Migrant Tales – Difficulty Finding a Job in New Zealand?


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Even returning migrants with NZ experience find it hard to get work

Continuing in our Migrant Tales series – first hand accounts of the migrant experience of New Zealand.

Migrants are often attracted into parting with hefty visa fees with stories of alleged staff and skills shortages in New Zealand. The reality is very different.

Here’s a migrant tale taken from an emigration forum, showing that even returnees are finding it tough to get a job. If you’ve been tempted by NZ be sure to get a job contract signed and sealed before you leave home…

A bit about me: Originally from Bath. Moved with my parents to Christchurch when I was 18 years old back in 2006, lived/worked here four years, then got itchy feet to experience more of UK/Europe as I felt I had ‘unfinished business’ there. So moved back to the UK on my own in the second-half of 2010.

Worked/lived in UK for 5.5 years, then moved back to Chch in January this year – I have a permanent NZ resident visa. I planned on coming back to NZ next year after gaining more experience as a Business Analyst, but my father got diagnosed with a tumour at the end of last year, so I came back sooner.

Since being back I’ve found it really, REALLY difficult getting a job here! I have over 5 years experience in Business Project Administration, (6 months as a Business Analyst for a large financial services company) and a Master’s degree in Journalism which has transferable skills. I’ve applied for over 100 jobs this year and I’ve only been invited for one interview – which was a recruitment agency that (kindly) took a chance on me! They’ve actually been very helpful so far.

I’ve discovered there isn’t necessarily a shortage of jobs out there, but it’s getting an employer to take a chance on you that’s key. I’ve also been to a professional careers advisor here to hone my CV/cover letters which are now as good as they can be, but no luck yet. And I’ve been applying for jobs a level or two down, as I’m prepared to start at the bottom and work my way up again. I’m still waiting for that all important bite…

What did make me chuckle the other day was receiving an email from a recruitment consultant in the UK – that I haven’t had contact with for over a year! – asking if I’m interested in a particular job and would I like it, hey-ho.

What are your experiences?”

16 thoughts on “Migrant Tales – Difficulty Finding a Job in New Zealand?

  1. Hi, I think your site is really good and hope that would be migrants to NZ take note. Some of the comments come from angry people but they are by far the minority. This site tells it like it is. Been here 20 years now and still feel the same about many of the above issues/ things that could have been changed here but haven’t. If you don’t have money for a house and a job, don’t come.

    • I was surprised to find this site and realise that I shared observations about NZ with other people. I am raising my children here and they are Kiwis but I could never figure out why they are in some way ‘outsiders’. This site has certainly given me a lot of knowledge from many people who have grown up here but don’t quite fit in. I say this from a South Island perspective.

    • I have been rung a number of times over the years by these recruitment consultants. The conversation typically goes like this

      Consultant – ” I have a plane load of xxx (nationality) arriving on Friday. Do you have any work for them”

      Me – ” We are not actively hiring at the moment as things are slow and wish to keep our current employees in work (To be honest don’t believe the hype about endless jobs and a booming economy – its BS- The place is teetering on the edge but everyone is burying thier heads in the sand). However, if things do pick up I would be happy to discuss. What skills are on offer

      Consultant – “I don’t really know specifics, but they arrive on Friday. DO you want to employee them” .

      And that is were my conversation ends. as I am so appalled by what they are doing. Basically the consultant has lied to get them on the plane and into NZ, had them pay exorbitant fees and then throw them to the wolves .

      In the end they will probably get a job with an unscrupulous employer, who wont commit to them, get paid minimum wage and get screwed over.

      Happens all the time

      • It’s bloody disgusting. I used to work for Sanfords in Christchurch, a mussel processing factory, and 80% of the staff there were Filipino. Gee, I wonder.

