All the information you need about working in New Zealand, from the work visas that are available to tips for finding and securing a job.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced on 3 July that 300 overseas qualified teachers will be able to enter New Zealand under a new class border exception.
Eligible teachers to get invitations from September
The overall outlook in New Zealand for domestic teachers supply remains positive but Early Childhood Education (ECE) services and schools continue to find certain locations and subjects difficult to recruit for.
It is for this reason that Immigration New Zealand decided to create a border exception for teachers. “This will give principals and services additional support, especially for 2022 recruitment, and complement existing teacher supply initiatives”, said Minister Hipkins.
The Ministry of Education will work with the education sector to ensure that the ECE services and schools with the greatest recruitment needs get priority. The Ministry will invite applications for these teachers from September.
The exception may also be open to teachers who worked in New Zealand but who had to leave the country and were unable to return to their job due to border closures.
INZ is also making family reunification possible
Immigration New Zealand is creating a family reunification border exception for the partners and dependent children of teachers who are already in New Zealand on temporary visas. These teachers will be able to request for their family to join them for the duration of their visa.
“A lot of families were separated when border restrictions were put in place to protect New Zealand from COVID-19 and we know this has been hard for them. We’re pleased we’re at last able to reunite teachers with their families”, said Minister Hipkins.
Contact us if you want to apply to teach or join a your teacher partner in New Zealand
Immigration New Zealand is still ironing out the finer details of the border exception but book a consultation with our licensed advisor in the meantime if you want to find out if you’re eligible to teach in New Zealand.
Our team can also help you and any children apply for the appropriate visas to join a partner in New Zealand who’s working there as a teacher.
Just want to stay up to date with immigration news out of New Zealand? Then we suggest joining our newsletter. You’ll get your newsletter once a month, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Immigration New Zealand is continuously amending their visa regulations to help the country bounce back from the economic effects of COVID-19. This month’s changes affect Essential Skill visa holders, dairy farm workers and three short-term work visas.
Changes to Essential Skills visa
Immigration New Zealand has announced three changes to the Essential Skills visa category:
- INZ has increased the duration of new Essential Skills visas for those who are paid below the median wage from 6 months to 12 months. This change applies to all Essential Skills visas granted on or after 10 June 2021.
- From 19 July, Essential Skills visa applications will be assessed using the median hourly wage of NZ$27, in line with the 2020 Statistics New Zealand median wage. This is an annual adjustment, and it’s an increase from the current rate of NZ$25.50.
- The stand-down period for Essential Skills visa holders who are paid below the median wage will be further postponed until July 2022. This stand-down period requires visa holders to leave New Zealand for 12 months after three years before applying for another lower-paid Essential Skills visa.
Border exception for dairy farm workers
Immigration New Zealand is introducing a border exception for three groups of dairy farm workers:
- Dairy herd managers (up to 150)
- Dairy farm workers (up to 50)
- Veterinarians (up to 50)
INZ is still finalising the details but it has committed to providing details as soon as its confirmed.
Extensions for three short-term work visas
INZ has extended the validity of Working Holiday visas and Supplementary Seasonal Employer work visas. INZ is also granting Pacific Recognised Seasonal Employer workers longer stays.
Working Holiday visas
Working Holiday visas that are expiring between 21 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 have been extended a further six months. To qualify for the extension, visa holders must have been in New Zealand on 14 June 2021.
This extension is already legally in effect, and INZ will update visa records in July. Visa holders can use the confirmation email from INZ as proof of their right to work when engaging with prospective employers.
Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) work visas
Supplementary Seasonal Employer (SSE) work visas expiring between 30 June 2021 and 31 December 2021 have been extended for six months.
The extended SSE visas now have open work rights allowing them to work in any sector.
Immigration New Zealand will contact visa holders to confirm their extension. The visa extensions are however already legally in effect, and INZ will update visa records in July.
Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) visa
If you are a Pacific RSE worker who came to New Zealand through the border exception you can apply for a new visa and will be able to stay beyond the normal maximum period.
Stay up to date with the latest news from New Zealand
Join our newsletter to be the first to know about changes made by Immigration New Zealand! You only need to submit your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time. Sound good? Then click here.
There are many parts to a Skilled Migrant visa application. One of these parts is the New Zealand Expression of Interest. Continue reading to find out what it is and where it fits into the process.
1. What is the Expression of Interest?
The Expression of Interest is an initial application to Immigration New Zealand (INZ), indicating your interest in applying for a Skilled Migrant visa.
2. How do I qualify to submit an Expression of Interest to INZ?
As someone who wants to immigrate to New Zealand as a skilled migrant, everything hinges on your points score. You must score at least 100 points in an immigration eligibility assessment to submit an Expression of Interest.
