Skill shortage review process

Skills needed in the NZ workforce are added to Essential Skills in Demand Lists (ESID). Find out how occupations on the lists are reviewed and how industry groups contribute.

About the skill shortages lists

New Zealand competes internationally for skilled workers. Workers with skills on the ESID lists usually find it easier to apply for temporary work and some resident visas.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) compiles three skill shortage lists, based partly on suggestions from employers and trade unions. They are the:

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List
  • Immediate Skill Shortage List
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List.

These lists include skilled occupations that New Zealand employers find it difficult to recruit for. You can search the lists online.

Skill shortage list check | Online tool

Occupations that can be nominated for review

To nominate an occupation for a review of the Immediate and Long Term Skill Shortage Lists, the occupation must:

  • have an Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) skill level 1, 2 or 3 classification
  • have the support of at least one industry body or professional association, for example employers, trade unions or industry training bodies
  • not have been included in the previous review, unless the nominator can demonstrate a significant change in labour market conditions that warrants a further review
  • be in sufficient shortage to need at least 50 migrant workers every year.

ANZSCO classifications

How the review process works

We review the Immediate and Long Term Skill Shortage Lists every year.

When we review a skill shortage list, we decide whether any occupations need to be:

  • added
  • removed
  • moved from one list to another.

The review process has three stages.

1. We select occupations for review

To decide which occupations will be reviewed, MBIE investigates shortages and seeks input from affected industries. They provide a different perspective and often have more up-to-date information about specific occupations.

We do this by:

  • inviting employers, trade unions and industry training bodies to nominate occupations that could be added to, removed from or moved between lists
  • reviewing industry nominations and selecting occupations for review
  • publishing a Preliminary Indicator Evidence Report (PIER) for each reviewed occupation, which sets out data that helps us decide whether the occupation needs to be on one of the lists.

After the nominations close, we contact everyone who submitted a nomination to confirm which occupations have been selected for review.

2. We invite submissions on nominated occupations

Final decisions about changes to the list are based on submissions from industry groups and other relevant information. We do this by:

  • inviting employers, trade unions and industry training bodies for submissions supported by evidence about the nature and extent of skill shortages in the occupations under review
  • consulting industry groups and government agencies to collect any information we need to help us decide on changes to the lists.

Groups who nominated an occupation that is being reviewed must make a submission.

3. We decide on changes and publish updated lists

We decide what changes will be made to the lists based on the submissions we receive and the information we gather.

We then publish the updated lists on our website.

What to include in a nomination or submission

If you nominate an occupation or make a submission about it, include:

  • evidence of consultation with employers, employees, trainers or interested groups
  • evidence sourced from surveys, administrative data or employees’ feedback

We have prepared examples that give you an idea of the information you could provide.

Example nomination form PDF 83KB

ESID submission example PDF 90KB

2018 review

The ESID lists are currently being reviewed. The forms for our 2018 review are available now.

2018 skill shortage review

Getting more information about reviews

If you represent occupational groups like employers, trade unions or industry training bodies and have questions about a review or want to receive updates, email us.

We don’t respond to enquiries from individuals from this email address.