  2. I have been through the same process regarding getting work. There are too many psychopaths here. It’s a waste of time. I suggest becoming as independent as possible. Grow your own food. Just survive on what you can. Humans are remarkable for surviving. Trust your instincts they will save you. Go work at these pointless jobs. I have done them (furniture removing, stacking shelves). I have worked with the most disgusting human beings here. Especially in office related jobs. I have seen their soul’s and they are truly dark and evil. It’s enough to make you want to hang yourself. Hold on, survive that is all you need to do.

    • Bet you only think you have worked with the most disgusting people here,my narcissistic fat lazy sisters doing a mail order law degree,now if she ever gets a job God help her coworkers,she could teach the devil a thing or two about treachory .By 1995 most of the good people had fled N.Z and gone overseas,the people we left to look after the place had either no motivation or criminal histories which prohibited them from leaving,unfortunately they also interbred ,the mess you see now is a result of these unions,John Key decided to return from America where he had happily been stealing money and come back to N.Z where the people are so dumb they wouldn’t notice that he was taking what little money they had left,on top of that he’s actively advertising for more immigrants and telling them there’s a skills shortage here in the land of plenty ,it’d be funny if it wasn’t so blatantly tragic.

  3. Whenever an article comes out about Asian-owned businesses people always abuse them for employing family only blah blah blah. Well when I had a job in Hamilton, my ex-bosses all had their sons working there, and some of them didn’t even have qualifications (this job was science-related, so at least a Diploma in Science was needed), one actually hadn’t even started University! And they were all NZ-born-and-bred Kiwis. Made me so mad since I had just landed that job after hundreds and hundreds of CVs sent out, with a Masters degree! So yeah nah, it’s all about connections here in New Zealand…
    Always makes me laugh when Kiwis complain about immigrants stealing jobs

  4. My family came to NZ in 1966. I was 4. So in all regards a kiwi raised, educated and trained. I travelled the world in my late teens early 20 honing my craft working in some of the best restaurants in the world when I returned to NZ in the late 80’s I couldn’t even get work in a work canteen. And I get daily called a pom by locals.

    Kiwi’s are free and easy in the casual use of racism, and when you request they modify it they get all indignant and tell you to take a chill pill or something equally as ridiculous.

    I had planned , now I’m in my mid 50’s to return to Europe but sadly my fellow countrymen have made a disastrous mistake on the 23rd which throws my entire plan up in the air.

    I despair in what’s happening in the world, the growth of ‘trumpisms” and a pride in ignorance. I thought we’d all learnt from 1930’s style politics. Seems not.

    • My situation was similar, though I was actually BORN in New Zealand. Both my parents were from London, so I was raised British. I was picked on right through my schooling. When I got to the work force, it continued. It took me a while to realise what was going on, but I slowly started to wake up to the covert and sometimes not so covert racism that plagues New Zealand . These days I work for an Australian company using the internet. I refuse to work for Kiwi companies, and have zero tolerance for their abusive employment practices. Like yourself, my plan was to get out of this hell-hole and go live in the UK, but I’m resistant to doing that now after Brexit. Instead, I will probably move to Australia, but I will deliberately seek out a part of Aussie with as few Kiwis as possible.

  5. Get out of Christchurch/NZ as soon as you can. Do not waste your time here. These dickheads are a JOKE and are not employing you because they are racist bigots. Thats it right there in a nut shell. Forget your UK qualifications they don’t give a rats ass. It means jack shit.

    You couldn’t pay me enough to walk into another recruitment agency. They are scum and will waste your time.

    Kiwis want you to have a decade of experience to stack shelves at a supermarket, shovel shit, work on a production line, or whatever crap bottom of the barrel job it is, and advertise the jobs as ‘really important’ .

    I can not find a job to save my life and its been almost 2 year while i wait for a ticket out of this hell hole.

    I’d rather be HOMELESS in the UK than work here. In the UK I know i will have real human beings, banter, sense of humour, decent food, no rugby shoved dow nby throat and its devoid of that insufferable Kiwi accent which now grates on my nerves.

    Bottom line-if you are qualified or even looking for a job in NZ and are simply getting nowhere, its because you are being discriminated against.

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