3. Where does the EOI fit into the Skilled Migrant application process?
The EOI is the third step in your Skilled Migrant visa application:
The first step is making sure that you meet the basic requirements:
- You’re 55 or younger.
- You’re of good health.
- You meet New Zealand’s character requirements.
- You meet the English language standards for the Skilled Migrant visa.
The second step is doing your points-based immigration eligibility assessment. If you score 100 points or more, you’ll move ahead with the application process.
You submit your Expression of Interest.
You get an Invitation to Apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa if your EOI is selected by INZ.
4. Does submitting an Expression of Interest mean I’ll get a visa?
Unfortunately, being able to submit an Expression of Interest does not guarantee that you’ll get a visa.
Let us explain:
Your EOI will go into an Expression of Interest Pool, along with the EOIs of everyone else who want to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
From this pool, Immigration New Zealand selects the EOIs it feels are from the best candidates for immigration to New Zealand. In our experience, that means EOIs with 160 points and a job offer.
5. How long does my EOI stay in the pool?
Expressions of Interest are valid for 6 months. If you haven’t been selected from the pool of applicants in this time, you’ll have to submit your EOI again.
6. Can I increase my points score?
INZ awards points for age, qualifications and experience. There’s not much you can do to change any of these to get more points.
However, a job offer does increase your points score and it earns you enough points to make a significant difference to your Expression of Interest.
Our advice is thus to secure a job offer to give your EOI a greater chance of selection.
7. Should I wait to submit my Expression of Interest until I have a job offer?
That would entirely depend on you but remember that your Expression of Interest is only valid for 6 months:
- Are you confident that you’ll secure a job offer in 6 months? Then you can go ahead and submit your Expression of Interest. INZ allows you to amend your EOI once it’s been submitted.
- Don’t want the pressure of having to find a job in 6 months and having to submit and pay for an EOI more than once? Then you might want to wait with your EOI until you have a job offer.
8. What if I can’t secure a job offer and 160 points?
You could still submit or leave your Expression of Interest in the pool but you should also consider other visa options if you’re determined to work in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Expression of Interest in summary
- The Expression of Interest is the third step in the Skilled Migrant Visa application process.
- To submit an EOI to INZ for consideration, you’ll have to score 100 points in an immigration eligibility assessment.
- Your Expression of Interest will stay in the EOI pool for 6 months.
- INZ usually selects Expressions of Interest with 160 points and a job offer from the EOI pool.
- If you can’t secure a job offer and 160 points, you might have to consider applying for another type of visa.
- However, if you’re successful and INZ selects your EOI from the pool, you’ll get an Invitation to Apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa.
Do you have more questions?
Please feel free to contact us should you have any other questions about the Expression of Interest. Our immigration agents are licensed to give advice and happy to help!
The New Zealand Government has removed the start date criteria from the border exemption for critical health workers. Medical professionals in New Zealand welcomed this decision.
What does this mean for health workers?
New Zealand has border restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There are some exemptions, though. The border exemption for critical health workers is one.
The exemption allows eligible candidates from overseas to enter New Zealand to work. However, this exemption had a start date requirement. The requirement meant that new, approved employees had to start working for their New Zealand employer on or before 31 March 2021.
Now there is no start date requirement for critical health workers, which means the border exemption is indefinite.
Please note, though, that health workers still must meet all of the other border exemption requirements. Start dates are also still dependent on the availability of places in managed isolation and quarantine facilities.
What type of health workers are eligible?
The removal of the start date criteria applies to the likes of:
- Registered health practitioners, including nurses, doctors and paramedics – this includes those working in hospitals, practices, and aged care facilities
- Internationally-qualified nurses, who still have to register in New Zealand
- Workers that operate and maintain medical equipment
Please see the complete list of occupations on Immigration New Zealand under the Critical Health Workers heading. If you see your occupation, book a consultation call to find out if you’re eligible for a work visa.
Why was there an expiry date on the border exemption in the first place?
The border exemption for critical health workers was one of the first exemptions Immigration New Zealand put in place. The expiry dates allowed Immigration New Zealand to review the exemption to ensure it was still required and that it was attracting the workers New Zealand’s health care system needs.
This is what the healthcare sector had to say
New Zealand Rural General Practice Network Chief Executive Dr. Grant Davidson welcomed Immigration New Zealand’s decision.
“Many of our rural practices rely on international doctors being able to enter the country to support their communities. About one-third of practices in rural areas have long-term vacancies and there aren’t enough doctors in New Zealand to fill these spots”, Davidson said. He continued, “Border restrictions have been disrupting our placement of essential health workers in jobs beyond March 2021. We are pleased this barrier has been removed.”
