New Zealand could be the best place for Filipino expatriates

January 9, 2013 11:31 pm 

By Leonardo V. Micua

DAGUPAN CITY, Jan. 9 —If you are an ambitious man or head of a young family who wants to give all the best for your children, New Zealand could be a place for you.

This was the testament made by some Filipinos now happily living and working in New Zealand, among some 40,000 who have already settled in that country for the past decades.

The Filipinos are among the Asians who have already settled in New Zealand, many of them are now citizens of the country of four million people or have acquired permanent residency status.

The others are Chinese, Indians, Japanese, Malaysians, Koreans, Iranians and a few other nationalities.

It was gathered that each Filipino family owns from two to three cars and each one are going on an outing in parks every weekend after hard days' work.

The Filipinos in New Zealand are working in different lines, specifically communications, electricity, banking, sales, agriculture, veterinary medicines, among others.

Some of the staff in a public hospital in North Shore are Filipinos. One Filipina is employed as a teacher in a Komon at Marlborough and another Filipina at Marlborough kiddie school.

Of the 40,000 Filipinos in New Zealand, some 30,000 are spread all over Auckland, the warmer place in the very cold country near the south pole.

It was gathered that since the Filipinos live in a tropical country, naturally they prefer to live in a place where there is no snow and that place in New Zealand is Auckland.

Based on testimonials of some Filipinos in New Zealand, a PR (permanent residency) status is a cherished dream of all Pinoys in that country. Without it, one would be sent home after the expiration of his working contract.

It is because if one has a PR status, which is a ticket to full citizenship, he and his family is assured of receiving social benefits from the government such as free hospitalization from all ailments, check up and medicines.

One said that when one gets hospitalized and he is not a permanent resident yet, he would have a hard time paying his bills. One is required to pay an entrance fee at the Auckland Museum if he is not a citizen or holder of a PR card.

In the case of Roger Mondala of Urdaneta City, he accepted a job in Christchurch and sacrificed living away from his wife who is working in Auckland in order to comply with one of the requirements of permanent residency status.

One Filipino said when one is in New Zealand, his young children with him are even assured of the Kiwi Savings Fund from the government which is 1,000 NZ dollar each to be deposited in banks in the children’s name and which earn interests as much as five to six percent per annum and can be withdrawn only by them when they reach the age of 18.

Schooling from kinder to primary and to senior high school is free in public schools. In private schools, such as the St. Mary’s Catholic School in Northcote, only a token donation can be given by a family for a child enrolled.

One said he and his entire family from Manila had just received their PR status after coming to New Zealand a year ago where he worked as manager in one of the big business establishments in North Shore, Auckland.

Another said his application for New Zealand citizenship was already approved and that he and his eldest daughter will take their oath anytime from now. The youngest daughter in the family is now a Kiwi citizen having been born in the country.

On medical benefits, Benny Atilano, 64, from Manila, who works as security guard at the Sky City in Auckland Central, said he had heart operations two times and did not spend a single cent. He boasted that his hearing aid on his right ear costs NZ 7,000 dollars (one NZ dollar is equivalent to some P35), yet it was given to him free.

“Come to New Zealand. If you worry about your house that you will leave in the Philippines, the more you cannot come to this country,” said Atilano who migrated to New Zealand with his family 26 years ago due to serious threat on his life.

The Atilano family was the one who introduced Filipino cuisine, such as “adobo” “dinuguan”, “apritada”, he personally calls as “Bicol Express”, even to New Zealanders which they sell in their stall at the Saturday night market in a Glenfield mall car park and at Balmoral on a daily basis.

The income they derived from cooking Filipino food boosts his income as a security guard at Sky City, one of the most famous places in New Zealand which boasts of the Sky City Tower , the highest structure in all of the southern hemisphere at 640 feet.

Another Filipino, Joel Luna whose wife Sheryl is from Bayambang, Pangasinan, said they moved to New Zealand when their eldest daughter was only four years old and their other daughter was only four months.

The Lunas begot a son in New Zealand and Sheryll is expecting another child. Both husband and wife are working separately in another company.

On the other hand, Winston Santos, from Tarlac, and his wife Yollie, a nurse, who comes from Cabanatuan City, used to be working in London, England but moved to New Zealand a few years ago as they found the country a better place to raise a family.

They have three sons and the youngest is now seven years old and studying in one of the public schools in North Shore. Their eldest is set to go to the university when schools open this late January.

No less than the mayor of Auckland, Len Brown, acknowledged that last year, Auckland was adjudged as one of the 10 most liveable city in the world.

But the Santoses said the only problem Filipinos are facing in New Zealand is the high cost of apartment rental which ranges from NZ 300 dollars to NZ 500 dollars a week, which is a big slice to one’s weekly income.

He said every Filipino must work hard in order to buy a modest house to free themselves from paying weekly rental to the landlord.

At the same time, Serge Nicdao from Bulacan said New Zealand has rigid immigration requirements which all Filipinos must meet before they can come to work and live in the country but the requirements, he said, are being relaxed from time to time.

Once relaxed, which can be monitored in the internet, that is the time for those aspiring to settle in New Zealand to file their applications. (PNA)



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