New Zealand is one of the countries you can choose to do a working holiday visa (some countries are exempt). The tiny country, split between two islands, is only a three and a half hour flight from Australia, in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean. With volcanoes, waterfalls, snowy mountains, glaciers and black sand beaches, it’s not hard to see why many choose to do a working holiday visa here. So what do you need to get started?

If you’ve previously done a working holiday visa in Australia, as I did, you’ll be pleased to hear that the visa for New Zealand is a lot cheaper. It costs $245NZD, which is roughly £125/145 Euros. The Australian WHV costs 450AUD, which is almost double the price of New Zealand’s WHV. 

There’s a few differences between the two. For example, in Australia you pay for a year and if you want a second year in Australia, you have to do 88 days/3 months regional work in your first year. So fruit picking, farm work etc, and it has to be classed as “regional”, so only certain postcodes apply. You couldn’t do it in Sydney, for example.

New Zealand, you can pay for 1 year, or 2. No farm work is required to do your second year, but you do need to pay for a medical and chest x-ray. These things can be quite costly, especially if get them done back home in the UK. My advice, and from what I’ve been told by other travellers, pay for 1 year, then if you want to get a second year, you can do that (as long as you apply in your first year), but get the medical and x-ray done in New Zealand. It works out a lot cheaper. The cheapest place seems to be Auckland. You can’t break your years up like with Australia. You can’t do your first year, then go back in a few years and do your second year. In New Zealand you have to do both years back to back.

Another difference between the two, is that currently in Australia you can only work for an employer for a maximum 6 months. In New Zealand, you can work for the full 12 months for the same employer. Although, from July 2019, this is changing in Australia, and they’re now allowing you to work for the same employer for 12 months. It was a silly rule in the first place. A lot of employers wouldn’t hire you purely for the reason you could only work for 6 months, and it sucked if you found a job you really liked and didn’t want to leave.

Now here comes the tricky part that does catch some travellers out. Even if you get a second year visa in New Zealand, you can still only work for a maximum of 12 months while in New Zealand. This is classed by the month, not days. So if you only work 1 or 2 days in a month, it still classes as a full month. Bare this in mind if you are taking a job towards the end of the month. This means if you apply for a second year visa, but you’ve worked for the full 12 months in your first year, you will NOT be able to work in your second year. This only applies in New Zealand, not Australia. In Australia you can work as much as you like (as long as you don’t go over the 6 months for the same employer). The reason behind this is that New Zealand don’t want people coming over on working holiday visas and just working, earning money, then clearing off. They want them to actually travel, see New Zealand, and obviously put money into the country in tourism. It’s a good idea, but also sucks as the same time. 

So you’ve got your visa, you know the ins and outs, now to actually arrive in New Zealand. You may be asked to provide evidence of funds when arriving in New Zealand. This is a minimum of $350NZD per month you are here, plus a return flight home, or the funds to show you can purchase a return flight home. So if you are planning on staying for the full 12 months, you’ll need at least $4200NZD, plus around an extra $1000NZD to show you can get a flight home. They don’t always ask for this, and it’s completely randomly picked if they do ask you, so don’t panic! Personally, I didn’t get asked, but I know people who have. It’s worth noting that New Zealand is expensive, and I found it wasn’t as easy as Australia to get a job, so you’ll need some savings if you are coming over here. The wages are also not as good as Australia. So if you’ve just come from Australia expecting the easy life like over there, where you can easily get $25 an hour plus penalties for a basic bar job, think again. Most bar jobs over here pay around $18-19 an hour, no penalties. You don’t get extra for working weekends, bank holidays and you definitely don’t get late night loading over here! 

If you are planning to work in New Zealand, you will need a bank account over here. You can only get paid into a Kiwi bank account. An employer will not accept an Australian bank account, or anything else. My advice is use the ANZ Go Account. There’s no charge for it, all you will need to pay for is your debit card, which is $20 for the year. ANZ is a well known Kiwi and Australian bank, and most towns/cities have an ANZ bank, so if you have any problems with anything, you will be able to get it sorted pretty quick. It’s worth noting if you are with ANZ in Australia, it is not the same account in New Zealand. You will still need to apply for a new one.

A lot of people say you can’t apply for a bank account until you are in New Zealand. I applied online before I arrived in New Zealand, gave them my visa details, told them the date I was arriving, and they had it set up within a couple of days. The day I landed in New Zealand, I had an appointment to go into the bank, finalise it all and the same day I got my debit card and was able to start using it straight away. I advise this, that way you don’t have to be waiting for weeks once you arrive in New Zealand, to get a bank account set up. (I’ve put the link at the bottom)

As well as a Kiwi bank account, to work in New Zealand you will need an IRD number. Most employers won’t even give you a trial/interview without one. So apply for this as soon as you arrive in New Zealand, or as soon as you start applying to jobs. You can apply at the local post office, but this can take a few weeks to arrive. Or you can apply online and it will take a few days (link below). It’s basically your tax number. Like the UK, it’s all automatic over here, so if you are owed any tax money when you leave New Zealand, they will let you know. It isn’t like Australia where you have to lodge all you taxes for the year.

So there you have it, everything you need to get started with a New Zealand working holiday visa. Pack for the cold, it’s freezing over here in the winter! Plus summer doesn’t get too hot either. Bare in mind I am from the UK, so things may differ for you than what I’ve wrote above, depending what country you are from. All details will be on the New Zealand’s government website if you are unsure. Or comment below, I may know the answer after talking to lots of different travellers across the world! For example some countries are not allowed to work for the same employer for 12 months, they have a maximum 3 months. Some countries can also work for the full 23 months if they get a second year visa. 

And finally, enjoy New Zealand! People call it the 8th wonder of the world for a reason. It’s beautiful over here. Follow my blog if you want to know more about New Zealand. More blogs will be arriving soon! 

Apply for ANZ Go Account: Click here

Apply for IRD Number: Click here

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