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Working and Settling in New Zealand: A Guide for US Citizens Working and Settling in New Zealand: A Guide for US Citizens


Working and Settling in New Zealand: A Guide for US Citizens

Discover essential tips for US citizens on working and settling in New Zealand, from visa processes to cultural insights. Your guide to a seamless transition.

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New Zealand’s captivating landscapes, exceptional quality of life, and vibrant job market make it a desirable destination for US citizens seeking international opportunities. This guide delves into the reasons behind New Zealand’s popularity and provides step-by-step guidance for your relocation process.

Why New Zealand is Attractive to US Migrants

New Zealand perfectly blends stunning natural scenery and a high-quality lifestyle. The country’s economy is robust, with solid sectors such as IT, construction, healthcare, agriculture, and tourism actively seeking skilled professionals. For US citizens, New Zealand provides ample career opportunities, attractive salaries, and a safe, welcoming environment, making it an ideal place for professional growth and personal satisfaction.

Read also: 15 Best New Zealand Wool Dryer Balls For 2024

Interest in New Zealand Visas Among US Citizens

There has been a noticeable increase in visa applications from US nationals, showing New Zealand’s increasing appeal:

  • 2023-24: As of March 2024, there were 4,159 applications.
  • 2022-23: There were 8,550 applications.
  • 2021-22: There were 4,841 applications.

These numbers demonstrate US citizens’ strong and growing interest in the lifestyle and career opportunities available in New Zealand.

Visa Options for US Citizens

New Zealand offers a variety of visa options suited for different needs and qualifications:

  • Working Holiday Visa: This visa is particularly popular among young adults, enabling people aged 18-30 to live and work in New Zealand for up to a year. It attracts over 3,000 US applicants annually, offering them a unique chance to gain international work experience while exploring the country.
  • Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV): Introduced in 2022, this visa simplifies the immigration process by merging 12 former skilled worker visa categories into one. Requiring a job offer from an accredited employer and meeting the median wage standard, it draws over 40,000 applications annually, facilitating a streamlined entry for skilled professionals into various industries.

Over the past decade, the major visa categories for US citizens seeking to work and settle in New Zealand have been:

  • Working Holiday Visas: 41,618 applications
  • Skill-based Visas: 20,309 applications
  • Relationship Visas: 13,090 applications
  • Other Visas: Approximately 10,000 applications

These statistics highlight the diverse options available, accommodating temporary and permanent migration.

Wages: What You Can Expect

Financial planning is crucial for your move:

  • NZ Minimum Wage : As of April 2024, it is NZD 23.15 per hour.
  • Median Wage: Standing at NZD 29.66 per hour, the median wage offers a glimpse into the high earning potential for skilled professionals in New Zealand. It reflects a dynamic economic environment where skilled labour is highly appreciated and well rewarded.
  • Planned Increase and Pause: A planned increase to NZD 31.61 per hour was set for February 2024 but has been temporarily postponed. This demonstrates a prudent approach to economic shifts and ensures ongoing stability and growth in the job market.

These wage levels help ensure workers maintain a comfortable lifestyle, with sufficient income to cover living costs and save.


New Zealand remains a top destination for US citizens eager to broaden their horizons. The country not only offers stunning landscapes but also provides robust support through structured immigration processes. Whether you are looking at a short visit or long-term residency, New Zealand’s comprehensive visa system accommodates various goals. Engaging with immigration specialists is advised to ensure a smooth transition, helping turn your aspirations of living in New Zealand into reality.

About ICL Immigration

Located in Auckland, ICL Immigration is an experienced licensed immigration adviser with over 20 years of experience and a remarkable 97% approval rate. Having assisted over 1,000 immigrants in achieving their dreams of settling in New Zealand, we specialise in various visa services, including student, residency, and work visas, alongside business-related services such as employer accreditation. We offer tailored solutions for individuals and businesses looking to navigate New Zealand’s immigration landscape successfully.


  1. https://www.immigration.govt.nz/
  2. https://immigrationconsultancies.com/

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