Farah Sia's story

Moving from the Philippines to New Zealand had its ups and downs for Farah Sia, but she says she has no regrets. Find out how she and her family met the challenges of migrating.

From the Philippines to New Zealand

Farah Sia moved from being a pampered daughter in a well-to-do family through to a stage when she had to worry where her next meal would come from. As a software engineer in the Philippines, life was generally good for Farah and her family. But in 2007 the family moved to New Zealand, with the hope of giving their young son a better future.

It did not take Farah long to find a job, as she spoke fluent English and had worked for an American multinational company in the Philippines. “I had an interview set up with a software company the day after I landed, and was offered the job."

Things don't always go to plan

However, just six months later, the company closed down. "It was a shock – I’m the kind of person who wants to stick to one job. I was so depressed that for days I didn’t even want to start looking for another job."

But money was running out and Farah was soon job hunting. However, she was turned down even for unskilled jobs because employers thought she was overqualified and would quickly leave for better work.

It was only after a couple of desperate months that Farah got her current job at the Christchurch City Council, testing software.

Although things are okay now, the settling in process has been hard, and not just for Farah. "When my son started at kindergarten, some children would make fun of him because he couldn’t speak English well. But now he speaks it fluently, and is very happy at school.

"It’s been difficult on my husband as well. His electronic communications engineering qualifications aren’t recognised here, so he is working as a courier. But he’s not complaining because he’s earning as much as me."

Consider the risks before deciding to move

Farah’s advice to people thinking of migrating to New Zealand is – "It’s really important that you have some kind of support here. Before coming, you tend to just look at the positives – but you should consider risks such as what will happen if you don’t get a job."
Although she’s had a hard time, Farah has no regrets about making the move. "This experience has made me stronger and I’ve proved that I can stand on my own feet."

Updated 28 Jun 2018