Kia ora, travel-hungry young person who yearns for the land of the long white clouds!
Ever since I published this post on what to know about the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa application, I’ve been bombarded with questions about the age limit, application fees, tax, and the list goes on. So many questions that it makes me want to quit my job and buy a one-way ticket to New Zealand again.
The 2018 New Zealand Working Holiday Visa application for Malaysians will open on 25 January 2018, 10AM New Zealand time / 5AM Malaysian time. To put your angsty mind at ease, I’ve collected all the questions you guys sent me throughout 2017 and answered them for you here.
Long story short, here is part 2 of everything you wanted to know about the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa for Malaysians that I did not answer the first time. Read PART 1 first if you haven’t for this post to make more sense.
I hope I have all your questions answered this time around!
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE APPLYING
I am a Malaysian currently living overseas, can I still apply for the Malaysian New Zealand WHV?
Yes, if you have a valid Malaysia passport. But you’ll still have to follow the same application process, time, date and allocation as the rest of Malaysia. Make sure you access the correct page for the MALAYSIAN application on the New Zealand Immigration website when the application opens at the end of January.
Is the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa fee refundable if my application is rejected?
Probably not, the NZ Immigration website says they are “not obliged to provide a refund” if your application gets rejected. If you do not have a criminal record and serious health issues, your application will likely be accepted. Your biggest worry should be whether you even manage to get into the payment gateway.
Can I apply using a debit card? How much tax is deducted? And other details about charges.
Guys, I don’t actually work for NZ Immigration nor Tourism NZ, so I can’t tell you specifics details about the payment system. According to the NZ Immigration, they do charge GST for processing your application. They also said to use a Visa or Mastercard credit card. My advice is to be safe – have a few credit cards ready as back up in case your first card fails you, borrow from your parents or siblings if you must!
How long did it take me to complete my application process?
It was a nerve-wrecking application process but not painful for me. When I applied in 2015, I woke up at about 4.30AM and was back to sleep with a successful application about two or three hours later. The competition is wayyyyy tougher now. When my cousin applied in 2017, he refreshed the page from 5AM until 12.45PM and still could not access the site.
I am over 30, is it too late for me?
Yes, the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa age limit is 30 years old, so you are not eligible to apply after age 30. However, it is not the end of the world. You could explore the option of entering New Zealand on a tourist visa and volunteer for free board and lodging. The downside of this is that you only have 3-months and cannot be legally employed. If you are dead set on finding legal employment, you should look into a study visa or other work visa options on the New Zealand immigration website.
Can I enter New Zealand on a tourist visa, find a job and then try to get a work visa? Is it easy? Can I work under the table?
This is illegal, guys. Please don’t get yourself deported and/or sent to jail.
Can I find long-term employment and migrate to New Zealand after I enter on a WHV?
Maybe. This could be possible if your employer is willing to arrange a Work Visa for you after your WHV ends. However, I must warn that it is not easy and it really depends on the industry and your employer.
Where can I get more info about applying for the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa?
For more details, please do your homework and go through the New Zealand Working Holiday FAQ page. You’ll find everything you need to know about work and employment in New Zealand, expenses, living and more here.
WHAT TO KNOW AFTER APPLYING
I got the visa! When is the best time to do my Working Holiday in New Zealand?
It’s always a good time in NZ! This really depends on what you want to do and experience. Lots of fun stuff like hiking, surfing, festivals and other activities happen in the Summer season from Dec to March. It’s the height of the tourist season so it’ll be more busy and crowded, but that also means more job opportunities.
Winter from June to September is cold but friggin awesome too! This is when you get to experience those beautiful snowy peaks you will never get in Malaysia, and you can go skiing and snowboarding. You can also do hiking and stuff during these months but the weather is a bit more unpredictable.
Is there a limit to how many hours can we work per week? What was your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa experience?
There is no limit, you will be subjected to normal labour laws. According to NZ labour law, the minimum wage is which includes a minimum wage of NZD$14.25 an hour and full-time work hours is a maximum of 40-hours a week. Anything above 40 hours is considered overtime and you should be paid an overtime rate. With the WHV, you are allowed to work full-time jobs for a period of up to 6 months. You could also do part-time jobs or no jobs, the world is your oyster! The number of days and hours really depends on the job scope and your agreement with your employer.
