I would like to start by thanking Kristin and her team at Accent Health Recruitment for all the support, help and guidance they gave us in moving to New Zealand.
We started exploring the possibilities of moving to New Zealand in September 2010, following the announcements by our local Authority of reductions in service provisions. We have two sons, Samuel 11 and William 6 years old, and we had never been to New Zealand before. We spoke to numerous people that had visited or lived there, and read about the country via the internet and books. We discovered that our qualifications and profession were an absolute skill shortage in New Zealand, therefore enabling us to work there.
By then end of October 2010 we had put our house up for sale and sold our caravan. In the first week of November 2010 we had sold our house and had to make the decision to press on with our dream of emigrating, even though we had yet to apply for jobs or a visa. During November and December we applied for several posts without success. We also hit a stumbling block with our visa, as our Diploma in Social Work enabled us to work in New Zealand, but was not worded correctly for Immigration New Zealand to award us maximum points for a visa. This meant that we had to be successful in obtaining a job offer, before our visa application could be processed further. At this point we decided we needed the expertise of a recruiting agency and an Emigration advisor. Philip contacted Emigration advisor to assist with our visa application.
At the beginning of January 11, I contacted Kristin at Accent Health Recruitment to assist us with applying for New Zealand posts and sent her our CVs. The day before we moved out of our house on 13 January 2011, Kristin contacted us with the first two posts that she thought would be suitable. Philip and I had decided that I would try and obtain the initial post, as he wanted a few months break from work. Kristin however persuaded Philip to also apply, as both posts were in Hamilton and it may be some time before this occurred again.
The closing dates were the end of January and so we waited to see if we were shortlisted. We had not heard anything by early February and so Kristin contacted the DHB’s Human Resources, only to find they had misplaced the applications, but would review the CVs immediately. Success! Kristin contacted us to say we had both been shortlisted and the interviews would be 28 February by telephone, by a panel of four interviewers, at 20:00 for me and 21:00 for Philip.
Accent Health Recruitment is based in Christchurch and on the 22 February Christchurch experienced a large earthquake, destroying much of the CBD and Accent Health Recruitment’s new offices. Throughout these harrowing times, Kristin and her team somehow continued their excellent service and support, providing information and advice about our forthcoming interviews.
With Kristin’s help and support, we were both successful at interview and at the beginning of March 2011 we were both offered positions as psychiatric social workers in Hamilton. We were then able to apply to Immigration New Zealand for work visas, which were processed in 4 weeks. Kristin negotiated with our new managers for us to start work in July 2011, as we were required to give three months’ notice.
Kristin’s support did not end here though, she continued to assist us with accommodation, finding us furnished accommodation in Hamilton, with Accent Health Recruitment paying the first week’s rent. Kristin also arranged for two cell phones to be sent to the furnished accommodation and welcomed us with a delightful food hamper.
Throughout our journey Kristin, Prudence and the team were always there to answer our questions, provide us with support, encouragement and always with confidence that we would be successful.
We have now been in New Zealand for two and a half months. Both Samuel and William (now 7) love it here, they are both settling in really well and enjoying their schools. They miss their friends in the UK, but have made a number of new school friends, enjoying the new way of life, outside activities and weather.
We heard on 6 September 2011 that our permanent visa applications have been successful, and we are now busy looking to buy a new home. We cannot believe it is almost a year since we started this journey and that we are now living in New Zealand and adjusting to the new way of life. It has been a journey that has had highs and lows, but we do not think it would have been possible without the professionalism, expertise and support of Kristin and her team.