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Before you start reading the information on this site, I must point out the following.
I am not an immigration agent.
I have no intention in becoming an immigration agent.
I am happy to give general advice based on my experiences going through the system.
I am happy to exchange e-mails (see contact details on home page)of a general nature pertaining to life and work in NZ as a teacher.
I will not accept any monies in exchange for my advice (though a bottle of whisky is never refused)

Immigration to New Zealand

(Intended for Teachers and other Professionals)

OK, you've looked over the information available (check the index) and you've decided that this is the place for you.
How do you start.

If you only want to come as a tourist, just to see our lovely country, then from the UK, you are visa free, and on entry into NZ, your passport will be stamped and given a 6 month visitor's permit.  You cannot legally work in NZ under this permit, but you are free to go anywhere, and can depart and return as often as you wish.  
You must however have good health, no major convictions and sufficient money to support yourself while here.  You must have a return air ticket in your possession.
All of these requirements are summarised here.

If you decide that you would like to come and work here, but don't know if you want to stay for the rest of your life, then you have two choices.
If you are under 30 and have no children, then you can apply for a Working Holiday Permit.  This will allow you to stay in NZ for up to 23 months, and will allow you to work (in a temporary position) for up to 12 months.
Like a visitor's permit, you will need to show a return ticket, and have sufficient funds (or a job) to support yourself while you are here.
If you enjoy your life here, you can still then apply for a;

Work Permit.  
This permit (and visa), if granted, will allow you temporary residence in New Zealand while you are employed.. It will not cover any partners or children, who will have to apply for their own permits and visas.  If you become unemployed, then your permit may be cancelled, and you may have to leave.
There are some restrictions on leaving and re-entering NZ, mostly administrative, and you may need to re-apply if coming back in (more charges and fees).  If you have children, then some areas of education my attract larger fees than for NZ citizens and residents.
If you decide that you want to stay for a longer term, then you can go down two routes.

If you have been working for over two years, and you are earning more than $45,000 and you are under 55, then you can apply under the Residence from Work policy for a Permanent Residence Permit.

If you have been working for less than 2 years, then you may apply for a Permanent Residence Permit under the Skilled Migrant policy.

New Zealand has a fairly liberal immigration policy.  It accepts large numbers annualy from the UK, Pacific Islands, Somalia and Zimbabwe.
It divides the immigrants into different streams, each with its own criteria.
Prospective migrants from the UK would normally apply under the Skilled Migrant category.  This category operates under an Expression of Interest (EOI) point system.  
You answer the questions asked, and points are awarded for qualifications, employment status, relatives in NZ, etc.
There is even a free on-line estimation of points service, which would indicate how many points your application would score.  
Currently (March 2008) the point threshold is 140 points.  If you score at or above this level, you will probably be asked to apply for Permanent Residence.  
It is possible to hit this number of points without a job or job offer in NZ, but it would be difficult. (more on the point scoring system later)

It should be noted that the EOI is only the first step.  If your points are sufficient, then your EOI will be drawn from the pool of EOIs during the fortnightly filtering process.  An announcement of a minimum point level is made, and all EOIs above that level are eligible to be drawn.  EOIs are also pre-screened, to ensure that the major details are correct, and that no inaccuracies have crept into the application.

If Immigration New Zealand (INZ) draws your EOI, a more detailed check will be made, and if it is found to be correct, you will be asked to apply for Permanent Residence.
The procedure is summarised below (taken from the INZ website)
Before you commence the process of applying for a Permanent Residence, you should prepare by doing the following (more details later):
  • Obtain certified (by a JP or Notary Public) copies (at least two of each document) of;
    • Your qualifications, including:
      • School qualifications
      • Degree certificates
      • Post Graduate Certificates
      • Course transcripts (all of the papers/modules you have sat and passed)
      • Letters of reference (detailed, with courses taught) from your current employer.
      • Marriage certificates (if any)
      • Proof of co-habitation (joint bank accouunts, house rentals etc.)
      • Birth Certificates (You, your partner, children)
  • Birth Dates and personal details of siblings and parents (information only, don't need to be certified)
      • Certificates of nationalisation (if any)
      • Passport (Key data pages)
      • Photographs (passport sized) get at least 5 pairs.
      • Evidence of (lack of ) criminal record from Scotland Yard (even if you live in Scotland, N.Ireland or Wales)
      • Offer of employment in NZ (if any)
      • GTC or STC registration
      • NZQA Recognition of Non-New Zealand awarded Degree
      • New Zealand Teaching Council Registration 
    • You will also probably need an Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number so you will be able to work for an NZ employer
Not required for the application process, but needed for everyday use is a bank account.
Most NZ banks will let you open an account from the UK or anywhere else, but will need evidence of identity and address.
An account is required by your employer, as all schools electronically transfer your pay into your account.
It will be needed by you for many things, but mainly for an EFTPOS card.  Kiwis tend to pay for almost everything by electronic funds transfer, like a UK Switch card.

Before going into more details, it may be prudent to calculate how much you will have to pay to complete the application process and come and work in NZ.
I've detailed the costs (March 2008) below.  The figures in RED are the ones I would expect you would have to pay if you follow a conventional approach.  The figures in BLUE are other fees you might have to pay if you are coming into NZ by another approach.
All prices are in New Zealand Dollars.
Type of service Fee in New Zealand Fee in Pacific Fee from anywhere else
Work Visa (Allows you entry and re-entry to NZ) $240  $240 $240
Work Permit (allows you to stay and work) $240 - $240
Working Holiday (Must be under 30, no kids, max 23 months) $120 - $120
Expression of Interest (online form) $400 $400 $400
Residence Permit $1400 $1200 $1800
Returning Resident's Visa $140 $140 $140
Migrant Levy (per person on application, to a max. of $1200) - - $300
NZQA Pre-assessment (for EOI only), per qualification - - $75
NZQA full assessment - - $450
NZQA fast-track (additional paymernt to get results back ASAP) - - $150
Immigration Medical check (average, may vary) per person $350 - -
Teaching Council Registration $120 - -
Total for a single applicant - - $4115
Total for a couple (partner not applying for NZQA status) - - $5385

Remember the fees above are just to cover the basic paperwork.  I've also included below a rough estimate on the costs of getting here and establishing yourself. (and family).  NOTE: The air fares are returns.  If you come in on a visitors or a working visa, you must have a return air ticket.

Items Cost (Single) Cost (Couple)
Air Fare (return) $2,440 $4,880
Car Hire (2 weeks) $630 $630
Flat Rental (1 month) $1,600 $1,600
Removal (clothes, belongings and furniture). Takes 4-6 weeks to arrive $7,300 $7,300
Food and essentials ( 1 month) $400 $800
Total $12,370 $15,210

From the data, you will need between $16,400 and $20,500 just to arrive, work and survive for the first month.
Teachers are paid every two weeks, but the centralised company (PayServe) which calculates and makes the payments, often takes between 2 and 8 weeks to get your details into the system.  Most schools can help out by making a cash advance on your salary if PayServe stuffs up.

There is however a plus side.  If you fulfil the necessary criteria, you may be eligable for an International Relocation Grant of $4000.  Check the Teachers Recruitment Web Site for more details.