My name is Ann Cooper, I am a theatre nurse from England, and came to New Zealand. The process took just over 12 months from expression of interest to visa granting.
The easiest part of the process was actually getting a job. Accent Health Recruitment were very good and kept in touch all through the process, arranging two interviews via the telephone, and advising on what kind of questions were likely to be asked. I was actually offered both jobs.
One of the most challenging parts of the process is getting all your paperwork sorted out and verified, and some of the forms are long winded. We used the services of an immigration consultant which was quite expensive. Knowing what we know now we would have done quite a lot of the work ourselves. The Immigration department were quite strict and thorough on health issues too, and followed up on everything declared on the health questionnaire, wanting reassurances from consultants that there was unlikely to be any reoccurrence of previous health issues.
Our first impressions of New Zealand were actually gained the previous year when we spent a month travelling in a camper van. We loved the place and the people were so laid back and friendly, like the UK was 20 years ago, people here make you feel so welcome and have a real interest in you, and like to chat.
We travelled both islands during our 2008 holiday, and really liked Northland and Nelson in the South. The south Island is the place to go if you are young and thrill seeking, but being rather more 'mature' we settled in the Bay of Plenty on the East coast of the North Island.
We have been here 10 months now, have bought a house and settled in well. The only things we miss from the UK are our grown up kids, friends and M&S.
We found the immigration NZ expos to be very helpful, where you can investigate jobs, bank accounts and make other useful contacts. However jobs for non-skilled partners are not so easy to find. Graham was a social care worker in the UK working for social services; he is doing voluntary work here 3 days per week and being paid for 1 day. Although the paid work is only minimal it has helped him to settle and make friends too, so all in all we are very happy and pleased us made the move.