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Essential Skills in Demand List review 2016 Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has completed its annual review of two of the Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists – the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL). The Ministry regularly reviews the ESID lists to ensure that they meet the changing needs of the labour market, and to ensure opportunities for New Zealanders first.

Long Term Skill Shortage List

The LTSSL identifies occupations that have an absolute (sustained and ongoing) shortage of skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand. Migrants who gain employment in one of these occupations may be granted a work visa under the LTSSL Work to Residence or Essential Skills instructions. Migrants applying for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category may gain bonus points towards their application if they have an offer of employment, work experience or qualifications in an area of absolute skill shortage identified on the LTSSL.

The outcomes of the review of the LTSSL are to:

  • remove the following occupations for which there is no longer a shortage:
    • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (this has been added to the ISSL for all regions of New Zealand)
    • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
    • Registered Nurse (Medical)
    • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
    • Ship's Engineer
    • Ship's Master
    • Ship's Officer
  • retain Chef on the LTSSL.

Immediate Skill Shortage List

The ISSL identifies occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers either throughout New Zealand or in certain regions. Migrants wishing to work in occupations on the ISSL may be granted work visas under Essential Skills instructions if they meet the specified qualifications and/or experience requirements.

The outcomes of the review of the ISSL are to:

  • add the following 7 occupations:
    • Bricklayer (a)
    • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications) (c)
    • Composite Technician (c)
    • Floor Finisher (b)
    • Stonemason(a)
    • Telecommunications Cable Jointer (c)
    • Telecommunications Technician (c)

(a) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island region.

(b) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island and Waikato/Bay of Plenty regions.

(c) for all regions of New Zealand

  • remove the following 2 occupations for which there is no longer a shortage:
    • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
    • Upholsterer

Submissions to move Apiarist from ISSL to the LTSSL have been declined.

Timing of changes

The ESID changes will take effect on 27 February 2017.  Further work is currently being carried out to review the requirements which migrants need to satisfy to apply for a work visa or a residence 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.

Effect on Skilled Migrant residence applicants

If you are currently seeking New Zealand residence through the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC), the changes to the LTSSL could affect you.

  • If you have an expression of interest in the SMC pool on 27 February 2017, and have claimed points for an occupation or qualification in an area of absolute skills shortage, you should check that you are still eligible for the points you have claimed. The updated LTSSL will apply to your expression of interest.
  • If your expression of interest was selected from the pool before 27 February 2017, or if you have already been invited to apply or have applied under the SMC you will not be affected by these changes.  The LTSSL that was in place before 27 February will apply to your application.

Other immigration options

Removal from a skill shortage list does not mean that migrants cannot come to New Zealand. Other immigration options are available for employers and prospective migrants. These include:

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

Accredited Employer – facilitating recruitment of skilled workers from overseas where the salary is at least NZ$55,000 per annum. This option provides a pathway to residence.
Accredited Employer

Approval in Principle – where a number of migrants are being sought.
Approval in Principle

Skilled Migrant Category – under which migrants can apply for residence in New Zealand.
Skilled Migrant Category

The Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub can facilitate employment of New Zealanders in Canterbury, and if there are no suitable applicants, can facilitate visa applications for migrant workers. Also, the Canterbury Skill Shortage List contains some occupations in shortage for the Canterbury rebuild (in addition those on the ISSL and LTSSL).

The Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub

Other matters

The Essential Skills in Demand Lists are reviewed and updated regularly in order to ensure that the Ministry’s policy is flexible and responsive to changing economic and labour market conditions.  As part of reviews, information is gathered from submissions made by external stakeholders and this is considered alongside economic, labour market and immigration data.  It is important that the lists reflect genuine skill shortages so New Zealanders are not disadvantaged in seeking employment and training. 

You can test whether an occupation is on any of the three shortage lists or on the list of occupations recognised for residence applications under the Skilled Migrant Category by using the skill shortage list checker. This provides information and the requirements for each of the lists.

Skill shortage list checker

We expect the next ESID review to commence in April 2017.

The latest review of the Canterbury Skill Shortage List in November 2016 resulted in no changes.