Can you immigrate to New Zealand in your fifties?

I am often contacted by people in their 50’s enquiring whether it’s possible to immigrate to New Zealand at their age. I find this becoming a lot more common with the younger generation spreading their wings and immigrating to other countries such as NZ. It’s difficult being separated from our families and I can completely understand the desire to still be part of our children and grandchildren’s lives.

So, is it possible?

It certainly is possible for people in their fifties to immigrate permanently to New Zealand. There are a couple of things to be aware of though and you need to have a very clear plan as you look towards your future in NZ, especially your financial position.

Your first consideration though if you are planning on moving to NZ permanently, should be your eligibility to apply for residency. The age cut off age for residency in New Zealand is 55 and under, therefore, if you are 56 or older you will not be able to apply for residency. Also, even if your occupation is on the Green List, you are still required to work for two years before you are eligible to apply for residency. It’s important to note that you must be 55 or under when you APPLY for residency, not when you start on the work to residence pathway. Similarly, the new 6-point SMC policy is going to see most people working 2 or 3 years before being able to apply for residency. Make sure you will be 55 or under at the end of your journey, not the beginning.

Your next consideration should be your financial position. Are your savings and pension going to be sufficient to support your lifestyle in your golden years? Bearing in mind that you may use a substantial portion of your savings immigrating to NZ and getting settled. While many may think that they can work into their 70’s, this is not always possible, so I’d plan for the worst. Will you have enough to support yourself if you retire in 15 years?

A small segue here, but it’s extremely important to note that the New Zealand government have made change to their Superannuation (pension/retirement) scheme. Previously you needed to have lived in NZ for 10 years, with 5 of those years being post-50, to be eligible for Super. From 2024 this is being scaled to 20 years over a period, you can read more on it here. So, if you are 53 now for instance, you will only be eligible to claim Super in 16 years, which will make you 69. If for whatever reason you are not able to work past the retirement age of 65, will you be able to support yourself for 4 years until your Super kicks in?

Something else you need to consider is if you will be able to purchase a home and pay off the mortgage before retirement age. Bearing in mind that you can only purchase property in NZ after you have been resident for 12 months, the likelihood is that you will have to pay off your home in 10 years. That will be extremely difficult unless you are putting down a sizeable deposit!

But why would I have to pay my house off before retirement? Being in your early 50’s you will most likely only contribute to Kiwisaver (additional retirement savings scheme) for 10 years. If both partners contribute for the 10 years, that will equate to a combined payment of $67 per week based on median wage earnings. Superannuation is approximately $726 per week for a couple so that makes total weekly retirement income approximately $790. It will be VERY difficult to support yourself if you are earning $790 a week and still paying a mortgage or rent!

There are tremendous benefits to immigrating to NZ, regardless of your age. The outdoor lifestyle, safety and healthcare system are all tremendous drawcards. As is the all important family reunification. If you choose to immigrate to NZ later in life, just make sure your eyes are wide open and you have a clear plan for the future.

As always, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you like assistance in planning your immigration pathway to New Zealand.

About the Author

One thought on “Can you immigrate to New Zealand in your fifties?

Leave a Reply

You may also like these