Zealand culture. Acceptance towards all types of nationalities, religions and beliefs is paramount. Being a Pacific island, the country is influenced by many cultures. This includes European, Polynesian and Oceanian.

    Rugby is a huge part of New Zealand culture and is by far the most popular sport in New Zealand. Their team is the best in the world, having won six Rugby World Cups. The All Blacks perform the Haka, a traditional war dance of Maori origin before each game.

    While the UK and New Zealand are culturally similar, it’s important to be respectful of cultural differences when moving to a new country.

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    Is it Worth Moving to New Zealand From the UK?

    If you’re looking to experience life in a new country that’s laid back and has a good balance of work and home life, New Zealand can be a great option to consider. To help you with your decision, here are some pros and cons for the country:


    • Lower cost of living
    • Overall New Zealand is a safe place to live
    • Laid back atmosphere
    • There is a big focus on equality and fairness from the government
    • Rental costs are lower
    • Beautiful scenery and landscape
    • Great work-life balance
    • Good healthcare and education systems
    • Laid-back and relaxed lifestyle


    • House prices are more expensive in New Zealand compared to the UK
    • Due to the ozone layer being thinner in New Zealand, UV rays are particularly high, which does increase skin cancer risks and sunburn
    • The weather can be quite unpredictable and extreme
    • As it’s a smaller island, travel to other locations in the world can be more complicated

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    How much money do you need to emigrate to NZ?

    There isn’t a set amount of money needed to move to New Zealand from the UK. However, it’s important that you have enough money to allow you to live comfortably and in accordance with the cost of living, which is similar to the UK.

    You will need to take into consideration aspects such as rental and property prices, shipping costs, flights, and customs charges in addition to other costs before moving. This will ensure you can be financially stable and can afford to make the move.

    Ashleigh Williams

    Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

    Dave Sayce

    Reviewed by Dave Sayce

    Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

    Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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