5 Reasons Why New Zealand is an Underrated OFW Destination

New Zealand is a definite dream destination for most OFWs who are looking to work abroad. Cities like Auckland and Christchurch are a haven for overseas workers, with a well developed city-structure, interesting culture and numerous jobs in New Zealand for Filipino. Why then is New Zealand not at the top of the list for most Filipinos still searching to workabroad? Maybe it’s because New Zealand is most known for being the location for the Lord of the Rings films and Royals singer Lorde. Here is a list of 5 reasons why New Zealand is an underrated location for OFWs.

High Cost of Living

The Philippines is known for having a pretty low cost of living, so when OFWs work abroad in New Zealand, the change in the cost of living is staggering. Comparing prices of a regular meal, a McDonald’s Cheeseburger meal (with fries and a medium size soft drink) costs $6.80 in New Zealand, around P210, while the same meal costs P107 in the Philippines. Not only does this apply to food, but to utilities, clothing, and transportation. For example, a regular one-way train ticket in the Philippines costs P8.25, while in New Zealand it would cost P108. This would of course also be attributed to the quality of service that New Zealand provides on these services. While the cost of living may be a lot higher, the amount of disposable income is much greater for Filipinos living in New Zealand.

Low Filipino Population in New Zealand

A major factor when OFWs decide which country to apply for jobs to is the Filipino community existing in the country. Popular countries where OFWs head to like Dubai have a Filipino population of 450,000 and around 200,000 Filipinos living in Hong Kong. Not to mention that the Filipino communities in Dubai and Hong Kong are tight-knit, and there are already spots in the city where new OFWs can meet fellow Filipinos and hang out. New Zealand, on the other hand, has a meager population of 40,000 Filipinos, which comprises around 1% of the total New Zealand Population. While the population is small and this may intimidate Filipinos deciding to work abroad, they don’t have to worry about finding Filipino friends. There’s a strong sense of community for Filipinos living in New Zealand. The Philippine Embassy in Auckland holds numerous events including concerts and forums to meet friends and neighbors.

Jobs Available for Filipinos lie mostly in Construction

It is true Filipinos looking to workabroad in New Zealand have job opportunities that lie mainly in construction. April 2015, Jun Macas, President of Australia and New Zealand Association of Employment Providers of the Philippines (ANZAEPP), said that around 30,000 jobs will open for Filipinos in New Zealand, mainly Auckland and Christchurch, to rebuild the city after the 6.3-magnitude earthquake in 2011, from 2015 to 2020. Construction is not the most appealing profession as Filipino working abroad in other countries have a wide range of options from assistant work in businesses to working in the food and beverage industry. The 30,000 lies mainly in construction, like carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, among others. These jobs offer Filipinos who want to workabroad in New Zealand a great offer with the standard minimum wage (P540/hour), and these OFWs will have the chance to bring along their families to New Zealand after 3 years of work when they can file for permanent residency.

Not Much known about Life in New Zealand

There is a horrible misconception that New Zealand is small and boring. Other countries like Hong Kong are known for their shopping, food and nightlife while Dubai is renowned for their amazing structures and opulent past times. New Zealand may not sound like the most exciting country to move to; however, it is a place for those seeking a relaxing lifestyle. Unlike the usual activities Filipinos do in Manila, the past times of most New Zealanders consist of outdoor activities, such as sailing, swimming, fishing, running, preparing for triathlons, among other physical activities. Aside from this, New Zealand is known for the food. Having tons of fields result in the highest quality meats from lamb chops, to steak. Located in the middle of a vast ocean, New Zealand has access to the freshest seafood from big scallops to king prawns. While Auckland is a big city, it’s a city free of pollution, and most cities like Christchurch and Canterbury are fresh and clean; living in New Zealand is like living in a more developed province in the Philippines, fresh air and green everywhere.

Problems with immigration

Filipinos looking to work abroad are hesitant to head to New Zealand. Numerous stories published online and hearsay from friends of friends relay the perception that tons of OFWs working in New Zealand face tons of problems concerning immigration and visa application. One story about Enrico De La Vega shared how he thought he'd be in paradise working in a farm in Canterbury; however, after 3 months of living in New Zealand, his working VISA is stalled due to New Zealand government regulations and his family is relying on his income back in the Philippines. He remained idle for the 3 months and was not able to earn a living. There are other stories of thousands of Filipinos who were sent back to the Philippines because of stricter background checks and VISA renewals. While it may be difficult to obtain a working visa for New Zealand, the process may become less stringent with the growing demand for Filipino workers and the "Arrangement on the Principles and Controls on the Recruitment and Protection of Filipino Workers in New Zealand" that was agreed upon during the official visit of Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz to New Zealand. This arrangement is expected to assure that Filipinos looking to work in New Zealand will be recruited ethically, in a fair, efficient and transparent manner through a newly signed labor cooperation agreement between the two countries.

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