INZ has recently completed its annual review of two of the Skills Shortage Lists – the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) and announced a number of changes.

The Skills Shortage Lists are regularly reviewed to ensure they meet the changing needs of employers in the labour market, whilst protecting the opportunities for New Zealanders. As part of the reviews, information is gathered from submissions made by external stakeholders and this is considered alongside economic, labour market, immigration and other relevant data.

If an occupation is on a shortage list, work visa applications for positions in that occupation from suitably qualified and experienced migrants are not subject to an individual labour market test. A labour market test requires that an employer must demonstrate that no suitable New Zealanders are available to fill a job vacancy.

Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL)

The LTSSL contains occupations that have been identified as having as sustained and ongoing shortage of skilled workers throughout New Zealand.

The outcomes of the review of the LTSSL are to:

Remove five occupations

  • Anaesthetist
  • Forest Scientist
  • Pathologist
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Renal Medicine Specialist

Retain two occupations that were included in the review

  • Chemical Engineer
  • Materials Engineer

Submissions to add four occupations (Hairdresser, Motorcycle Mechanic, Registered Nurse (Mental Health), and Sports Coach or Instructor) to the LTSSL have been declined.

Immediate Skill Shortage List

The ISSL contains occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers either throughout New Zealand or in certain regions.

The outcomes of the review of the ISSL are to:

Add 12 occupations

  • Accountant (General) (a)
  • Carpenter (b)
  • Carpenter and Joiner (b)
  • Fibrous Plasterer (b)
  • Joiner (b)
  • Midwife (b)
  • Motor Mechanic (General) (b)
  • Panel beater (b)
  • Roof Plumber (c)
  • Roof Tiler (c)
  • Solid Plasterer (b)
  • Vehicle Painter (b)

(a) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island, Wellington and Canterbury/Upper South Island regions
(b) for all regions of New Zealand
(c) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Canterbury/Upper South Island and Otago/Southland regions

Remove five occupations

  • Dental Technician
  • Dentist
  • Medical Laboratory Technician (Phlebotomy and Histology Technicians)
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Poultry Farmer

Retain five occupations that were included in the review

  • Cardiologist
  • Ophthalmologist
  • Metal Casting Trades Worker (Foundry Moulder)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care)
  • Resident Medical Officer

Submissions to add Hair or Beauty Salon Manager to the ISSL have been declined.

When changes will take effect?

The Skills Shortage List changes will take effect in February 2018.  INZ have advised that further work is currently being carried out to review the requirements which migrants need to satisfy to apply for a work visa using the skill shortage lists. This includes a review of qualifications in association with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, and some other changes to ensure that the requirements for using the lists are appropriate for the shortages.

If an occupation is not on a skill shortage list there are still various possible visa options a person can pursue depending upon the individual circumstances which can include:

Essential Skills Work Visa – subject to an employer demonstrating that they have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position and been unsuccessful

Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa – subject to an offer of employment from an accredited employer

Skilled Migrant Category – a residence pathway subject to meeting the point’s criteria

The Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub – for certain occupations in the Canterbury region

Before making an application it is strongly advised to seek the guidance of a suitably qualified and experienced immigration professional.