The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners also praised Immigration New Zealand for their decision.
College President Dr. Samantha Murton said, “This is a major win for our GP clinics across New Zealand who are struggling to recruit enough doctors. Now with greater certainty at the border, general practices can attract overseas-trained doctors – and get them here, meaning more patients seen by a doctor and releasing some of the tension on other struggling GPs.”
Stay up to date with other COVID-19 related changes
Getting a job in New Zealand is crucial to your skilled visa application. But how do you know what jobs are in demand? Or how to find the best jobs? And what is a good salary in New Zealand? You don’t want to take just any job, after all.
There are so many questions!
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’re answering all of the questions above and seven more right here. Read to the end and you’ll feel much more confident about your job search.
1. Is it easy to get a job in New Zealand?
This is going to depend on your situation.
For starters, you’re going to find it easier getting a job in New Zealand if you work in an occupation that is in high demand. Your job search is also going to be smoother if you already know someone in New Zealand in your field who you can network with.
Entering the job search prepared is also going to make it easier to find a job. With that we mean doing things like completing your professional occupational registration if it’s needed, redoing your CV in a format that’s preferred by New Zealand employers, and being in a position to tell the employer that you do qualify for a work visa.
2. What jobs are in high demand in New Zealand?
The jobs that are in high demand and occupations that have been identified by the New Zealand Government as a ‘skill shortage’ is not necessarily the same. There are definitely overlaps, like engineers and nurses, but as a migrant it’s advisable to look at the jobs on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists.
There are three of these lists:
- Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL): The Long Term Skills Shortage List identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers throughout New Zealand.
- Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL): The Regional Skilled Shortage List (RSSL) identifies 15 regions with occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers. This gives migrants a better idea about opportunities in regional areas.
- Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL): The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List also contains immediate short-term skills shortages but these shortages are specific to the construction industry. The CISSL is divided into the same 15 regions as the RSSL.
3. Can I apply for a New Zealand work visa without a job offer?
You can do further reading about working in New Zealand on our website. You’ll find all the requirements for work visas and also discover what it’s like to work in New Zealand.
4. What is a good salary in New Zealand?
A February 2019 Stuff article revealed that the average middle-class household earns up to NZ$100,000 a year but still struggle to make ends meet.
The article sourced data from the 2018 Quality of Life Survey produced by Nielsen on behalf of eight councils in New Zealand. These councils included Auckland Council, Christchurch City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
This was the survey feedback from residents in Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand’s most popular cities among migrants:
Almost half of Auckland households earning between $70,000 and $100,000 a year said they’re just able to make ends meet
In Christchurch, 34 per cent of residents in the $70,000 to $100,000 band said they had just enough to survive
When asked for comment, economist Shamubeel Eaquab said “Around the world we are seeing the same pattern. People are living with high incomes and struggling to make ends meet.”
Eaquab added that “A $70,000 household income in a small town could seem high, but in Auckland it’s probably not enough. Incomes have not kept pace with rents.”
What is the average salaries for in-demand occupations?
Let’s consult TradeMe which released a salary guide for New Zealand for the six months to April 2020:
|Early childhood teachers||NZ$60k|
|Civil and Structural Engineers||NZ$85k|
|Doctors and Specialists||NZ$45k|
|Psychologists and Counsellors||NZ$65k|
|Business and Systems Analysts||NZ$115k|
|Boilermakers and Welders||NZ$60k|
You can view the complete salary guide on TradeMe.
What is New Zealand’s living costs?
We compiled the living costs for New Zealand at the beginning of 2020. You can find that article in our blog section but please keep in mind that the costs were correct as at February 2020.
You’ll also find a living cost comparison of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in our blog section. We calculated the basic monthly expenses, travel costs, restaurant prices, and school fees.
5. How do I find jobs?
There are a couple things you can do to find a job:
- Stand out from the crowd with a migration cover letter and a New Zealand-friendly CV
- Market your CV
- Set up and maintain a LinkedIn profile
- Sign up for job alerts on career and recruitment websites
- Identify companies you’d like to work for and see if they have job openings
You’ll also need to know where to look for jobs. You’re in luck here because we’ve done the research for you. We’ve included employers in our Working in New Zealand Guide and we also list 10 of the country’s top recruiters on our website.
6. Will I need to do qualifications and occupational registration?
Immigration New Zealand has a list of common international qualifications that have already been assessed against the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). If your qualification is on this list, it is exempt from assessment. However, if you qualification is not listed, you may have to get it assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).
