Moving abroad and starting over in a new country can be one of the most terrifying yet exhilarating adventures ever. Not only can it offer a new perspective in life (and maybe better career opportunities), but it can also test one's limits in every sense of the word.
For Filipina Anne Grace Apostol of Girl Chasing Sunshine, she simply wanted a change of environment coupled with a new set of thrills. The Zambales native graduated Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman and a month after, she went straight to work. She stayed in the corporate communications department, moving from one mega brand to another over the course of eights years. While she enjoyed a thriving career, halfway through, around 2014, she thought of moving to New Zealand.
For her patience and perseverance, Anne's vision started getting vivid as years went by. In 2018, she applied for a visa and tried her luck in career seeking Down Under. She eventually landed a job there, and so in December last year, she was was finally granted a resident visa.
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Anne recently documented her immigrant journey on her vlog, as many Filipinos now look at New Zealand as the next dream destination after it recently won over COVID-19. Now in her early 30s, she also highlighted her initial frustrations navigating a new place where her career field wasn’t in-demand or with no ready job offer.
Anne has since produced more related vlogs to inspire fellow Filipinos and give them a glimpse of the immigrant life. “As a Pinoy sa NZ, ang dami kong pinagdaanan, napuntahan, at mga nakilala. What a journey talaga,” as she wrote.
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To those with questions while seeking greener pastures in NZ, excerpts from Anne's vlog might serve the following helpful answers.
Do you need an agency or job offer to be able to apply for a visa?
Not really. Upon learning about a visa that allows tourists to study or work in New Zealand, Anne researched further and found that New Zealand offers to types of working visas: Working Holiday Visa and Silver Fern (though this one is no longer being offered).
What is a Working Holiday Visa?
With a working holiday visa, you are allowed to stay for a year in New Zealand and work for a maximum of three months per employer or study. Because of the restriction, you cannot take on a permanent job while on a working holiday visa but you can try and find one. Once you are offered a permanent job, you just need to apply for a new and longer term work visa.
How can you apply for the Working Holiday Visa?
Do note that this visa is only offered to Filipinos once a year—at a specific date and time—and has a quota of 100 slots per year, so you really have to have a stable and strong WiFi! Slots are announced on the Immigration website.
Before applying, make sure you meet the visa criteria: You must be 18-30 years old at the time of application, must have a valid Philippine passport, a return ticket, a travel medical insurance, show money, a tertiary qualification, a functional level of English proficiency, and meet the health and character requirements.
If you meet the criteria, you can now create and register an account at INZ Online Services. Then, get a slot, complete the visa application form, pay for the immigration levy fee, gather all required documents, and submit. You can read a more thorough explanation on visa application on Anne’s blog.
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How long do you have to wait to get your visa?
It depends. In Anne’s case, she got it after one working day. She applied on a Friday and received the results on Monday. However, she knew people who got approved just within hours after applying!
Any other tips?
Moving overseas takes a lot of planning, work, and patience. As Anne said, “Invest time, effort, and common sense in reading and researching as much as you can about the New Zealand Working Holiday Visa Scheme for Filipinos and life as an immigrant in New Zealand as well."
When filling out your form, never lie in your application form because one way or another, the immigration will find out. “Be as truthful and as accurate as possible in all your declarations on the online form,” Anne additionally wrote.
The most importan—remind yourself why you want this and use this as your driving force. "Uprooting yourself from your home country to start a new life elsewhere is never without pains—you will be faced with serial disappointments and seemingly insurmountable challenges," she wrote. "I cannot stress enough how important it is to ensure that doing this is something that you really, truly, certainly desire."
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Banner image from Anne Grace Apostol's YouTube