Alfa Romeo Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Very off topic but I thought that I might get some advice on this forum from fellow members regarding a possible move of my family to New Zealand or Australia from the United States. It would include my wife and three small children all looking for a change of scenery and lifestyle. I would be looking for work as a civil engineer which has been my current profession in the U.S. for the last 10 years or so. I have to admit that I really don't know a whole lot about that area of the world especially day to day life. In fact, I've never even been to New Zealand or Australia.

Any information or advice would be much appreciated including the possibilities of replacing my current '74 Spider, '86 GTV-6 and '99 Landcruiser (hopefully with diesel over there) when I get there. Looking for thoughts on employment, housing, recreation, costs of living etc. Nuts and bolts of living there as well as fun extras.

Jason R.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,977 Posts
Getting work permits in other countries can be difficult unless you're being sponsored by a local company. Also, Australia and NZ actually have immigration laws that are enforced by the government, unlike the United States.

Oz is a really big place with a very diverse landscape, so quality of life can vary from cosmopolitan to remote and primitive depending on where you settle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,287 Posts
I just visited NZ in March of this year. It's beautiful but housing prices seem exorbitant for (a) what the houses are and (b) what people seem to be able to earn.
Most of the houses have no heating insulation and the resulting humidity seems to create a ton of health problems during the winter (as several people attested).
The good news is they have new Alfas there!

Unless you secure a very well paying job, don't move you family to any country without visiting first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
John, the immigration issues are obviously something to consider. I did notice that the immigration website for New Zealand answers alot of questions. I would try to find a job before moving because I'm not quite spontaneous enough to go without. But finding a job involves narrowing my search location quite a bit and making contacts. Like you said, I've included quite a large area in my inquiry.

Ruedi, it seems the cost of housing is in a similar situation everywhere. I often wonder how I could afford the house I'm living in if I had to buy it again. We would probably rent at first to get the lay of the land. Initially we had thought of a small 1-2 acre "hobby farm" type of property. I don't know how that will relate to economic and employment realities.

Jason R.
Boise, Idaho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
If I will be in your place and have the chance I will move to Italy. The Alfa fountain, plus beautiful place to live.

Giorgio
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Work wise check out www.ipenz.co.nz, that is the national Engineer's institute that being a civil engineer you will need to get accredited with. I'm aero eng myself but with 10 years experience I guess you'd be looking at NZ$70-90k? For a 3 bedroom house in a reasonable area of town in auckland factor $400000-600000.

NZ houses are built a bit different to many places. Anything built after the late 70's is insulated, but yes it is getting **** expensive. Don't touch anything less than 10 years old because they stopped treating the timber and the houses rot! Incomes are well behind inflation. You can kinda balance that with being able to buy a used 4 year old car for a small percentage of what it was new. Cars are now cheap and disposable.

Don't sell your Spider. Bring it with you! I'm serious! There are a lot of US spec spiders here as RHD ones are rare as hens teeth. You will be able to import it and not even swap the steering wheel over due to its age. The GTV6 is over 20 years old so you could bring that too but probably not worth it.

Currently the US-NZ exchange rate is screwed for you bringing money in (great for me to buy from US). Keep your savings in USD for now till the exchange rate improves/gets worse (all down to perspective!).

The local equivalent of ebay is www.trademe.co.nz, check it out for prices on stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Elio, we've definitely thought about Canada before. Calgary is straight north of us and we have previously enjoyed trips to Victoria/Vancouver area.

Richard, thanks for the great information. I never thought to bring my Spider along. The house price ranges and salary ranges don't seem to match well in my book. What terms for home loans do they have down there? We have a general standard of 30 year loan here but I've heard other countries have different ideas of standard lengths which effects prices.

Looking at the exchange rates it looks like New Zealand has done well in the last six months. I may be a couple of years too late to think of the move but a good economy down there also means that a job may be easier to find.

Jason R.
Boise, Idaho
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
25 or 30 year morgages at around 9%.

Actually the exchange rate is stuffing the place. We are only 4 milion people so exports determine our national wealth. Exporters are not doing well at the moment. Funny that petrol hasn't got cheaper given how cheap it is to import at the moment.

Job wise an experienced professional should have no difficulty.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Try http://www.newzealand.com/


www.immigration.govt.nz


www.stuff.co.nz

It's not a hard country to get into if you have skills that are in demand. Engineers are always in demand. I've had a couple of foreign girlfriends in the last couple of years that have gotten residency here in a matter of days after applying, both were highly skilled. You can only try.

Oh and the newer houses are very well insulated and heated, but anything older than about ten years wouldn't be quite as good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,303 Posts
Jason

Regarding Australia...

