If you are considering a move, or have just arrived in Aōtearoa, New Zealand, well done! You’ve made a fine choice; planners are in demand in our beautiful country and we already have many international planners who have chosen to make their home here.

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 offer a variety of member-only services, including a subscription to the Planning Quarterly magazine and e-mail updates that provide valuable insight to planning issues in New Zealand. International members also enjoy a 40% discount off the domestic membership rates in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a unique history and planning system which revolves primarily around the Resource Management Act 1991, and the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Treaty of Waitangi, also known as Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We encourage you to refer to the resources below for more detailed information on both.

Central Government, Regional and District Council Resource Management Responsibilities

Key New Zealand Planning Acts and Plans

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.

Ministry for Primary Industries

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.

NZPI Jobs Board

Many employers prefer candidates that are members of the NZPI; and some employers will require you to have 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 Court system
  • Provide opportunities to network with peers and experts
  • Keep you up to date with planning policy, best practice and the latest research

Most international planners will not have an NZPI recognised degree and will need to apply for Associate membership. After seven years of planning experience, including two full years of New Zealand experience, Associates can apply for Full Membership. Full Membership will open up more opportunities and is a way of showing you have recognised New Zealand experience and knowledge, which will enhance your career opportunities, especially for senior and management positions.

Full Membership
Associate Status

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 email membership@planning.org.nz for further details.

This information is based on the best available information at the time of writing (Nov 2020). 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.