No Work In Blenheim, Moved To Christchurch

Continuing in our series of Migrants’ Tales – first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.

Today’s tale is taken from an immigration forum, written by the wife of a carpenter.

The couple moved from Guernsey to Blenheim, but found work in very short supply and that Kiwis were offered what work there was in preference to immigrants.

Despite the very tight job market and a ‘jobs for kiwis‘ policy, immigrants are still being told that there are skills shortages in New Zealand because of a shortage of local labour and are actively encouraged to migrate on nothing more than work-to- residence visas.

However, there is no safety net whatsoever for these people and they must support themselves if they cannot find work, or become destitute. Many do fail and skilled migrants from some western countries have been reduced to living on the streets or in vehicles.

In order to find work this couple moved to Christchurch and the husband now works for an agency. Whether this arrangement will work out long-term remains to be seen, for the time being they are trying their best and we wish them well:

“Hello All,

Well, J* and I have now been in NZ for almost 4 months. We came over without job offers so it has been a bit of a struggle at times but things are now going in the right direction.

We were based in Blenheim and were looking for employment in Marlborough/Nelson region. After 10 weeks of applying for numerous jobs, neither of us could get full time employment. J* is a carpenter and managed to get a weeks temporary work but they were not in a position to take him on full time.

We were getting extreamly disheartened and when we asked some of the businesses why they turned us down, the general response was that they were giving preference to Kiwi applications.

Well, I can kind of understand this but it is a shame that they are not choosing applicants who may be more suited or better qualified for the job because they are not Kiwi’s.

So, to cut a long story short, we handed in our notice on our rental in Blenheim, threw our furniture in the back of a lorry and moved to Christchurch!

J* signed up with a trades agency and is now working with a team of carpenters and joiners on the new building opposite the Police Station on Hereford Street.

We are in a rental in Sumner until October and hopefully by then we will have found a place to buy.

So, after a wobbly start, we seem to now be enjoying life in NZ and are looking forward to making some friends and getting properly involved in Kiwi life.


This is a reply that was left for them from someone in Nelson, in a similar situation

“Good luck I know what you mean about looking for work I have been out of work since December and I’m still looking I think everyone has my CV now. It does make me so unhappy that kiwis can treat you like that, most don’t even get back in touch with you. Its not what you know its who. We live in Wakefield Nelson.
I don’t want to go back to the UK as it is really nice here but i just don’t know how long we can live on just one wage.

Anyway good luck with the whole thing hope it all works out for you take care.”

For background to the unemployment situation in New Zealand you may wish to read a blog post we wrote yesterday – “Massive Rush For Jobs in Dunedin“. People from all walks of life, including skilled tradespeople, flooded the Bunnings Warehouse DIY store with thousands of applications for 110 jobs.

It was a similar situation to that experienced in Auckland where a  the Countdown supermarket in South Auckland generated a flood of applications and 2500 people turned up to apply for one of 150 jobs.

Also Read:

Migrants’ Tales – 7 Months In and No Work For Tradesman Husband – depression and other problems finding work in the North Shore, Auckland.

Migrants’ Tales – Teacher Duped By the Hype and Couldn’t Find Work – Qualified US teacher feels duped by NZ immigration hype

Dumb down, if you want to get a job in New Zealand – job seekers being advised to leave qualifications off their CVs so that they can get a job.

Would you like a future with that? The Burgerization of McZealand – The Dept. of Work and Income have struck a deal with a fast food giant to provide work and take 7,000 people off the dole queue, at a cost of $16,000 a head.

Philippines warns citizens about NZ work to residence scheme -“Philippines consul-general Emilie Shi says Immigration New Zealand is not doing enough to warn would-be applicants about the difficulties of finding a job or telling them that Kiwis will be given preference by employers. “Immigration New Zealand continues to say what a great place this country is to come live and work in, but they cover up the fact that it is very difficult to find a job here, or that they will be treated as second-class workers under the scheme”

NZ immigrants forced to live in Third World Conditions – “A migrant worker from Russia said he spent his last $1500 in February on a van which had now become his home:

“Before I bought the van, I had nowhere to go and I had been sleeping on the streets since I lost my job last year, but I knew winter was coming and this is the cheapest way to make sure I have shelter,” he said.

The former engineer, who has a work permit that runs until September next year, says he knows which office and commercial buildings have shower facilities that he can use early in the mornings before workers arrive.

A 33-year-old German architect, who was made redundant a month after she gained her New Zealand residency last year, said she had been living in a $1200 van with her partner, also unemployed, since Christmas…”

4 thoughts on “No Work In Blenheim, Moved To Christchurch

  1. Blenheim, anyone leaving NZ may be entitled to a tax rebate if they’ve paid to much tax pro rata for the tax year, it’s not specific to migrants.

    P Ray.
    If you are no longer be a tax resident and will not be receiving income from New Zealand from the date you leave, you can complete a form IR3 up to the date of your departure.

    If you left permanently send it to the IRD along with a refund application – people leaving New Zealand (IR50) form.

    More details are on the IRD website.

  2. Where’s my tax refund? Looked like 0.00 to me…
    Are there actual numbers we can see, and what posts those people getting “tax refund” amounts, held?
    Otherwise it starts to look a lot like rhetoric.

  3. Hi, yes sorry to hear about that initial experience. But please understand NZ like many other countries is in a recession. No one was ‘treating you like that’. The Government has made it clear to all NZ businesses to support locals with job opportunities first. our economy depends on it, as most overseas workers are entitled to a tax refund when they leave. This equates to many millions going out of the NZ economy and governmental financial structure every year.

    Also, for the record, Im a qualified Kiwi. Im out of work. Im a qualified Plumber here in Blenheim. Why is a qualified Plumber from any other country more skilled than I?
    Does he hold an NZ qualification and licence? No. Same applies to your husband as a Carpenter. NZ tradesmen are regarded very highly internationally.

    Qualifications, skills, background, and where you are from makes no difference at the moment, because there is not enough work to go around in the first place. And some of us can’t pack up and go to CHCH because we have mortages to pay. But good luck to you both,

    It’s the same for everyone here in NZ at the moment… resident or visitor.

    My advice – Most obvious thing to do is research the NZ job market over the internet before you come over here. Search ‘NZ jobs’ and go from there.

    • Thank you for being honest and saying there is not enough work around, not even for the qualified Kiwi tradesmen. Don’t you think it strange then that the government is still encouraging skilled tradesmen to dig deep and meet the costs of emigrating to New Zealand for work that doesn’t exist?

      Immigration in itself is a major revenue generator for New Zealand in both the public and private sectors. Think of how immigrants keep the housing and car markets alive.

      It’s obvious that when the work is around businesses are giving preference to New Zealand tradesmen:

      ” when we asked some of the businesses why they turned us down, the general response was that they were giving preference to Kiwi applications.”

      This is understandable, in a tight job market employers can afford to pick and choose, why take a risk on an immigrant with no NZ experience when there’s hundreds of skilled Kiwis to choose from?

      With reference to

      NZ tradesmen are regarded very highly internationally.

      Could you be more specific please For instance how would a NZ tradesman be regarded in Britain or the US with no local experience or qualifications? and are you not tempted to find work abroad?

Comments are closed.