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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi,

I am 35 from the UK and considering going to NZ next year on a working holiday visa. There is a special Bunac 'IEP work exchange visa' version of this visa that is available to UK citizens up to 35. I believe it's very similar to a normal WHV, but does not as far as i know restrict you to working only 3 months for one particular employer.

I would like to use this visa mainly to work. Let me emphasise: I would love to holiday too but for me a few weeks of travel around the country at the end of my stay would be enough. I have a much bigger holiday planned for afterwards for which I have enough funds already. So I will not be using this visa in its intended sense (holiday and a bit of work), rather it will be work and hopefully a bit of holiday.

My main concern, is it possible to work in NZ on a working holiday visa for 10-12 months, and break even i.e. not leave NZ poorer than when you entered? Ideally I would like to at least make up the cost of the visa+flight to get out there and make a little extra. Has anybody done this?

I know I will only be able to find non-permanent work (max 12 months contract), which will be casual sort of work, and I also emphasise I have no experience or qualifications that would be relevant such as catering or hospitality. I have spent 13 years in universities studying for degrees and PhD's in science/maths but of the kind that's of no use to anyone, and I don't want to use it, I want to do something different like work in a cafe or bar or even a temp office job will do fine. I am not particularly outgoing. I have never had a driving license.

I realise some of you may wonder why I would want to do this, let's say I have what I consider to be good reasons which would take too long to explain. Basically, the idea of travelling in NZ for 12 months doesn't really appeal to me, it is the work aspect that I am interested in - I would like to experience what it's like working there for about 10 months, and then if time/money allows, do a bit of travelling for a few weeks, though as I mentioned that would precede a much bigger holiday elsewhere. I don't have the right sort of qualifications to get a normal work visa.

However, I really don't want to do this if I come away from NZ with less money than when I entered.

In terms of budget, I currently live in the UK on £200/week including everything and I don't go out much. I have looked at rents/wages/exchange rates in NZ and I don't see myself needing more to live there (provided I did not go out all the time).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!
 

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Hi,

I am 35 from the UK and considering going to NZ next year on a working holiday visa. There is a special Bunac 'IEP work exchange visa' version of this visa that is available to UK citizens up to 35. I believe it's very similar to a normal WHV, but does not as far as i know restrict you to working only 3 months for one particular employer.

I would like to use this visa mainly to work. Let me emphasise: I would love to holiday too but for me a few weeks of travel around the country at the end of my stay would be enough. I have a much bigger holiday planned for afterwards for which I have enough funds already. So I will not be using this visa in its intended sense (holiday and a bit of work), rather it will be work and hopefully a bit of holiday.

My main concern, is it possible to work in NZ on a working holiday visa for 10-12 months, and break even i.e. not leave NZ poorer than when you entered? Ideally I would like to at least make up the cost of the visa+flight to get out there and make a little extra. Has anybody done this?

I know I will only be able to find non-permanent work (max 12 months contract), which will be casual sort of work, and I also emphasise I have no experience or qualifications that would be relevant such as catering or hospitality. I have spent 13 years in universities studying for degrees and PhD's in science/maths but of the kind that's of no use to anyone, and I don't want to use it, I want to do something different like work in a cafe or bar or even a temp office job will do fine. I am not particularly outgoing. I have never had a driving license.

I realise some of you may wonder why I would want to do this, let's say I have what I consider to be good reasons which would take too long to explain. Basically, the idea of travelling in NZ for 12 months doesn't really appeal to me, it is the work aspect that I am interested in - I would like to experience what it's like working there for about 10 months, and then if time/money allows, do a bit of travelling for a few weeks, though as I mentioned that would precede a much bigger holiday elsewhere. I don't have the right sort of qualifications to get a normal work visa.

However, I really don't want to do this if I come away from NZ with less money than when I entered.

