Skill shortages — Essential Skills in Demand Lists (ESID)

The skill shortage lists help provide certainty for employers and potential migrants and let potential migrants easily find what skills are in demand in New Zealand.

How the ESID lists work

We have 3 different lists that record the skill shortages in New Zealand and a list of skilled occupations.

If an occupation is on a shortage list, positions in that occupation are not subject to an individual labour market test. A labour market test means that an employer must demonstrate that no suitable New Zealanders are available to fill or be trained for each individual position.

If the position you want to fill is on one of these lists it means suitable New Zealanders are hard to find and a visa can be granted to a qualified worker from overseas.

This makes it easier to support a work visa as you do not need to provide evidence of your attempts to recruit a New Zealand citizen or resident.

Long Term Skill Shortage List

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

If a migrant worker is qualified for the job and meets the requirements specified for that occupation, they may be eligible for either an Essential Skills Work Visa or a LTSSL Work Visa. If they apply for a LTSSL work visa, they can apply for residence after 2 years.

Long Term Skill Shortage work visa

Essential Skills work visa

Regional Skill Shortage List

The Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL) replaced the Immediate Skill Shortage List on 27 May 2019.

The RSSL identifies the regions with occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers. The RSSL is divided into 15 regions, unlike the Immediate Skill Shortage List, which was divided into 6. This expansion better reflects the skill shortages that exist in the regions and gives temporary migrants a better idea about opportunities in regional areas.

If the job you are recruiting for is on the RSSL and a migrant worker has the qualifications or experience, they may be granted an Essential Skills work visa.

Essential Skills work visa

Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List

The Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL) contains immediate short-term skill shortages in the New Zealand construction labour market that are designed to meet the industry’s labour requirements across the country. It is split into the same 15 regions as the RSSL.

If the job you are recruiting for appears on the CISSL, a migrant worker may be granted an Essential Skills Work Visa.

Essential Skills work visa

Reviewing the skill shortage lists

The ESID lists are reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that MBIE’s policy is flexible and responsive to changing economic and labour market conditions. As part of the reviews, information is gathered from external stakeholder submissions and considered alongside economic, labour market, immigration and other relevant data.

The lists must reflect genuine skill shortages so New Zealanders are not disadvantaged when seeking employment and training.

Skill shortage review process

Skill shortage list checker

You can search for occupations on the shortage lists by using the skill shortage list checker. This provides information and the requirements for each list.

Skill shortage list checker