International Planners

Working in New Zealand

NZPI cannot provide advice on obtaining work permits or residency in New Zealand, your first source of current and accurate information must be Immigration New Zealand, a service of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. We can however offer a general overview of the options available.

Depending on your country of origin, young professionals may have an opportunity to obtain a Working Holiday Visa. If you are between 18 and 30 years of age, from an eligible country, and meet other criteria, you can obtain a Working Holiday Visa. Citizens of countries throughout the Americas, Asia, and Europe are eligible.

Temporary work permits are also available for a variety of situations. Generally speaking, however, these require an offer of employment, and most employers are reluctant to employ individuals that do not already have authorisation to work. Some employers, including local councils that hire planners, are able to fast-track immigration approvals if they find a qualified candidate from abroad. If you are able to obtain a temporary work permit, however, you may later be able to apply for a residence visa.

If you want the broadest range of opportunities, a permanent residence visa may be your best option. The process can be difficult and lengthy, but with a permanent resident visa, you will be able to seek employment from most potential employers without restrictions. You can employ an immigration consultant to help you with the process, but a meticulous individual can complete immigration forms without assistance.

If you have obtained authorisation to work, your next step will most likely be to seek employment. Needless to say, Australian citizens have free access to New Zealand’s employment opportunities with no work authorisations or visas required.

​We encourage international planners to join NZPI as an Associate, and we will also make available a variety of member-only services, such as a subscription to the Planning Quarterly magazine and e-mail updates that can be valuable in learning planning issues in New Zealand. International members enjoy a 40% discount off the domestic membership rates in New Zealand, so this is an affordable way to research the planning profession in New Zealand before you arrive.

Finding Employment

The NZPI Jobs Board connects you with planning opportunities throughout the country. Many of the positions listed are not usually advertised elsewhere, or as comprehensively. Members are notified of new position via our weekly e-bulletin.

Benefits of NZPI Membership

NZPI membership will:

  • Give you a competitive edge in the job market
  • Help increase your earning potential and advance your career
  • Give you additional standing in the Environment Court
  • Provide opportunities to network and share knowledge online or face-to-face
  • Keep you current with planning policy, best practice and research

Many employers prefer that candidates are members of NZPI; many employers require membership in NZPI. Those without an NZPI recognised degree can apply for Associate membership. After gaining seven years of planning experience, including two full year of New Zealand experience, Associates can apply for Full Membership. Full Membership will open up many more opportunities, especially for senior and management positions.

​If you are a member of the Planning Institute or Australia or the Irish Planning Institute you may be able to join under our reciprocal agreement, please see email for further details.

Relocating to New Zealand

If you are moving to New Zealand for the first time, you'll need to know how to ship your personal effects to ensure you adhere to New Zealands strict biosecurity procedures and if bringing pets you'll need make sure they meet the New Zealand health requirements, full details can be found on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

If you relocate to New Zealand before you have a permanent resident visa, you may be required to pay GST and import duties on your household goods. Once you have a permanent resident visa, you may be eligible for a one-time importation of your used household goods into New Zealand without paying customs duty or GST.

Useful Information

This information is based on the best available information at the time of writing (10 January 2015). NZPI takes no responsibility for incorrect information, and we encourage planners interested in coming to New Zealand to conduct their own research on immigration and the requirements of planners working in New Zealand.