Immigration New Zealand has a list of jobs that require some form of official registration. You may need to provide evidence of your occupational registration when you submit your visa application if you are:
- Applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category and planning to work in an occupation where registration is required, or
- Including a job offer in a work visa application an occupation registration is a requirement
Please feel free to contact us to speak to us about qualifications and occupational registration.
7. What if the recruiter or company asks if I have New Zealand work experience?
Many New Zealand recruiters and employers value work experience gained in New Zealand because it shows that you’re familiar with the Kiwi way of working. Someone who’s worked in New Zealand may also need less training when starting with the company.
If you only have overseas working experience, you have to frame that experience in a way that shows the interviewer that your experience is valuable.
Let’s say the interviewer says to you, “I see you don’t have any New Zealand work experience.” A good way to respond to this is the following:
“That’s true. However, I have worked in many English speaking countries with similar engineering codes to those in New Zealand. The most recent role I had (name the country) was closely related to this position. I have checked and my qualification from (name the country) covered the same basic areas as the New Zealand degree.”
You can review more good and bad responses to this remark on New Zealand Now.
8. How do I show the recruiter I’m the right person for the job?
You’re in the interview because the employer think you can do the job based on your qualifications, skills and experience. Now you have to show them that you’re a good fit for the company too.
A large part of this is showing that you understand the New Zealand way of working:
- Managers and employees often have an informal and friendly relationship at work
- Status is not as important as in some other countries
- Kiwi employees prefer managers to consult and ask, not to command
- Leaders are expected to be good at motivating their team while treating everyone equally and with respect
- Employees that are not in management positions have to be able to work independently and use their initiative, without relying on a manager to make every decision
9. Do I have to go to New Zealand for interviews?
Even though virtual interviews are common these days, you should still expect that some employers would ask that you attend at least one interview in person. Just be sure to apply for a Look See Decide visa before travelling to New Zealand.
10. Can I work in New Zealand before I get my visa?
No, you cannot. You can only travel to New Zealand and start your job once you have your visa in your passport.
Do you have more questions about getting a job in New Zealand?
If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to call us on +27 (0) 21 202 8200. You can also book a consultation call if you want to go ahead and find out if you qualify for a work visa. Our licensed immigration advisors can do an assessment with you and advise on the next steps to take.
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed New Zealand’s economy into its worst recession in 33 years. Despite this, employment and career site SEEK recently reported that some industries are showing positive signs of growth compared to when the pandemic first hit.
SEEK found this when they collated data from July to August 2020 and compared it to data from March to April 2020. From this data, SEEK identified the top five industries in New Zealand for job ad growth at the moment as well as the 30 fastest-growing jobs in the country.
These were their findings:
1. Top five industries for job ad growth
|Sports and Recreation||125%|
|Farming, Animals and Conservation||83%|
|Consulting and Strategy||76%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||74%|
Hospitality and tourism was one of the country’s hardest-hit industries, so it’s encouraging to see it in this top five. We think it’s safe to say that this performance is thanks to New Zealand’s swift COVID-19 response that has enabled the country to go back to ‘normal’ faster than just about every other nation in the world.
The 30 fastest-growing jobs
|Industry||Role||Job Ad Growth|
|Government and Defence||Government Advisor||108%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Physiotherapist||101%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Storeperson||94%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Project Manager||82%|
|Community Services and Development||Social Worker||71%|
|Hospitality and Tourism||Chef||70%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Registered Nurse||56%|
|Trades and Services||Labourer||52%|
|Administration and Office Support||Receptionist||52%|
|Community Services and Development||Aged and Disability Support Worker||50%|
|Real Estate and Property||Residential Real Estate Sales||48%|
|Healthcare and Medical||Psychologist||32%|
|Sales||Business Development Manager||32%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Drivers||29%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Developer||28%|
|Administration and Office Support||Administrator||27%|
|Administration and Office Support||Executive Assistant||25%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Merchandiser||17%|
|Administration and Office Support||Personal Assistant||16%|
|Retail and Consumer Products||Store Manager||16%|
|Administration and Office Support||Office Administrator||15%|
|Trades and Services||Cleaner||14%|
|Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics||Machine Operator||13%|
|Information and Communication Technology||Software Engineer||11%|
|Trades and Services||Carpenter||9%|
New Zealand recently had a federal election which explains the appearance of government advisor roles in the top spot. Storeperson roles, in at number three, are most likely on the rise due to changes in consumer behaviour. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many consumers to shopping online which means warehouses are busier than ever and in need of fast, efficient workers to get orders out the door.
