How To Move To New Zealand Without A University Degree?

Don’t have a university degree but are still tempted by the lifestyle in New Zealand? Relocating without a college degree might sound impossible, but it actually isn’t.

Considering all the key factors will increase your chances of moving to New Zealand without a university degree or certificates of any formal qualification. Getting a job without a degree seems challenging, but tackling it stepwise can make it easier. 

The main requirement for immigration to New Zealand is to possess skills and experience in your field. Preferably, there must be a demand for your knowledge. That said, a university degree will add you points when applying for a visa, but it’s not an official prerequisite.

There are many skills that don’t necessarily require a degree; these include jobs like plumbing, carpentry, electricians, and other labour work. But these jobs need proper work experience and skills in each field that must satisfy the employers. Moreover, for immigrants, the government has listed the required skills that shall contribute to social, economic, and essential development. 

Also read: Moving to New Zealand without a job offer.

Migrating to New Zealand without a degree

“Akaroa NZ”

The basic requirements for immigration to New Zealand include a job offer and proof of identity. Only individuals below the age of 55 years are eligible to apply for immigration. The individual should have sound health and good character. Therefore, a degree isn’t on the list of required documents.

Read the latest updates on the Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa.

You can move without a college degree

Moving to New Zealand without a degree isn’t out of the question, it’s still not easy to fulfil the immigration criteria. The jobs for skilled workers can be limited, and still need ample work experience as well as qualifications in the related field. 

Most tradies and labour workers in New Zealand have licenses that allow them to work as contractors or employees. This involved completing an apprenticeship and passing tests. Some tradies also attend classes at colleges like polytechnics.

Even if you don’t have a degree, your work experience in your particular field should be recognized. You can obtain a temporary migrant work visa based on an offer by an employer in New Zealand. 

Immigration rules, visa options, qualifications you need

Immigration rules have drastically changed after the pandemic, and most visa categories have been temporarily closed or further amended. The emphasis is on training and employing locals rather than students or migrant workers. 

However, some fields still remain open for workers from abroad due to a shortage in the local market. These jobs don’t require a college degree, but proper work experience and occupational registration are a must. Here are some popular industries in this category:

  • Construction
  • Laborers
  • Driving
  • Plumbing
  • Carpentry

If your work experience is recognized and has credibility as per international standards, then you have a better chance of scoring more points for your visa application.

You will need a job offer letter from an employer to initiate your visa process and fill in the rest of the requirements.

Possible immigration options to NZ

Many people opt for a tourist visa to New Zealand to explore more opportunities, which is a good idea. You can come over and look around for possible areas where you can see demand for your skills. 

You can possibly trace through the local ads or online and occasionally apply for jobs and go on job interviews. After finding a suitable job, you can accordingly negotiate with the employer to give you a job letter, based on which you can change your visa status. 

Be aware that, officially, a visitor visa isn’t meant for a job search, but it also doesn’t prohibit it.

Possible jobs you can go for

If you’re unsure of job opportunities that you can pursue after moving to New Zealand without a university degree, then don’t worry too much, as there are a number of options you can choose from. 

Some might require training or qualifications, but many can be secured without experience or degrees as well. Only a high school education that imparts your skills is enough to survive in these fields.

Some options include becoming a laborer at a farm or in construction, becoming a plumber, or you could become a carpenter if you have any experience in the area of woodworking.

Electricians and many other professions, however, do need basic certification. Extensive work experience in these fields will win you extra points on your visa application process. 

The essential skill you need to move to New Zealand is good communication skills in English. A good command of language plays a vital role in landing you a good job and then keeping it.

Te reo Māori is the language of local indigenous people, but anyone who doesn’t speak it can easily live in New Zealand.

Basic management skills, along with organization and planning skills, are essential in every profession. All these skills come in handy, especially when you are working abroad to satisfy your employer and retain your job. 

Can you get a job in New Zealand without a degree?

You definitely don’t need a degree to get a job offer in New Zealand. There are different jobs that you can easily get in New Zealand even if you haven’t studied at university. In fact, this country is thriving in trade, so you will see many people working and making a living without a degree by doing manual labor.

Jobs that don’t need heavy technical skills and those that require labor are in-demand, relatively easier to get, and require no heavy qualifications.

You don’t necessarily need a degree to secure a job in New Zealand; however, depending on the field you choose to go into, especially for getting promotions, you might need to get vocational training.

These training sessions will give you the necessary qualifications and experience for the job. However, if you’re just starting out, you still have several job options that you can choose from where you don’t need qualifications or experience for.

Here are some examples of easier jobs to get which are also available for working holiday visa holders:

  • Bar and cafe personnel
  • Hotel workers
  • Fruit picking
  • Retails
  • Logistics
  • Construction
  • Truck driving
  • Cellar worker
  • Au Pair
  • Farm hand 

What qualifications do you need?

Some employers will be willing to give you basic training and courses while you are working with them. While you are getting your certification, you may even consider getting a taxi license to keep expenses in control.

The basic qualifications that would be required for every job you apply for are:

  • High school diploma, which shows that you finished your high school education
  • Good command of the English language
  • Having a good character
  • Being under 55 years of age

Let’s face it, it’s not easy to survive in New Zealand because the cost of living is way too high to last months on savings.

One of the good things you can do while looking for a proper job is to get a seasonal job. Construction, fruit picking, laboring, and cellar working are some of your best bets.

If you are a foreigner in New Zealand and don’t have a degree, here are some of the jobs that you should try applying for that have the highest chances of hiring:

Become a construction worker: With the housing industry growing rapidly in these times, being a construction worker is a good job you can easily land. Working as a laborer at a construction site is one job that is very much in demand.  

Most building companies hire construction workers through appropriate recruitment agencies and do not require workers to have prior working experience. All you need is a basic understanding of English, a valid visa, a great work ethic, and you’re good to go!

Become a bartender: Working as a bartender is also a good job option to consider for those with little to no work experience. You might need to go through a course on bartending to learn some skills.  

But overall, good English, communication skills, and a great personality are what you need to get a job as a bartender.

Become a farm hand: Farming has always been one of the primary industries in New Zealand, so it is no surprise that there are many opportunities available in this sector. You could easily get a job as a farm hand to help out with different tasks on a dairy farm. 

This way, you could provide a helping hand to a busy farmer and could learn new things about the agricultural industry.

While you wouldn’t require any particular qualifications, you would have to be a hard worker to work in such an environment.

Become a truck driver: If all you have is driving experience, this could be a good opportunity for you! Trucks are used by many companies for transporting various goods across the country.

Depending on the type of vehicle that you’ll be operating, you would need to get a license for it. You may even be able to convert your existing driving license.

Become an Au Pair: This job is a great option if you don’t have any previous work experience or degrees but are good at handling kids and providing childcare. Most Au Pair jobs are handled by agencies that match you with the family that will be a perfect fit for you. 

Become a taxi driver: If you live in a major city, the cost of living will be much higher, but it also means that there will be heaps of people who will need rides. So, if you get a taxi license and start working with a company, you can earn a decent wage.

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