Posted in New Zealand

5 Things You Need To Do Before Moving to New Zealand

So you have heard of the Top 5 Reasons Why Filipinos Migrate to New Zealand. You are intrigued by the idea of settling down to a country with awesome views and kind-hearted people. You clamour for that much-needed work-life balance. You visualize yourself being in the great outdoors, camping on its vast parks and natural wonders, skiing in the middle of the winter, hiking on its different terrains or swimming in its crystalline waters on weekends.

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Goat Island, just a few hours drive from Auckland

You are inspired by the opportunities and promise of a better life that this country has to offer. And now you ask, what are the next steps you need to consider before moving to New Zealand? Below are some of the things you need to arm yourselves with before plunging into the deep regions of migration:

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Skytower as seen from the Auckland waterfront

1.) Research. Research. And more research. Never underestimate the power of information when moving to a different place. There are tons of things you need to know before diving to a completely different territory and you need to gather as much knowledge of the country as you can possibly muster. The internet is a great source of information but you need to carefully select those trust-worthy sites as scammers are spreading like wildfire in this time and age. New Zealand immigration site immigration.govt.nz will let you chose which visa you wish to apply for and it will provide you with the necessary steps on your application. Since NZ’s residency is based on point system, you can try their online calculator to ensure that your points reach at least 160 as this will make you automatically selected for further assessment. NZ immigration has allotted points for skills, qualifications, age, family ties in NZ, job offer, ability to settle in NZ, etc.

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Hunua Falls

2.) Be financially prepared. Whichever visa you wish to have, there are lots of fees you need to pay in order to be successful in your application and the costs are no laughing matter. Lodging your application, IELTS, assessment of your qualifications all require a huge sum of money and so is having a complete medical check-up especially for the skilled migrant category. Know the cost of living in New Zealand and the amount you need to bring with you while searching for work. Take note that it will take you a couple of months or more before finding a suitable job, so you need to take into account everyday expenses such as food, transportation, accommodation, internet connection, phone bills, etc. that you have to pay while you’re still in the midst of job-hunting.

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Cable cars @ Rotovegas, Rotorua

3.) Get all your documents ready. Have your passport, diploma, transcript of records, certificate of employment, birth certificates, NBI/police clearances, etc. handy. Before lodging your application for EOI (Expression Of Interest), make sure to have all your necessary documents with you so as not to cram with the given grace period of submitting your documents. Once your EOI expires, you need to lodge your application and pay for the necessary fees again.

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Picnic behind cherry blossoms @ Cornwall Park

4.) Create a network of friends and acquaintances in NZ. Maybe you have friends or some distant relatives in NZ? Get in touch with them and connect thru social media.  They can give you tips on what to expect on your first few days, weeks, or months in NZ. They might refer you to some accommodations or even job openings. They can be your set of friends when you have settled down in NZ. There are also lots of Filipino Communities in NZ providing support to new migrants. Be sure to interact with them beforehand.

5.) Be patient. Migrating to a new place is a long and tedious process. You need to be patient while waiting for the results and just hope for the best. Stay positive but be ready with whatever the outcome will be. After all, nothing in this world is 100% guaranteed.

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed immigration consultant. All contents of this article and site are based purely on personal accounts

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Posted in New Zealand

Top 5 Reasons Why Filipinos Move to New Zealand

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Mixture of old and new architecture @ downtown Auckland

Filipinos are a proud race thus the term “Pinoy Pride” is overly used on social media with the cloying #hashtag attached to it. We take pride on our world-class performers such as Lea Salonga, international beauty stand-outs like Pia Wurtzbach and of course Manny Pacquiao who’s ruling the boxing arena for years now.

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View of Auckland City from Mt. Eden

El Nido is often hailed as the most beautiful island in the world and Boracay the best beach there is. But behind these world-renowned personalities , pristine beaches and paradise of islands lies the fact that millions of Filipinos are unemployed, living under 2 dollars a day, and deprived of even the most basic of sustenance. Worsening traffic in the metro is enough to make you pull your hair in anger. Corruption in the government and crimes in the streets are daily news. This never ending list of socio-political issues and the slow economic growth which have been haunting the country for ages now resulted in the diaspora of Filipinos world-wide. Whichever country you go to, you are sure to find a Filipino working or residing there in search for a better future. And New Zealand is fast-becoming the top choice for Filipinos to move to.

So what are the reasons why 40,000 strong Filipinos decide to move to New Zealand?