But border restrictions are still in place, we hear you say
Yes, New Zealand’s border restrictions are still in place and still affect a lot of people. However, the fact that the job market is recovering is a positive sign of things to come. It means New Zealand’s economy and the country is a whole is starting to recover.
Another sure sign of this is the fact that New Zealand has already opened its borders to some critical workers. So, don’t put your dreams on hold! If you’re serious about moving to New Zealand, continue making it happen.
The New Zealand government has relaxed the criteria for some overseas workers to allow migrants with critical skills through the border. The purpose of the decision is to help the country recover from its COVID-19 economic downturn.
Primarily, the criteria now defines skills as ‘not readily available’ in New Zealand as opposed to ‘not available in New Zealand’, and the change came into effect on Friday, 11 September.
Skills now described as ‘not readily obtainable’ in New Zealand
The New Zealand government has removed the requirement that migrants in critical occupations have to have gained their skills, qualifications or work experience overseas.
As reported by Radio New Zealand (RNZ), Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said “Removing that requirement will allow entry, in some limited cases, where, for example, a workers has skills which are obtainable in New Zealand but they have unique experience gained overseas which would bring unique expertise to New Zealand businesses.”
The wording in the Immigration Act ordinarily states that these workers have to have unique experience and technical specialist skills that are ‘not obtainable’ in New Zealand. This wording has now been changed to ‘not readily obtainable’ in New Zealand to reflect that temporary change in requirements.
Minister Faafoi said about this that the “…wording change reflects that, in some fields, there is a very limited pool of experts and significant training would have to be undertaken before the skills were obtainable in New Zealand.”
Critical workers who meet the requirements are referred to as ‘other critical workers’.
It’s still far from a ‘free for all’
While New Zealand is working towards economic recovery, the country also wants to limit its exposure to the coronavirus and prevent the spread of the virus. To this end, ’other critical workers’ will still have to meet strict standards and criteria despite the loosening of the skills requirement.
New Zealand also has a limited number of isolation facilities for migrants arriving from overseas. This further restricts how many workers would be able to come through the borders.
Here’s how the process works…
New Zealand employers must request for approval of ‘other critical workers’ to enter New Zealand. Unfortunately, it is not possible for migrants to submit the request.
Further to this, employers can apply to bring employees to New Zealand under two categories:
- Short-term critical workers – staff needed for less than 6 months in total
- Long-term critical workers – staff needed for more than 6 months
Each of these categories has its own criteria:
Short-term critical workers
Workers coming to New Zealand for a short-term role, i.e. to fill a position for less than 6 months, must:
- Have unique experience and technical or specialists skills that are not readily obtainable in New Zealand, or
- Undertake a time-critical role for:
- The delivery of an approved major infrastructure project, or a government approved event or a major government-approved programme
- An approved government-to-government agreement
- Work that brings significant wider benefit to the national or regional economy
Examples of short-term critical workers
Immigration New Zealand has given examples of roles that may meet the short-term worker requirements. These examples include highly specialist veterinarians, vendor-appointed engineers required to install major equipment or an actor in a key film role.
Long-term critical workers
Workers coming to New Zealand to fill a long-term role, i.e. for 6 months or longer, must:
- Earn at least twice the median salary (NZD$106,080 a year), or
- Have a role that is essential for the completion or continuation of a science programme under a government funded or partially government-funded contract including research and development exchanges and partnerships, and has the support of the Science, Innovation and International Branch at MBIE to travel to New Zealand to carry out their work, or
- Be undertaking a role that is essential for the delivery or execution of:
- a government-approved event, or
- major government-approved programme, or
- approved major infrastructure project.
You can find events, project and programmes that have already been approved on Immigration New Zealand.
What happens once the employer has made the request?
Immigration New Zealand will review each request on its own merits and may seek advice from the appropriate government agencies. At the moment, most requests for ‘other critical workers’ receive an outcome within two weeks.
In the case of successful requests, INZ will contact the workers whose employers get approval for an exception to the border restrictions and invite the workers to apply for a Critical Purpose Visitor Visa or a Critical Purpose Variation of Conditions to allow them to travel to New Zealand.
Workers will get instructions from INZ on how to apply for either of these visas. Workers will also have to pay the immigration fee and levies, if applicable, as part of their application.
Follow us to stay up to date with further developments
New Zealand has made a couple of immigration changes in September, including the resumption of off-shore visa application processing and visa extensions for certain residents.
It is safe to assume that more changes will be announced in future as the coronavirus pandemic subsides.
You’ll not only get visa news but also tips for your immigration and information about life in New Zealand.
