US to NZ; oil and gas
I've been researching like a mad-lady for about two months now on moving to NZ. I'm from the US, from Oklahoma (which is basically no-man's land). My husband has been to NZ and has made it his life goal to move there; and so, we have been prepping! We expect to be there within the next 5 years or less if everything goes smoothly. He is a mechanical engineer in the Oil and Gas industry (he currently works for Baker Hughes) which is in the skilled migrant area. We are still finishing up our last year at University (we graduate in May 2014), so he technically has under one year of experience. We are thinking we will most likely be living in the Taranaki region, near the deep sea oil drilling. Is there anyone here who is in the same career or live in Taranaki that could tell us how they like it? Are there other areas in NZ that explore oil as well, or is it only the New Plymouth area?
Another question: I know the kiwi's have a different approach to working versus the money driven America. What typical hours do people work daily? Weekly? Will we get plenty of paid vacation (holiday) to do fun activities and travel?
Another question: Anyone from the US do investing in NZ or were able to keep their US investments? I'm talking like 401K, mutual funds, stocks, etc.
LAST question: What is healthcare like? I currently don't have any in the US because it's ridiculous. So I'm just curious on what it's like and the costs?
Welcome to the forum.
Oil and gas industry in NZ is all in the Taranaki region other than exploration drilling around the South Island and major storage facilities at the Port of Tauranga.
Taranaki region is beautiful, however slightly isolated from the rest of the North Island, especially if you live over New Plymouth way.
Generally the average working week is 40hrs with 4 weeks of holidays per annum. If you do shift work this will probably stretch to 5 weeks after you have worked a year.
You definitely have it right that the kiwi mentality isn't to work every hour available. I can count on one hand how many extra overtime shifts I've done in 17 months - probably about 3 of them and only as a last resort cos someone rang in sick or wanted an emergency day off.
You will notice the majority of kiwi's don't drive round in new cars, or even nearly new cars for that matter. They are quite happy just spending a few thousand dollars on a 5 to 8 year old car and keeping it 10 years until it falls apart.
We looked at bringing our new cars over from the UK and decided it wasn't viable due to the cost, but considering the hoops you have to jump through getting an overseas vehicle in to NZ it amazes me when you actually see some of the crap that people drive here :D
Need an American to answer the questions about investments.
Healthcare is good here. A visit to the doctors will cost around $30/$35 for an adult consultation which will include the cost of them providing a prescription if needed.
To get the medication off the prescription this will cost a further $5 per item and for long term medication this will give you max 3 months worth.
Other visits to the GP's to see the nurse are around the same cost depending on what you are going for.
If you are on a work visa only and not a residency visa holder, these costs may be different ?
Publicly funded healthcare includes, but is not limited to:
Hospital treatment (with some exceptions, such as cosmetic surgery) and 24 hour accident and emergency clinics
Prescription medicine for children under 6
Breast screening for women aged 50 to 64
Check-ups and basic dental treatment for schoolchildren
Prescription medicines for all hospital patients
Please contact the District Health Board (DHB) in your area for more information about access to healthcare.
ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) provides comprehensive, no-fault cover for all New Zealanders and visitors to New Zealand.
This scheme covers injuries occurring in New Zealand no matter where you are or what you’re doing – as long as it is sustained as an accident, a condition that comes on gradually because of work, as a result of medical treatment or from sexual assault or abuse.
We have private healthcare insurance with Southern Cross (free with the job for the family :p) and it gives us approx 80% refund back on any costs.
Great! Thank you so much, escapedtonz. I've been reading all of your posts, they have been very helpful :)
I can answer on IRAs and 401Ks. You may keep your 401k without any restrictions for living overseas. However things changed for IRA's this year. You may not ask or get advice on your IRA. You may not change positions. You may not add any $$$'s even through payroll deductions. Fidelity sent us a letter stating that these were due to changes in Fed regulations
Can't give financial advise . You would be okay keeping your investments or transferring them into 401k that are not subject to the same rules as IRAs. The sad thing was that due to the new regulations, that they could not offer us any investment advice, Fidelity was not able to tell us that we could have transferred our $$s to our 401k. We decided to take the 25% tax hit and had our funds transferred to New Zealand. Will probably put half into a CD and half into Kiwisaver for retirement.
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