COUNTDOWN CHECKLIST FOR MOVING TO NEW ZEALAND
Emigrating to New Zealand is a huge step emotionally and a mammoth organisational task. Getting all of the right things to happen at the right time is a real challenge, and you may find that your plans need to change over time as new opportunities appear or challenges arise. Use our handy countdown checklist to help stay organised.
SERIOUSLY THINKING ABOUT EMIGRATING
(12 MONTHS UNTIL DEPARTURE)
- Making a reconnaissance visit to New Zealand at around this point can be very valuable. You can check out the job market, housing market and schools, and think about exactly where in NZ you would like to live.
- Research the cost of living and wage rates in New Zealand. Having realistic expectations of the lifestyle in NZ is one of the most important elements to emigrating successfully.
- Make sure that you have all your personal paperwork ready to go. This includes everything from passports for everyone in the family to birth and marriage certificates.
- Investigate what you need to do to get a visa, and get started on the process. Advice from an immigration consultant at this point can be invaluable.
- Update your CV.
- Check out the job market for your occupation in New Zealand.
- Have a think about where in NZ you would like to live.
- Begin decorating and fixing up your home to get the best price for it whether you sell if or rent it out. Talk to an estate agent or rental agent about which improvements will add value to your property.
- Start taking note of the Pound to Dollar exchange rate. We think it is worth contacting a specialist foreign exchange company and opening a foreign exchange around with them at this point. You can really benefit by planning early.
- Take a look at your finances and find out how much it will cost to emigrate to New Zealand. Pay off as much debt as possible and have a general tidy-up of your financial affairs. Make sure you dispose of any personal papers and statements carefully.
- Contact Henderson International to get a free copy of our comprehensive Financial Guide for migrants.
- Let your friends and family know what your plans are.
PLANNING TO EMIGRATE
(6 MONTHS UNTIL DEPARTURE)
- Think about which household items you will take with you, and what you will leave behind. Start clearing out belongings that you will not be bringing with you.
- Continue sprucing up your home to rent out or sell.
- Talk to local estate agents about putting your house on the market if you are selling it. Speak to rental agents if you are planning on renting it out.
- Figure out where you will live in the short term if your house sells quickly!
- Look into bringing your pet with you, and start tests and vaccinations as necessary.
- Ramp up your job hunting efforts. You may find that employers take you more seriously if you have a definite travel date set. An immigration or recruitment consultant with good industry links can be invaluable at this point.
- Investigate your flights as your plans firm up. Get travel insurance once your flights are booked. (Remember to get flexible rather than bargain flights if your plans could still change.)
- Read your terms of employment with your current employer, and prepare to give the right amount of notice.
- Consolidate your bank accounts as necessary. We advise that you leave at least one account open in the UK.
- Think about what happens to your UK state, personal and occupational pensions.
- Keep an eye on the exchange rate, and open an account with a foreign exchange specialist if you haven’t already.
(3 MONTHS UNTIL DEPARTURE)
- Get quotes for shipping your household goods.
- You’ll also need to arrange cargo insurance for your possessions.
- Decide whether you will be selling your car/s or shipping them to New Zealand.
- Continue disposing of things you are not taking with you. Make sure you dispose of any personal papers and statements carefully.
- How is your house sale going? Think again about renting your house out if the sale is not proceeding apace.
- If you are renting your house out, remember that you will need to let your mortgage company and the HMRC know.
- If you are renting your house out, you will need to arrange special landlords insurance.
- If you haven’t already, you need to book your flights to New Zealand. You’ll also need travel insurance. (Remember to get flexible rather than bargain flights if your plans could still change.)
- Set up a New Zealand postal address. You can either use a settlement agent, a NZ friend or relative, or a NZ mail holding company.
- If you are renting your current home, check the notice period you need to give to your landlord. Get a reference from your landlord or letting company.
- Contact Henderson International to get an updated copy of our free Financial Guide, and let us know how your plans are progressing. We are happy to answer any questions you may have on the financial aspects of emigrating to New Zealand.
THE PAPERWORK STAGE
(2 MONTHS UNTIL DEPARTURE)
Some of the paperwork on this list, such as credit reports, bank statements, references, and insurance no-claims certificates should be considered optional. However as in the UK, sometimes having a lot of official-looking paperwork can smooth the way when you are dealing with any level of bureaucracy…
- Get a current statement of your UK State Pension Entitlement.
- Get current statement(s) from all your Company, Personal and Stakeholder Pension schemes. Also let the respective companies know your new address. (If you are thinking of transferring your pensions, don’t get transfer values until later – possibly even until you are in NZ. It generally takes a while to get these, and they will probably be out of date by the time you need them. Sometimes you will be charged if you ask for them a second time.)
- Get current statement(s) from all your PEPs, ISAs, Unit Trusts and other managed investments. Let the respective companies know your new address.
- Check whether your life assurance, medical insurance and income protection policies apply when overseas. Let the respective companies know your new address.
- Gather your original policy documents together, including pensions, insurance and endowments.
- Set up and test internet and phone access to your UK bank accounts. Don’t have the same password for every account or service you use on the internet.
- Consider opening a NZ bank account.