New Zealand is a dream immigration destination for many people looking for a better life. Unfortunately, some migrants go there and then find themselves working for a boss who exploits them.
These employers are in the minority, but the New Zealand Government has had enough. The Government has now committed to spending NZ$50 million over the next four years to introduce changes that’ll reduce the risk of exploitation in the workplace.
Changes implemented will prevent worker exploitation, protect temporary migrant workers and deter employer non-compliance
Temporary New Zealand work visas are tied to specific employers. This makes it near impossible for migrants to leave exploitative situations.
To enable migrants to leave these situations without negatively affecting their immigration status, the Government has undertaken to create a new temporary work visa for this purpose.
The Government will also set up a free telephone number and reporting services to receive and handle complaints about exploitative work situations. This will ensure that there is a dedicate focus on dealing with complaints. It will also help build a better understanding of the nature and scale of the problem.
In tandem with these change, the Government will set higher standards for franchises, labour hire companies and similar businesses where migrant exploitation often occurs.
Further to this, the Government wants to:
- Disqualify employers convicted of migrant exploitation from managing or directing a company
- Prevent exploitative employers from accessing migrant labour in the future
- Establish new immigration and employment infringement offences targeting non-compliant employer behavior
Government will launch an awareness campaign to support the changes
Protecting migrant workers will also require that temporary workers know their rights and that employers are aware of their obligations.
To achieve both of these goals, the Government will launch an awareness campaign to educate both migrant workers and employers on labour matters.
At the same time, the Government will also make the general public aware of migrant exploitation. This, we suspect, to empower the public to assist in the fight against workers being taken advantage of by employers.
Employment rights continued to be enforced in the meantime
While the Government is implementing these changes, the relevant labour departments will continue to enforce and monitor existing employment rights in workplaces across New Zealand. This includes rights like minimum wages and leave entitlements.
The New Zealand Government has decided to crack down on exploitative employers. The goal is to create better work environments for temporary migrant workers.
In order to achieve this goal, a number of changes will be implemented over the next four years. These changes aim to protect migrant workers while holding New Zealand employers accountable for their actions.
It’s almost guaranteed that you’ve come across the phrase ‘New Zealand skills shortage list’ in your emigration research.
But what is it? And what role does it play in your emigration? These are the types of questions we’d like to answer for you today.
What is the New Zealand skill shortage list?
The first thing you should know is that there are three skill shortage lists, not just one:
- Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL)
- Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL)
- Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL)
Collectively, these lists are called the Essential Skills in Demand Lists (ESID). Individually, each list is a record of occupations experiencing a shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand.
What role does the skill shortage lists play in my emigration?
We’ll let Immigration New Zealand explain: “If you’re offered a job that’s on one of the lists, and you’ve got the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work or residence visa may be easier.”
How do the lists work?
If your occupation is on a shortage list, the position you’re offered won’t have to be subjected to an individual labour market test.
This means the New Zealand employer doesn’t have to demonstrate that the company couldn’t find suitable New Zealanders to fill the position or to train for the position.
Thus, if the position you’re offered is on a skill shortage lists it means suitable New Zealanders are hard to find and a visa can be granted to a qualified worker from overseas.
This makes the application process easier for both you and your prospective employer.
The three skills shortage lists
As explained, there are three skills shortage lists. Each list offers the opportunity to qualify for a certain visa or visas.
1. Long Term Skills Shortage List (LTSSL)
The Long Term Skills Shortage List identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers throughout New Zealand.
In other words, your occupation is in demand not just now but also for the foreseeable future.
What visas can you apply for?
If you’re offered a position in an occupation that’s on the LTSSL and you meet the requirements associated with the occupation, you’ll be eligible to apply for either an Essential Skills Work Visa or for a Long Term Skills Shortage List work visa:
- Essential Skills Work Visa: The Essential Skills Work Visa is a temporary work visa. In certain cases, going on to apply for permanent residency is possible. It would be best to discuss your eligibility with your immigration advisor at the time of making your temporary visa application.
- LTSSL Work Visa: If you obtain a LTSSL Work Visa, you’ll be eligible to apply for residence after two years of working. This is provided that you can also meet these important requirements:
- You have ongoing employment
- You annual salary is at least NZ$45,000
2. Regional Skilled Shortage List (RSSL)
The Regional Skilled Shortage List (RSSL) identifies 15 regions with occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers. This gives migrants a better idea about opportunities in regional areas.
What visas can you apply for?
If your occupation, qualifications and experience appear on the RSSL, you may be eligible for to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa.
3. Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL)
The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List also contains immediate short-term skills shortages but these shortages are specific to the construction industry. The CISSL is divided into the same 15 regions as the RSSL.