The current exchange rate isn't as favourable as it was a couple of years ago, the $AUD has made a big jump against the USD in the last year or so. Not so long ago it was down to about 60c US, but it's hovering around 87c at the moment. I guess you could look at the option of renting, and leaving your money in the US until the exchange rate improves for you.

Having said that, the economy in Australia is generally booming. Unemployment is down to about 4%, and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding work in civil engineering. There's plenty of infrastructure construction going on, as most State governments are spending up big on critical infrastructure, after years of failing to address transport issues etc.

The mining industry is also very strong, companies like BHP are making an absolute killing in the current market conditions. And they are recruiting people like crazy to work in the mining sector, for BIG bucks. But the work is mostly in Western Australia, which is remote even by Australian standards, though the climate and lifestyle is great!

To get an idea of employment prospects, check out one of the big employment websites, http://www.seek.com.au

Property in Australian cities has become expensive, but if you fancy the idea of a bit of acreage on a city fringe, then virtually every city in Oz can offer you that, and the property will be a lot less than city prices. You might also be lucky enough to find a job in an outer-urban area, and have an easy commute.

Mortgage rates in Oz are running at 7.5-8%, and the standard mortgage term is 25-30 years. Check out http://www.realestate.com.au for a guide to real estate prices.

I'm not sure of the immigration issues, I know it's not easy to get permanent residency status. The Australian Embassy website in the USA should have links to all the key info.

As far as lifestyle goes, Australia is a great place to live. The climate is fantastic compared to many places, the people are friendly (apart from the ones who aren't), and there's lots of recreation, sport, beaches, mountains, etc. It's similar to the US, except there's a lot less guns!

Unfortunately, we're also suffering the same political influences, with right wing idiots is charge, who are hellbent on trying to get the entire population to live in fear, and for the most part it's working. And Australia is very heavily regulated and over-governed. You just about need a permit to fart in Australia!

However, you won't have any trouble at all replacing your cars, and you'll probably get them a lot cheaper too!

Maybe as a starting point, you could look for a short term employment opportunity, maybe for a year or so, and relocate on a temporary basis to see if you all like it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone for the help. I've been able to find quite a bit of info given some of the guidance here. We're still focusing on New Zealand and Australian despite some compelling arguements for Canada but it appears finding a job in my field in certain areas of Canada can be surprisingly difficult. Anyway, it looks like getting to New Zealand or Australia would not be too difficult. About $6,000 US to move the household and $2,500 US to ship a car. There is a suprising number of details to consider when moving including what exaclty to bring. Electrics are different so it's either adapters or all new. Cars are expensive but you have to sell and buy new/used. Housing is a big unknown dependant on location. Right now I am trying to get plugged in with local civil engineers to get an inside scoop on the market. Apparently the papers and advertisements are not always the best place to find employment, just like here in the US. I don't really like to use recruiters. So that leaves just making connections. Of course, the easiest connections are the "globalized" companies that have offices everywhere including, in one case, a mile from where I currently live. Unfortunately, that may not be exactly the type of situation that I'm looking for. Every answer seems to create new questions.

Jason
Boise, Idaho
74 Spider
86 GTV-6
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,977 Posts
Assuming you can get a work permit and obtain employment, you might want to move there and get an apartment for a few months before you move the whole family, run up the expenses, and then find it's not what you thought it would be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Jason:

I live in NZ and lived in the states for for ten years. PM me and we can talk off line.

Key things
1/ cars are right hand drive over here. you could bring in a LHD but you can't sell it over here. (can race it!!)
2/ 240 volt vs 110 power. however most stuff is transformer based and reduced to 12v DC for electronics. so computers, screens, steroes often work with noew power cords.
3/ work. low unemployment here, so getting work is easy! immigration process is pretty easy for skilled workers.
4/housing cost varies greatly by area. If you are from idaho the south island is the place for you.
5/ the NZ dollar is strong at the moment (actually the US is very weak)
6/ the big one. check out what you have to do to keep your social security and tax status inthe states. very easy to forget the benefits of your work there!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,303 Posts
I definitely wouldn't bother bringing your cars because of the LHD issue, and because Alfas are plentiful in this part of the world, and fairly cheap. And in Australia there are Landcruisers everywhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,807 Posts
I'll put in a plug for South Australia. The mining industry is doing well here too and Adelaide has two of the best Alfa spare parts suppliers in Australia. We have a fantastic Alfa club and there are tons of Alfas to choose from including all the latest new ones. Our club treasurer works for a geology firm which is owned by an American and does work for the mining industry. He says they are always looking for people. Property prices are lower than the Eastern states and Western Australia but climbing. Probably if you line up work with an Australian company they will help you with visas etc.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top