I was broke when I first arrived in NZ so I started with a normal full-time job as a fundraiser in Auckland to save as much money as possible. Two months later, I quit the job to move the South Island and did a bit of travelling. In Dunedin, I failed to find a full-time job and was only able to get a part-time job as a cashier in a hipster café. After that, I WOOF-ed (volunteer for board and lodging and free scenic views) at a lodge in Milford Sound and lived off my pitiful savings till I had to go home.
Is it hard to find a job in New Zealand?
It’s not hard if you are willing to do any job including stuff like factory work, fruit picking, waitressing, housekeeping or dishwashing. Jobs are aplenty during Winter and Summer, with Summer having more vacancies as it is the peak tourist season. Your fancy degree won’t hold much water when you are a WHV holder, just don’t be fussy with your job choices and you’ll be able to feed yourself.
What about room rentals?
This is not difficult either, but it could get expensive depending on the location and the state. As mentioned before, some work arrangements provide accommodation for a small fee. Instead of renting an apartment or room, you could also just live in a hostel for months. Or be a 70s hippie and live in a camper van.
Can I look for a job online before leaving for NZ?
Yes, you can. Some people apply for a job online before leaving the country, some people prefer to search after settling in the country as they get to familiarise themselves with the town and their job options. Both are fine so don’t freak out if you don’t secure a job before your flight, there’ll be plenty of odd jobs waiting for you when you arrive.
What are the first things I need to do when I arrive in NZ with my WHV?
- Find a place to live. You can start by staying a hostel while you search online for something semi-permanent. Some work arrangements include accommodation. You can find cheap backpacker hostels for under RM50 a day
- Get your Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number for tax purposes.
- Open a bank account.
- A sim card for your phone.
- Apply for an 18+ card from the post office. This card acts like an IC so you can leave your passport safe at home. Most importantly, this card proves that you are old enough to go drinking and clubbing. Never leave home without this card.
- More information on all of the above here.
MEI’S New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Experience
What are some of your most unforgiving experiences?
Thankfully, I did not face anything too unforgiving, but there were ups and downs throughout the 9 months that I was in New Zealand.
I was really lonely during my first month as I was jobless, broke, and had no friends. I had just spent two amazing weeks with my family touring North Island and when they left, the silence and emptiness in my rented apartment were deafening. I was homesick. I struggled to look for a job that I like and spent nights at home alone binge watching The Big Bang Theory. Slowly but surely, I found a job, met some good friends on Couchsurfing and I got over the loneliness to a point where I did not want to go home at all!
Secondly, I also got cheated by a person whom I thought was my friend. Heaven Pittman (her name is ironic), had promised to buy my camera and I was naïve enough to agree to pass her my camera first and allowed her to pay me by online bank transfer later. But then she got knocked up, stopped answering my phone and blocked me on Facebook. I am still waiting for my money till today. Sigh, it was a very expensive lesson about trust…
Thirdly, I got robbed in Tonga. I was Couchsurfing for the very first time when my host’s house got burgled. The robbers took my newly purchased Lumix camera lens, my backpack, earphones and a bag of apples I was saving for lunch. Oddly enough, they kindly left my wallet (with a big wad of cash), my iPad and passport!
And then there are stories of broken down cars on the side of a highway during a road trip, getting lost, and almost falling off cliffs! And during my last month in NZ, I was so broke that I only ate bread, fake Nutella, and bananas for weeks… Ahh, such good memories :’)
Can you share more insights?
I’m not sure what other insights I can share, but for more on my New Zealand experiences and thoughts, do check out some these stories:
- Why I chose to return to Malaysia after 9 months in New Zealand
- How did 9 months travelling New Zealand change me?
- Unforgettable conversations with strangers in New Zealand
- 34 amazing moments in New Zealand
Last but not least, I promise you that New Zealand is a very organised country that has made travelling super convenient with tonnes of tourist information sites and facilities available. They’ve thought of everything you’d need and prepared it for you. NZ has designed itself for the WHV community in mind, so the country is easy to travel even for the most clueless of travellers. Seriously, it’s so easy to travel and meet here that it’s almost laughable. Enjoy!
Good luck with your New Zealand Working Holiday Visa application, may the odds forever be in your favour!