What visas can you apply for?
If your occupation, qualifications and experience appear on the CISSL, you may be eligible for to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa.
How does Immigration New Zealand decide on the occupations on these lists?
New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) reviews the Essential Skills in Demand Lists regularly, with contributions from industry groups. During these reviews the MBIE decide if any occupations should be:
- Added or removed from a list; or
- Moved to another list.
The first step in the process is selecting occupations for review. Once this has been done, submissions on nominated occupations are invited from industry groups.
The last step is the MBIE deciding on the changes and publishing the new lists.
What if my occupation is not the Essential Skills in Demand Lists?
You still have options if you want to work in New Zealand!
1. Essential Skills Work Visa with motivation from an employer and a labour market test
You could still apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa, even if your occupation doesn’t appear on the Essential Skills in Demand Lists.
To do this, your prospective employer must motivate why they should be allowed to employ a foreigner.
The employer will also have to submit to a labour market test. This means the New Zealand employer must demonstrate that the company advertised the position and could not find a New Zealand citizen or resident to fill the position you’re being offered.
The requirements associated with the labour market test will depend on whether the position is deemed high-skilled or low-skilled:
- High-skilled positions:
- Motivational statement
- The text for the job advert
- Details of where and for how long the advert ran for
- Low-skilled positions:
- A Skills Match Report from Work and Income
- Proof of advertising the role
- Motivational statement
- Proof there are no New Zealanders available to do the work
- Proof there are no New Zealanders who they believe are suitable for the role
From your side, you’d have to be able to prove that you have the skills, qualifications and experience to do the job. You’d also have to obtain professional or trade registrations if applicable.
2. Skilled Migrant Visa
Don’t forget about the Skilled Migrant Visa! This is a highly coveted work visa among migrants because it offers immediate permanent residency to the visa holder. The criteria is strict though!
You’ll have to:
- Be under the age of 55
- Have your skills, experience and qualifications assessed as skilled
- Have an offer of skilled employment
- Meet New Zealand’s health and character requirements
- Meet the minimum English language requirements
3. Other visas that allow you to work
How do I find out if my occupation appears on a skill shortage list?
You can do a search for your occupation on Immigration New Zealand’s website, but your occupation appearing on a skill shortage list is not the full picture. You still have to meet all the other requirements to qualify for a work visa.
If you want to know if you can apply for a work visa, we can help you get to the answer by doing an immigration assessment with you.
You can take the first step right now by booking a consultation call. You’ll speak directly with one of our licensed immigration advisors.
There are three Essential Skills in Demand Lists namely the Long Term Skills Shortage List, the Regional Skills Shortage List and the Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List.
These lists identify skills shortage areas in New Zealand and serve as records of the specific occupations in need.
Your occupation appearing on a skills list is a good sign, but it’s only the first piece of the puzzle. This is why doing an immigration eligibility assessment is always a good way to start your immigration journey!
There are six New Zealand work visas that allow migrants to work in the country. Without one of these visas to your name, you won’t be able to legally take up a job.
Each of the six visas has its own set of requirements and offers either immediate residency, a pathway to residency or permission to work in New Zealand for a specific purpose or event.
To find out which visa you qualify for, you’d have to do an immigration assessment with a licensed agent. Just before we tell you how to do that, let’s have a look at the different New Zealand work visas.
The Skilled Migrant visa and the partner visa offer immediate residency, i.e. you’re granted permanent resident status if you’re visa application is successful.
1. Skilled Migrant visa
The Skilled Migrant visa allows you to work in New Zealand, but only if you can meet these criteria:
- You’re 55 or younger
- Your occupation is on a skills shortage list
- Your skills, experience and qualifications satisfy INZ’s requirements for your occupation
- You have a job offer from a New Zealand employer
- You meet the minimum English language requirements
You’ll also have to score at least 160 points in your assessment to receive an Invitation to Apply from Immigration New Zealand. This invitation is your chance to make a formal skilled migrant application.
It’s important to note that getting an Invitation to Apply does not automatically mean that your application for a Skilled Migrant will be successful. Immigration New Zealand could still turn down your visa application.
Read more about the Skilled Migrant visa here.
2. Partner visa
The Partner visa is not a work visa but it extends many rights to visa holders and the ability to work in New Zealand is one of those rights.
To apply for a Partner visa, you and your New Zealand partner must be married or in a civil union or a de facto relationship.
Further to this:
- Your partner must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.
- You and your partner must be able to prove that the relationship is stable and committed.
If Immigration New Zealand finds that your relationship is genuine and that you meet all the other requirements, you’ll be eligible for a partner visa.