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Flowers in full bloom @ Rotorua Museum

1.) New Zealand has the least corrupt government in the world. NZ holds this title for more than 5 years now and yet they are not being complacent and still targets to gain more public trust in the long run. There’s nothing like the comfort of knowing that the taxes you pay to the government from your hard day’s work is being utilized in the most efficient way possible; that the government is “actually working” to provide support and service to the people. Integrity, government transparency and public rights are top priorities here and everyone if fervently obliged to adhere to the laws.

2.) New Zealand provides greener pastures (both literally and figuratively). Okay to be honest, the cost of living in New Zealand is high, but if you have a decent job here you can surely provide for your family and still have a little extra for some luxuries or even holidays from time to time. And of course, it won’t hurt that you are also having the most awesome views of rolling hills, turquoise-colored lakes and snow-capped mountains on your way to work. Minimum wage in NZ is 15.25nzd/hour or roughly 550php/hour.

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Serenity and Peace @ Piha Beach

3.) New Zealand is family-friendly. Companies/employers in NZ are very lenient when it comes to family matters. Here, family comes first. You need to take a day off for your daughter’s ballet recital? No problem. You need to take a week off to tend to some family emergency? No problem. And even when you work in the retail industry, you can still enjoy a 9-5 job as most shops and malls here close at  5pm (to give everyone a much-needed quality time with the family). And during Christmas holidays, most companies are having a 2-week shut-down so you can have a full 2 weeks of vacation and Christmas break! How cool is that?

4.) New Zealand is very conducive for having/raising kids. As per the government welfare act, new mothers are entitled to up to 16 continuous week’s paid maternity leave and a further 52 week’s unpaid leave. Pre-natal care and costs of giving birth are also fully covered. Medical and dental check-ups for children are free until they reach 18. Tax credits, weekly allowances, school subsidies and housing supplements are just some of the support given by the government for working families. Plus (and this is a HUGE plus) safety here is second to none.

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Strawberry-picking is a favourite summer activity in NZ!

5.) The Kiwis (New Zealanders) are the kindest in the world! You will be surprised at how a Kiwi will go to great lengths just to help you. There was one time when I got lost and asked for directions when one Kiwi offered to just drive me to the place! You are also sure to get smiles and hellos from people on the streets. At work, Kiwis often start the day with some chitchat of how your weekend was, your plans for the weekend and just about any random stuff to lighten up your mood. The Kiwis are also known advocates for gender and race equality and diversity in the workplace is embraced here. You will feel welcomed in New Zealand regardless of your skin color, accent or beliefs.

Here are just a few reasons why thousands of Filipinos chose New Zealand as their second home. What about you, what are your reasons for moving to New Zealand or other country? Are you planning to move to New Zealand soon? I will be happy to hear your story.

Posted in Auckland, New Zealand

An Ode to a Beautiful Dream

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View of the City from North Head, Devonport

It was a smooth yet tiring 10-hour flight. We glided our way through the plane’s corridors as if on auto-pilot, clasping our luggage tightly like our whole life depends on it. The crisp spring air touched our face as we headed our way out from Auckland airport it made us shiver a bit, a gentle reminder that we are now miles away from the tropical warmth of Singapore.  Familiar smiles greeted and welcomed us to this City of Sails. We heaved a sigh of relief and sincere gratitude to the Almighty God.

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Sailboats @ Half Moon Bay Marina

Finally! We waited 2 long years (which felt like eternity) before our resident visa was stamped in our passport. It was our dream to settle down in New Zealand, search for greener pastures and start our own family here. We’ve heard stories of how conducive the country is for raising kids and that its safety is second to none. Its government and school system are one of the bests in the world and the economy is fairly stable. Though it’s a far-cry from the fast-paced and upbeat lifestyle we had in Singapore, we embraced it’s more relax and laid-back perspective in life. Nothing here is in a rush, time doesn’t slip through your fingers like precious pearls. One can enjoy the serenity and peace that are mostly deprived when one is bourgeoned by deadlines and rat race.

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Fresh blooms @ Auckland Botanical Garden

The skies just seem bluer and the grass greener on this side of the earth. Just a few minutes drive and you will see magnificent bodies of water where you can dip your toes or go on a full swimming sesh if the weather permits. And speaking of weather, this is also the country known for having 4 seasons in a day. Yes, it can be wintery cold in the early morn, summery at noon, heavy foliage falling in twilight then all windy and chilly again in the eve. It is indeed  the stuff where dreams are made of and we are so blessed to be living into such awesomeness!