Case Study: Jade and Joe

Who: Joe Szreider (27) and Jade Bentham (25).

Occupations: Joe is a carpenter by trade and is currently working for JB Joinery in Christchurch. Jade, who formerly worked in administration for an essential oils distributor in the UK, is currently balancing two jobs, as a hostel receptionist and as a workshop coordinator in a craft shop.

Moved From: Cambridge, East Anglia.

Moved To: Christchurch, New Zealand.

 

THEIR STORY

Joe Szreider and Jade Bentham were living in Cambridge but had always wanted to travel somewhere in the world where they could enjoy good surf. Joe was always keen on Australia, whereas Jade was happy to go anywhere as long as there was an adventure involved! Attending the Down Under Live Show in London back in February 2013 changed everything for them.

After having the opportunity to meet with Joel Gabites from New Zealand Skills in Demand and Borey Chum from Migration Associates, New Zealand seemed like an option that deserved some more serious thought. So, at the advice of Joel and Borey, they attended the This is New Zealand Seminar (TINZ) in February 2013, which is run in conjunction with key sponsor and partner the Bank of New Zealand. This information night only confirmed what they suspected already, New Zealand was going to be the place for them! It was somewhere they could get to quickly, gain visas easily and be safe in the knowledge that there was plenty of work – especially for a skilled carpenter like Joe.

MAKING PREPARATIONS

Knowing that he was able to have a job offer prior to leaving the UK gave Joe some peace of mind

After attending the Down Under Live Show, Joe busied himself with getting some key documents through to Joel Gabites – his CV, some written references and evidence of his qualifications in preparation for an interview with a trade agency that NZ Skills in Demand works closely with. Migration Associates’ immigration advisor Rachael Howes helped Jade and Joe put a strategy in place for their working holiday visa and residency visa.

In early August, candidate manager Mark Morrison from NZ Skills in Demand organized for Joe to have an interview on Skype with his soon-to-be NZ employer, Tradestaff. Knowing that he was able to have a job offer and contract signed prior to leaving the UK gave Joe some peace of mind about the move from a financial standpoint. Prior to the interview in August, Mark re-introduced Joe and Jade to some of the key strategic partners that attended the TINZ seminar that would be helpful to them. Joe and Jade got their bank accounts for New Zealand set up through the Bank of New Zealand prior to their departure, and Moneycorp were able to give them advice on transferring their savings to New Zealand.

During this time Jade had been doing a lot of research into the costs involved in getting out to New Zealand. She found that www.trademe.co.nz was a great resource to use to look for property rentals, cars and bikes. Mark Morrison also provided Jade with a list of backpacker hostels in the Christchurch area and she was able to select one to stay at that suited their needs. All of a sudden it was time to jump on a plane and head to New Zealand. They flew through Los Angeles, which in hindsight they wouldn’t do again as it meant they had to gain visas for the US, even though they were only stopping off for three hours. Touching down into Christchurch on 1 October after a short connecting flight from Auckland, Jade and Joe were met at the airport by Tradestaff, the agency Joe had secured work with. They gave the couple a tour of the city and then dropped them off at their accommodation, Dorset House Backpackers, where they would stay for the first eight days.

GETTING SETTLED

During this time Jade and Joe met with their bank manager from the Bank of New Zealand to get their cards and activate their accounts, and spent time looking for more permanent accommodation. After much searching they found a house to move into which they share with other young people. The house, located in the centre of the city, was fully furnished which meant they only needed to worry about unpacking their belongings and buy some bedding.

They have found their housemates to be very friendly and welcoming, all coming from varied backgrounds and parts of the world makes for interesting living and conversations, but there is always plenty of space to go in the house, should they want some quiet time. Joe commenced work the week following their arrival into Christchurch. After having a couple of shorter stints with various companies, Joe found work with JB Joinery.

Joe says that one of the great things about working for a trade agency in an unfamiliar city means there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to be matched into a role that suits their skill sets. Joe works both in the workshop and on site, by making and fitting kitchens, reception desks, bars, stairs, windows and doors. He finds the New Zealand workplaces to be more relaxed, with less regimented work and workers are more responsible for their own actions and workload.

Even though Joe is employed as opposed to being self-employed, he has a lot of flexibility in terms of getting his work done. Meanwhile, Jade, who used to worked in administration in the UK for a company which distributed essential oils throughout Europe, is now balancing two jobs in New Zealand. She is working as a receptionist at a backpackers hostel and she is working part time in a craft and fabric shop in Christchurch called The Make Cafe as a workshop coordinator.

MAKING IT PERMANENT

Joe and Jade are very happy with their move to New Zealand, so much so that Joe is hoping to secure a permanent contract soon so that he and Jade can continue with their residency visa application, which they have applied for. The couple had help with submitting their Expression of Interest for a Skilled Migrant Visa before going over.

They found that going out on a working holiday visa initially was a great way to try out New Zealand and see if it was the place for them, without having to commit themselves prior to visiting to more involved visas and associated costs. Once they have residency the couple plan to buy a house. In terms of the overall New Zealand experience, they have found the lifestyle a lot more “chilled out” than what they are accustomed to in the UK – even though they weren’t in one of the main cities.

They are excited by the number of opportunities they have in the outdoors right on their doorstep. Joe is enjoying surfing after work in the evening and Jade is even learning to surf as well!

Soon they will be heading to the snow in the winter months and they are excited about the prospect of driving to the half dozen or so ski fields located within a couple of hours drive away in their recently purchased four-wheel drive. They have already been on day drives to the picturesque Kaikoura coastline and they also enjoyed an easy day drive to Akaora on the Banks Peninsula.

Jade and Joe are excited to be part of history in helping Christchurch rebuild and develop into one of the most dynamic small cities in the world.

Lydia Walker