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Becoming a Residential Care Officer is one possible pathway to live and work in New Zealand.

An offer of employment as a Residential Care Officer may make you eligible to apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa – subject to an employer demonstrating that they have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position and have been unsuccessful.

Employment as a Residential Care Officer could also allow you to claim points under the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) Resident Visa – provided you have sufficient total points to meet the requirements of this points-based resident visa.

What is a Residential Care Officer?

Residential Care Officer is one of the jobs listed by the Australia & New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). The ANZSCO lists the jobs recognized by Immigration New Zealand for visa application purposes. The ANZSCO also lists the Skill Level of each job, which is important information for deciding which visa types an applicant may qualify for. A Residential Care Officer role has a Skill Level of 2.

According to the ANZSCO description, a Residential Care Officer “[p]rovides care and supervision for children or disabled persons in group housing or institutional care.” The ANZSCO also lists the tasks a Residential Care Officer performs as follows:

  • assessing clients’ needs and planning, developing and implementing educational, training and support programs
  • interviewing clients and assessing the nature and extent of difficulties
  • monitoring and reporting on the progress of clients
  • referring clients to agencies that can provide additional help
  • supporting families and providing education and care for children and disabled persons in adult service units, group housing and government institutions

 

How do you know if you are a Residential Care Officer?

Meeting the standards required of an ANZSCO occupation is not dependant on your job title. Your official job title might be “Residential Care Officer” on your employment contract, but that does not necessarily mean you meet the ANZSCO requirements of the role. Conversely, though your official job title might be completely different from “Residential Care Officer”, you may still meet the ANZSCO requirements. More important than your job title, and even more important than your written job description, are the tasks and duties that you actually perform in your role and how these are able to be evidenced.

Unlike other roles in the care sector, Residential Care Officers are not primarily engaged in looking after the day to day needs of patients and clients. Instead they have strategic and long-term oversight of client care. In this way, Residential Care Officer roles differ from roles like that of Personal Care Assistant, Nursing Support Worker or Aged or Disabled Carer, and carry a higher ANZSCO Skill Level. However, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has shown a tendency to assume roles in the fields of care and welfare, are primarily about personal caregiving. This is why it is important to provide very credible and well-documented evidence in support of an application, proving that you routinely perform the relevant ANZSCO tasks, as core components of your daily work. Recent decisions of the Immigration & Protection Tribunal (IPT) confirm the critical importance of evidence that specifically addresses the Residential Care Officer tasks listed by the ANZSCO.

If you currently work, or plan to work, as a Residential Care Officer, there are a number of immigration pathways to New Zealand potentially available to you. Before making an application it is strongly advised that you seek the guidance of a licensed immigration advisor. Contact Pathways NZ for more detailed information and a free preliminary assessment.

INZ have 4 specific skills lists that include various occupations, they each have their own specific purpose but are quite often confused, here we will explain each of the lists, their purpose and relevance.

3 of the lists are skills shortage lists,– Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) and Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL). Each of the lists stipulates occupations along with the requisite qualification and or relevant work experience requirements for an applicant to be deemed suitably qualified and therefore eligible to benefit under the terms of the applicable list

The Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.

Residence – If you work in an occupation on the LTSSL and meet the list requirements you may qualify for bonus points when applying for residence through the Skilled Migrant Category. With the benefit of bonus points you may score 140 points or more without the need of a job offer to proceed with your    residence application

Work to Residence – If you get a job in an occupation on the LTSSL and meet the list requirements, you may be granted a work visa under the Work to Residence category. This means that you may be eligible to apply for residence in two years, provided you meet standard requirements and that job has a base salary of at least NZ$45,000.

The Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL) is only applicable for Work Visa applications under Essentials Skills and includes occupations where skilled workers are immediately required in New Zealand and indicates that there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available to take up the position. If you are offered a job on the ISSL and meet the list requirements this enables faster processing of the application and a more certain outcome.

The Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL) contains occupations in critical shortage in the Canterbury region following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. It draws on the occupations on the Immediate and Long Term Skill Shortage Lists (LTSSL) relevant to the Canterbury rebuild. If your skills appear on the CSSL and you have a job offer in Canterbury, you may be granted an Essential Skills work visa. If the occupation is also on the LTSSL, then you may also be able to apply for residence.

The final list is the List of recognised Skilled Occupations. The list is only applicable for Skilled Migrant Residence applications. If your occupation is on this list it means that you may be eligible to apply for a resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category. This is a points-based visa that considers factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications and an offer of skilled employment. To apply under the Skilled Migrant Category you must be aged 55 or under, meet the skill level for your occupation, and meet English language, health, and character requirements.

Before making an application you should always seek professional advice to ensure that you are eligible to be granted a visa under the appropriate category.