You’ll also be able to include dependent children up to the age of 24 in your application.
Read more about the Partner visa here.
Pathway to residency
As the title suggests, the visas that fall under this category serves as a pathway to residency.
In other words, you’re recognised as a temporary resident when you hold any of these visas. However, you could be able apply to for permanent residency later on if you meet the requirements.
3. Essential Skills Work visa
The Essential Skills Work visa enables you to work in New Zealand but only if the below is true:
- Your occupation is on the Essential Skills list
- You have the necessary skills and experience to perform the job’s functions
- You have a full-time job offer from a New Zealand employer
- Your prospective employer can prove to INZ that the company could not find a suitable New Zealander to fill the position you’re being offered
- Your remuneration is according to the ANZSCO level of your occupation
Just like with the Skilled Migrant visa, you must also complete a points-based assessment.
In order to submit an Expression of Interest and receive an Invitation to Apply from INZ, you’ll have to score at least 100 points.
Read more about the Essential Skills Work visa here.
4. Partner of a New Zealand Work Visa Holder
You’d obviously want to go with your partner to New Zealand if he or she decides to immigrate. You can do this by applying for the partner visa that’s specifically for partners of work visa holders.
A partner visa not only allows you to join your partner in New Zealand, it also allows you to work while you live in the country.
To meet the requirement of this visa, your partnership must be one of the following:
- Civil union
- De facto relationship
Immigration New Zealand would also want to see that your partnership is genuine. To judge this, INZ will consider all of the below:
- How long you’ve been together and how long you’ve been living together as a couple
- Whether you support each other financially and how you share financial responsibilities
- Property that you may own or share together
- If you have any children together
- Whether other people recognise your relationship or not
Read more about the Partner of a New Zealand Work Visa Holder Visa here.
5. Entrepreneur visa
The Entrepreneur visa is the one for you if you want to work in your own business in New Zealand. This could mean either of the following situations:
- Starting a business; or
- Buying into an existing business.
The visa is split into two stages:
- Start-Up: An initial 1 year period during which you have to set up or buy into a New Zealand business.
- Balance: A further 2 year period is granted if you can prove you have established your business.
To apply for an Entrepreneur visa, you’d need the following:
- NZ$100,000 minimum investment capital, unless your business is in the IT or science sectors. INZ allows for waiver applications of the investment amount for these industries.
- Comprehensive business plan
- Good business character – Immigration New Zealand will review any cases of business failure, fraud and bankruptcy
- You score at least 120 points in your assessment
- You meet the English language requirements
Read more about the Entrepreneur work visa here.
Permission to work in New Zealand for a set period of time
Sometimes your visa need is not for immigration, but for a short work or business trip instead. In this case, you’d have to apply for a visa that allows for the specific purpose of your visit to New Zealand.
6. Specific Purpose Work visa
When you need to go to New Zealand for a specific purpose or event, you’ll apply for a Specific Purpose Work visa.
Such purposes or events could be, for example, a short-term assignment for your company, working on a film set, installing or servicing specialized equipment, judging a show or exhibition or going to New Zealand to referee sports matches.
In short, any work that would attract any form of a benefit – whether that’s a salary, housing, food or any other form of benefit or remuneration.
You would need to prove the following when you submit a visa application:
- You genuinely need the work visa for the time period requested
- You have enough funds to support yourself for the period of the work visa
- It is your intention to leave New Zealand at the end of the work visa’s validity
Read more about the Specific Purpose Work visa here.
Now let’s chat about assessments…
As we said right at the start, you can discover your best work visa option for New Zealand with an immigration assessment.
Such an assessment will take into consideration all of the necessary information about your personal profile to determine which New Zealand work visa you can apply for.
There are online assessments available but it is best to get a licensed immigration advisor to this assessment with you.
Online assessments often don’t ask the probing questions necessary to accurately determine your eligibility for any of the New Zealand work visas.
So where do you find licensed advisors? On the website of the New Zealand Immigration Adviser Authority (IAA). You can rest assured that advisors who appear here are licensed and held accountable for the advice dispensed.
Intergate’s licensed advisors
Sarah Hewitt is our New Zealand expert and you can book a consultation call with her on our website.
New Zealand offers 6 work visas that offer you immediate residency, a pathway to residency or permission to work in country for a set period of time, depending on the visa you qualify for.
Each of the New Zealand work visas has its own set of requirements and you’ll only know if you qualify for a visa and which one you qualify for once you’ve done an immigration assessment.
To ensure you get the correct advice, only deal with licensed advisers. It could mean the difference between actually getting to work in New Zealand and spending money on a dream that’s not possible.