New Zealand Expatriate Guide – A Guide to Living in New Zealand
As an expat in New Zealand, you will get the opportunity to explore and experience its beautiful landscape, diverse scenery, and unique culture. There is no doubt that it is an expatriate’s paradise and a favorite holiday destination for travelers from all parts of the globe. If you are planning to settle in a foreign land, New Zealand can be a great option. The easy-going Kiwi way of life will make you feel welcomed, at your new home away from home.
New Zealand’s North Island and South Island have almost everything you can expect, to enjoy a peaceful and comfortable stay. The cities have modern facilities to complement a relaxed lifestyle coupled with a favorable work-life balance. Being one of the safest countries in the world, New Zealand’s crime rate is extremely low. Also, the country hardly has any political scandals and religious tolerance is high, making it a haven for expats to gradually settle into their new expatriate life.
The moderate maritime climate in this country is pleasant enough to enjoy both the outdoors as well as the indoors. Mild temperatures and proximity to the sea and mountains offer the ideal climatic condition for a relaxed life. South Island can be very cold during the winter with temperatures as low as -10°C. You can head to Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, or Nelson if you crave for sunshine during the colder months. The best part is that there is hardly any air pollution, so you can stay healthy and fit too. Snow lovers can visit Canterbury and Otago between June and October when there is maximum snowfall in this region.
Traveling Around New Zealand
Driving around the country is the best way to enjoy New Zealand’s natural beauty and scenic attractions. The well-maintained roads make for great road trips across the country. Even though fuel prices are on the higher side, self-driving would be a better option as compared to using public transport. The freedom of moving around at your own pace and as per your desire makes it a viable choice. Prices for car rentals may vary; however, you can check out various websites to strike the best deal.
Safety in New Zealand for Expats
Moving to New Zealand would mean that you are offering the luxury of being secure and safe to your loved ones. The anti-gun culture and the strict regulations to control their use have reduced the crime rates drastically, despite the recent mass shooting. Apart from petty thefts and pickpocketing incidents in large cities, New Zealand is a safe nation to live in. After Iceland, New Zealand is ranked the second safest country in the world, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index.
Healthcare in New Zealand for Expats
A public healthcare system introduced in the 20th century is still present, even after going through various reforms. Currently, the country’s healthcare system is a mix of both public and private healthcare options. Know more about healthcare in New Zealand by clicking this CDC link.
Public Healthcare in New Zealand
Public medical care includes free or subsidized treatment in various public hospitals for permanent residents and citizens. Expats have to get registered with a general practitioner and have a valid work permit or permit of permanent residency to get assistance from the system. You need to hold a work permit for at least two years to be eligible for government healthcare.
Funded through taxes, public healthcare in New Zealand is affordable as you can get medical treatments free or at subsidized costs. Apart from subsidized emergency treatment, the system offers some almost free services too, including GP visits, dental care for children, maternity and postnatal care, health checkups and tests, ambulance services, etc. Expats can also apply for membership to their local PHO (Primary Health Organisation). By becoming a part of this state-funded program the consultation fees and medicine costs are drastically reduced.
Private Healthcare in New Zealand
Expats living in New Zealand can opt for private healthcare facilities if they want to have access to top-quality medical treatments and avoid long waiting time. They have to purchase international healthcare insurance from a renowned insurer to get adequate health coverage. New Zealand is home to a wide variety of private healthcare facilities ranging from radiology clinics and specialists to start-of-the-art testing labs. If you don’t have a permanent residence permit, opting for a global private medical insrance plan can be your best bet.
If you are planning to start an expatriate life in New Zealand, here is a list of the various types of insurance coverage you may require:
- International Health Insurance
- Expat Life and Disability Insurance
- Travel Insurance
- Evacuation Coverage
- Group Expat Insurance Plans
Health Insurance is Vital for Expats in New Zealand
Private health insurance costs may be very high in New Zealand; however, purchasing them will give you peace of mind during your stay. Check out if your employer can offer medical cover as part of your employment contract because healthcare is quite expensive in this part of the world.
Check out the healthcare facilities available at the town or city you decide to finally settle in. It is important to understand that though New Zealand covers a large area of land, it is sparsely populated, and the majority of healthcare providers are located in the bigger cities or urban areas. If you are moving to a place which is far away from the cities, you may end up driving long distances just to get basic medical aid.