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Embracing Opportunities: A Guide to Work, Life, and Entrepreneurship in New Zealand


With its awe-inspiring landscapes, forward-thinking society, and booming economy, New Zealand beckons individuals from all corners of the globe. It’s where you can chase the thrill of a rewarding career, revel in a high quality of life, and unleash your entrepreneurial spirit in a land of endless possibilities.

New Zealand, highly favoured among immigrants, experienced a notable surge of 130,800 migrants in 2023, exceeding the pre-COVID average of 121,400 for January (2002–2020). This increase in immigration underscores New Zealand’s reputation for hospitality and inclusivity, solidifying its position as one of the most inviting nations globally.

New Zealand, renowned for its breathtaking scenery, rich cultural tapestry, and unparalleled quality of life, attracts immigrants from across the globe. With its impressive ranking as the 2nd most peaceful country in the 2021 Global Peace Index, New Zealand stands out for its commitment to safety, political harmony, and inclusiveness. Combining modern urban amenities with the splendor of nature, from pristine coastlines to majestic peaks, New Zealand presents an idyllic haven for individuals craving a harmonious lifestyle.

This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of pursuing work, embracing the Kiwi lifestyle, and launching your entrepreneurial journey in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Work Opportunities:

New Zealand’s economy boasts many industries, presenting abundant opportunities for skilled professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. At the forefront of these employment pathways is the Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), which serves as the primary temporary work visa in the country.

The AEWV program underwent significant developments, with accreditation applications opening on 23 May 2022, followed by Job Check applications on 20 June 2022 and work visa applications on 4 July 2022. As of 17 April 2024, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has approved 117,929 AEWV applications, with 34,624 accredited employers.

The Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), a cornerstone of New Zealand’s immigration system, is designed to streamline the recruitment process for skilled workers. It empowers accredited New Zealand employers to fill critical roles and address skill shortages efficiently. Moreover, the visa program offers a pathway to residency for individuals in demand across various sectors, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth and development.

With the Entrepreneur Work Visa, New Zealand extends a warm welcome to entrepreneurs. This visa category is a testament to New Zealand’s commitment to fostering innovation and business growth. It invites ambitious individuals to establish and expand their ventures in a supportive, business-friendly environment where innovation, collaboration, and resilience are celebrated.

Applicants for an Entrepreneur Work Visa must showcase a solid business plan, adequate investment capital, and a genuine intent to contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. This visa is essential for individuals desiring to engage in business within New Zealand. It requires an investment of NZD 100,000, a comprehensive business plan, and the ability to score 120 points on our points scale.

Navigating the Green List and Minimum Wage:

Central to New Zealand’s employment landscape is the Green List, a compilation of occupations facing shortages of skilled workers. Whether you’re a healthcare professional, IT specialist, tradesperson, or educator, understanding the Green List categories and their alignment with visa pathways is essential for pursuing work opportunities in the country. By leveraging the Green List, skilled migrants can capitalise on in-demand roles and contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth and prosperity.

In addition to employment opportunities, it’s crucial to understand New Zealand’s minimum wage and Median wage regulations. The minimum wage in NZ is NZD 23.15. The government sets the minimum wage to ensure that workers receive fair compensation for their labour. By staying informed about minimum wage rates and entitlements, employees and employers can uphold workplace standards and promote economic fairness in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, the median wage stands as a pivotal benchmark, reflecting the nation’s economic vitality and the quality of life for its residents. Positioned at the midpoint of the wage distribution, it signifies the income level where half of the population earns more and half earns less. As of Feb’2024, the median wage in New Zealand was NZD 31.61, showcasing the country’s dedication to equitable compensation and opportunities for its workforce.

Effective 28 February 2024, New Zealand will implement a new median wage rate of $31.61 per hour, impacting various facets of the immigration system. This adjustment in wage thresholds will apply to several visa categories, including the Skilled Migrant Category, the Green List Straight to Residence and Work to Residence visas, and the Parent Category residence class visa. The wage threshold for the Transport Sector Work to Residence Visa will align with the new median wage, except for bus drivers.

Life in New Zealand:

Beyond work, New Zealand offers a lifestyle that’s second to none, characterised by its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and welcoming communities. From the pristine beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula to the majestic fjords of Fiordland National Park, New Zealand has no shortage of outdoor adventures. Hiking, surfing, skiing, and bungee jumping are just a few activities awaiting outdoor enthusiasts in this picturesque paradise.

For families, New Zealand’s education system is renowned for its high-quality and student-centred approach. Schools and universities prioritise creativity, critical thinking, and holistic development from early childhood education to the tertiary level. With a strong emphasis on outdoor learning and cultural diversity, New Zealand schools prepare students for success in an ever-changing world.

Starting a Business:

For aspiring entrepreneurs, New Zealand offers a fertile ground for business innovation and growth. Whether you’re launching a tech startup in Wellington, a boutique winery in Marlborough, or a sustainable fashion brand in Auckland, the Entrepreneur Work Visa provides a pathway to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality. With access to incubators, accelerators, and funding opportunities, entrepreneurs in New Zealand can navigate the complexities of business ownership with confidence and resilience.


As you embark on your journey to work, live, or start a business in New Zealand, remember that the Land of the Long White Cloud offers boundless opportunities for growth, discovery, and fulfilment. By harnessing the insights and resources provided in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of immigration, embrace the Kiwi way of life, and unleash your potential in one of the world’s most desirable destinations. Whether pursuing a career in a thriving industry, immersing yourself in the country’s natural wonders, or launching your venture, New Zealand welcomes you with open arms and endless possibilities.

About ICL Immigration : ICL Immigration, based in Auckland, is an established licensed immigration adviser with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. We’ve helped over 1,000 immigrants realise their New Zealand settlement dreams.

ICL Immigration  specialise in various visa services, including student, residency, work visas and business-related services like employer accreditation. We ensure personalised solutions for individuals and businesses aiming to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.

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