- Start planning your farewell party/events.
- Arrange a hire car to pick up on your arrival in NZ.
- Book accommodation in for your first few “furnitureless” weeks in NZ.
- Let your children’s schools know that you are emigrating, and ask for copies of any relevant records.
- Contact local schools and childcare and nursery schools at your destination to find out about enrolment procedures.
- Visit your optometrist, and make sure your glasses are OK – glasses can be more expensive in New Zealand.
- Consider applying for a Statutory Credit Reference from Callcredit, Experian or Equifax. It may come in handy, and only costs a couple of pounds.
(1 MONTH UNTIL DEPARTURE)
- Ensure that you get a P45 (and a glowing reference) from your employer when you finish work.
- Complete a P85 or P85(S) to notify the UK Inland Revenue of your departure.
- Submit a UK tax return (you may be due a rebate!).
- If renting out your house, apply to the UK Inland Revenue for non-resident landlord status to not have tax deducted from your rent.
- Sell your car/s.
- Ask your car insurance company for a “No Claims Certificate” when cancelling your policy – this may help you to get favourable terms from a NZ insurer.
- Cancel any Child Benefit payments.
- Make a file for all your important financial documents, and bring it with you in your hand luggage. It may also be prudent to leave copies with a friend or family member in the UK. (We’ve made a list of the documents you’ll probably need to bring with you.)
- Sit down and have a think about settling in to New Zealand. Consider taking up or continuing a sport, hobby or interest. It pays to have a plan.
- Let your doctor and dentist know that you are emigrating. Get adequate supplies of any prescription drugs you are using. You could ask for a letter or referral, but shouldn’t need it if you can give a reasonable detailed verbal account of your medical history. It is definitely worth getting a detailed record of your children’s immunisations though, which should be in their health record book.
- Get your mobile phone unlocked if you can.
- Make a comprehensive address list of all of your friends and family and the UK and NZ companies and organisations you have been dealing with, and print it out.
- Let your bank/s know your new address. You may also need to fill in a form to have any interest due to you paid tax-free , and cancel direct debits and standing orders as appropriate. Ask for a reference – it isn’t essential, but may help.
- Re-check your booking with your removal company, and make sure that they have the right contact details for you in New Zealand.
- When you move out of your house, make sure that you cancel all your utilities and sort out council tax payments (as you would usually when you move house).
- As you cancel your house insurance policies and contents insurance policies, ask your insurance provider for a copy of your claims history.
- Ask your mortgage provider for a reference – it isn’t essential, but may help. Remember that they will need to know if you are renting your property out rather than selling it.
- Cancel magazine subscriptions.
- Send out “change of address” notifications to friends or relations you can’t email.
- Back up your computer/s to a portable hard drive (or USB memory stick or even a CD-rom if you don’t have much data). Bring it with you!
- Return all of your library books and DVD/video rentals, pick up your dry cleaning and shoe repairs.
(ONE WEEK TO GO)
- Confirm your flights, and re-check baggage limits and check-in times.
- Book your transport to the airport, and confirm it the day before you fly out.
- Buy some NZ currency to tide you over for the first few days, especially if you are arriving at the weekend or on a public holiday.
- Get your post re-directed – possibly to a UK friend or relative who can filter out junk mail, catalogues etc. before forwarding the important stuff to you.
- Cancel milk, newspaper, window cleaners and other deliveries and services.
- Cancel pay TV and internet subscriptions.
WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND
(You’re finally here!)
- Pick up your rental car and get settled into your accommodation.
- The worst of your jetlag should be over with in about three days – take it easy.
- You’ll need to let everyone know that you have arrived safely – internet access is widely available at libraries and internet cafes. You can get cheap phone calls by picking up a pre-paid phone card from a post office or convenience store (dairy).
- Open a bank account if you haven’t already.
- Apply for a IRD (tax identification) number.
- Get your children settled in to school.
- Buy a car, and arrange car insurance. Don’t forget to check out the road rules in NZ!
- Register with a local doctor.
- Ask around about local dentists.
- Keep in touch with us at Henderson International – we will do everything we can to smooth the way for you as you settle in.
- Start looking around for longer-term accommodation – it is usually best torent for a few months while you look around.
- Keep in touch with your removal company.
- Once you have started work, find out about KiwiSaver.
- Review your insurance needs – medical, life and income insurance, as well as car and house and contents cover. Make sure that any insurance policies you have retained in the UK are still valid and good value.
- Check that your wills are up to date, and look into setting up powers of attorney.
- Make the most of every opportunity to meet new people and try new things.
- Register to vote.
- Apply for NZ Driving Licences.
- Have a think about whether transferring your UK pensions to New Zealand may benefit you.
- If you have retained offshore investments, check what the tax situation is on them. Remember that you have a “grace period” of 4 years as a Transitional Resident, but you will need to re-think your offshore investments and even your house in the UK (if you have kept it) after this point.
- Check whether you’ll need to file a tax return.
- Keep it in mind that using a specialist foreign exchange company has many benefits over using a bank to transfer money to and from New Zealand.
To find out more, request a free copy of our Financial and Pension guides for New Zealand.