In terms of budget, I currently live in the UK on £200/week including everything and I don't go out much. I have looked at rents/wages/exchange rates in NZ and I don't see myself needing more to live there (provided I did not go out all the time).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Many thanks!
Hi and welcome to the forum,

So I understand that you are aware you are too old for a UK based WHV. The age limit is 30.
United Kingdom Working Holiday Scheme

Your only route in this case would be the BUNAC/IEP Work Exchange Visa.
Work New Zealand visa information

I personally don't think it would be an issue if you want to work more than holidaying, however there may be restrictions on how many hours in a week you can actually work or it may be difficult to work longer than 40hrs per week. You may need to get two jobs for instance ?
Kiwi's generally work 40hrs per week when they are full time but full time can be classed as low as 35hrs. Part-time is considered 34hrs and below.
If you're gonna be doing something different, so working in a shop, cafe etc you'll be earning minimum wage :-
Current minimum wage rates
The minimum wage rates are reviewed every year. The current adult minimum wage rates (before tax) that apply for employees aged 16 or over are:

$14.75 an hour; which is:
$118.00 for an 8-hour day or
$590.00 for a 40-hour week or
$1,180.00 for a 80-hour fortnight.
The minimum rates that apply to starting-out workers, and employees on the training minimum wage (before tax), are:

$11.80 an hour; which is:
$94.40 for an 8-hour day or
$472.00 for a 40-hour week or
$944.00 for a 80-hour fortnight.
Employees have to be paid at least the minimum hourly wage rate for any extra time worked over eight hours a day or over 40 hours a week or 80 hours per fortnight.

You will need $3000 in cleared funds when you apply as this is to cover your expenses for a year plus $200 for the visa and around £1000 for the return flights.
You need to be thinking about the cheapest accommodation possible whilst you are here as that will be your biggest cost. Maybe backpackers accommodation, student accommodation or house share where you just rent a bedroom and share the other house costs with 3 or 4 others like you.

If you are earning $590 per week minimum wage gross you're going to take home $495 a week in nett pay. Rent and other house bills etc will probably cost at least $125/$150 a week so doesn't leave you much left over for you and you'll need to pay for transport and food out of whatever is leftover.
I'd say you'll need to find something that's gonna pay you more than minimum wage in order to break even so you don't go back with less than when you came. Maybe look into fruit picking or other seasonal work? Farming is big business in NZ - especially the production of milk and picking of kiwi fruit or grapes for wine making. There are loads of other options also though like office work, cleaning, petrol station yada yada.
 

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There are thousands of young people here doing exactly what you are planning to do, and yes I believe it is very possible to break even. The best thing to do is to house share (or what we call flatting) with others. Not only is it cheap, but it also allows you to meet heaps of people, including the friends of your flatmates, and enjoy your stay more. A lot will depend on the job you pick up etc. Some will be better paying than others, but in the cities especially, there is casual work available in cafes, pubs etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
escapedtonz - thank you for the detailed info. Yes I meant the Bunac IEP work exchange one, which is still more or less the same as the normal working holiday visa, I am told.

Regarding minimum wages, do you think a lot of jobs might try to put me on the lower training wage of $11.80/hour?

Cheapest accommodation, yes absolutely, from my research a room in a shared house for $150/week inc. bills in Auckland looks possible, though when I arrive I might try to find free accommodation by working in a hostel or perhaps even a WWOOF place whilst I look for work.

inhamilton - thanks, that sounds encouraging. I am trying to strike the right balance between optimism and pessimism. I have had some responses on another forum to the effect that yes, you could do it, but it's gong to be tough because there will be many more temptations to spend money than back home. But as with all budget questions, "it depends" - everyone has different comfort levels.

I am worried that my lack of experience and qualifications will make it hard for me, or if I am determined and enthusiastic enough I will find something. I guess it's no different to back in the UK, where I have managed to find some casual/temp work before.
 

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escapedtonz - thank you for the detailed info. Yes I meant the Bunac IEP work exchange one, which is still more or less the same as the normal working holiday visa, I am told.

Regarding minimum wages, do you think a lot of jobs might try to put me on the lower training wage of $11.80/hour?

Cheapest accommodation, yes absolutely, from my research a room in a shared house for $150/week inc. bills in Auckland looks possible, though when I arrive I might try to find free accommodation by working in a hostel or perhaps even a WWOOF place whilst I look for work.

inhamilton - thanks, that sounds encouraging. I am trying to strike the right balance between optimism and pessimism. I have had some responses on another forum to the effect that yes, you could do it, but it's gong to be tough because there will be many more temptations to spend money than back home. But as with all budget questions, "it depends" - everyone has different comfort levels.

I am worried that my lack of experience and qualifications will make it hard for me, or if I am determined and enthusiastic enough I will find something. I guess it's no different to back in the UK, where I have managed to find some casual/temp work before.
It all depends what job you do and the responsibilities you would have I suppose. If you need to carry out some training to fulfil the position then they could by law only pay you the training minimum wage whilst you are learning until you can demonstrate you have achieved sufficient level to do it yourself ?
Yes $150 a week for renting a room in a shared house is about right and that will include your share of power, water, internet, maybe sky tv. Extra's will be food and drink. You may also have to pay a small something for cleaning/gardener etc - all depends on the type of house and the people in it..........are you sure this is something you wanna do at 35 years old ? :eek: You don't have to answer that......just wouldn't have appealed to me at that age.
Certainly cheaper staying in a hostel and even better if you worked there and got free digs, but you may be in a shared dorm and not have all the amenities at your disposal like internet and sky etc ? Advantages and disadvantages to everything eh!

Yes the "other" forum responses are correct in the fact it can be done but it will be difficult. The only way you are going to break even is if you can find a temporary job or jobs that pay you more than what you are spending.
So with that said, why are you selling yourself short ? You have degrees and all that jazz that you say aren't worth the paper they're printed on...really ? Could you not use any of these qualifications to get you a better job than one that would give you the minimum wage ? Even though you don't have any experience, an employer may take you on at entry level just because you have one of those qualifications, and entry level may be $20 per hour ?

As a single 35 year old in NZ it's safe to assume you won't be frittering away your cash on booz down the pub every night after work as that just doesn't happen, but there are a lot of other things that will tempt you depending on where you are living. Geez if I was here on my own I'd be golfing, tramping, MTB'ing, motorbiking and snowboarding as often as I could - Queenstown there I'd go :D

Due to your age, you need to make a decision as the application has to be in before you turn 36 when you'll become ineligible. Exchange rate is certainly in your favour currently so a good time to change them quids into NZ$ for the trip after you've been given the OK you can secure one of these visa's.

You only live once, so why not make it a good life and do something risky, outrageous, adventurous, insane etc. May be the best decision you ever make. It certainly was all those for us ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the encouragement. I guess the bottom line is no risk, no reward.

I have to decide before the end of the year. I have been wanting to do a big cycling trip for a while now and I have funds set aside for that. But I am really tempted to give this NZ thing a go first, whist I am young enough to get this visa. The worst thing that can happen is either I struggle to find work or struggle to break even and end up having to use up my savings and have to shorten or cancel the cycling trip.

You are right the degrees and all that jazz may be worth something, but I am not sure how much. They have mostly involved solving maths equations and a bit of programming, the latter being far more useful but I know too little of it to get a software job. Anyway they would only be useful for permanent jobs, which I can't apply for on the working holiday visa. So I'll be applying for casual/temp/contract jobs unrelated to my skills/experience. When I look at the ads for these they all say 'previous experience in a similar position required/preferable'… so if somebody comes along straight out of school but with six months of office admin experience, they are way ahead of me. But I have managed to get one or two casual/temp jobs before in the UK through perseverance. So I guess it's possible.
 
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