Labour market test

The labour market test (LMT) helps ensure New Zealanders get the first chance in the job market ahead of Accredited Employer Work Visa applicants.

Labour market test (LMT) by region

The labour market test (LMT) is where you check there are no New Zealand citizens or residents available for the job by advertising.

The settings for LMTs change depending on the location of the job to allow for differences in labour markets across the regions.

LMT settings are stricter for jobs where there is a higher supply of New Zealanders available to work or wanting more work.

You must do a LMT for all jobs paid below the median wage, and some of the higher paid jobs in cities.

For jobs paid below the median wage, as well as advertising you must also list the job with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD).

When you do not need an LMT

You do not need a LMT if:

  • the job pays 200% of the median wage, currently NZD $27 an hour
  • the job is in the regions and pays at, or above, the median wage
  • the job is on a skill shortage list, in a city, and pays at, or above, the median wage.

Regional labour market settings

Regional labour market settings change depending on if the job is:

  • paid at or above, or below the median wage
  • in a city, a higher supply region, or a lower supply region.

They will be flexible and reviewed to respond to changes in market conditions.

City list

Current city list:

  • Auckland
  • Christchurch
  • Wellington
  • Lower Hutt
  • Upper Hutt
  • Porirua
  • Hamilton
  • Dunedin

At or above median wage

The job must either:

  • be on one of INZ's existing skill shortage lists for that city or region and meet the requirements of the list, or
  • pass the LMT requiring advertising only (without having to check for suitable New Zealand jobseekers registered with MSD).

The visa can be for up to 3 years. There is no stand-down period at renewal for employment paid above the median wage.

Stand-down

Below median wage

The job must pass the full LMT with advertising and listing the job with MSD.

The visa can be for up to 1 year with ability to reapply with a maximum stay of 3 years, followed by a 1 year stand-down at renewal (not currently enforced).

Note

The stand-down is not currently being enforced due to the border closure. Enforcement of the stand-down period is delayed until 1 July 2022.

Higher supply region list

Currently:

  • Northland
  • Manawatū-Whanganui
  • Bay of Plenty
  • Gisborne / Hawke’s Bay
  • Taranaki
  • Tasman
  • Nelson
  • Marlborough
  • West Coast
  • Wellington region - excluding Wellington, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt cities

At or above median wage

You do not need to do an LMT (including no requirement to advertise).

The visa can be for up to 3 years. There is no stand-down period at renewal for employment paid at or above the median wage.

Below median wage

The job must pass the full LMT with advertising and listing the job with MSD.

The visa can be for up to 1 year with ability to reapply with a maximum stay of 3 years, followed by a 1 year stand-down at renewal (not currently enforced).

Note

The stand-down is not currently being enforced due to the border closure. Enforcement of the stand-down period is delayed until 1 July 2022.

Lower supply region list

Currently:

  • Waikato - excluding Hamilton city
  • Canterbury - excluding Christchurch city
  • Otago - excluding Dunedin city
  • Southland

At or above median wage

No LMT required (including no requirement to advertise).

The duration of this visa can be up to 3 years. There is no stand-down period for employment paid at or above the median wage.

Below median wage

The job must pass the full LMT with advertising and listing the job with MSD.

The duration of this visa can be up to 3 years followed by 12-month stand-down at renewal (not currently enforced).

Advertising requirements

To pass a LMT, the terms and conditions of the job must be clear in the job advertisement. The employer must genuinely consider any New Zealanders who apply and must not offer them less than the advertised terms and conditions.

Advertising must:

  • be for a minimum of 2 weeks on a national job listing website where suitable New Zealanders are likely to apply, or another advertising channel more likely to attract suitable New Zealanders to the specific role
  • show pay rate and significant terms and conditions including the minimum and maximum pay rate, the minimum guaranteed hours of work, the location of the job, and, where a significant portion of the pay is by piece rate, commission or other rates or bonuses that are not guaranteed, the estimated actual earnings
  • show minimum qualifications, work experience, skills or other specifications required for the job, which must be necessary to do the job.

Listing the job with MSD

For jobs paid below the median wage, you must list the job with MSD in a genuine attempt to recruit New Zealand jobseekers registered with MSD.

Hiring migrant workers | Ministry of Social Development

MSD will issue a Skills Match Report (SMR) showing how many suitable or trainable jobseekers registered with MSD were referred for the role, and the reasons you rejected any referrals that were not hired.

The SMR may also show you made exceptional efforts in engaging with MSD and their Active Labour Market Policies, or you actively disengaged.

The LMT will only be passed if the SMR shows one of these:

  • no jobseekers registered with MSD were referred for the job
  • you rejected the referrals for an acceptable reason
  • you rejected referrals for non-acceptable reasons, but were adequately engaged.

The LMT will be failed if the SMR shows the employer has actively disengaged, despite what the rest of the SMR says.

Acceptable reasons to decline someone

Acceptable reasons for declining a jobseeker are:

  • failing a medical or drug test (where this is a job requirement and is included in the job advertisement)
  • failing to attend a job interview (without a valid reason)
  • undisclosed criminal convictions (where disclosure is a relevant job requirement and the requirement for disclosure is included in the job advertisement)
  • failing a reference check
  • false information on CV
  • uncontactable (where you have used at least two different channels and have made at least three attempts over more than one day)
  • did not accept offer of work
  • lack of relevant experience or qualifications (and the requirements are included in the job advertisement).

You cannot:

  • reject an applicant for not having their own vehicle or driver licence unless operating a vehicle is a requirement for doing the job
  • list owning a vehicle or holding a current driver licence in job advertising unless it is necessary to do the job
  • reject registered job seekers referred by MSD because they lack training if MSD can provide or facilitate that training within 4 weeks.

The SMR must have been issued within 90 days of your job check application being submitted. If more than 90 days has passed you must complete the steps again to ensure no suitable New Zealanders have become available.

Note

The SMR has been updated ahead of the wider reforms next year to allow employers time to adapt to the new format.

Employers with questions about MSD's Skills Match Report should contact MSD.

Work and Income | Ministry of Social Development

Hiring migrant workers | Ministry of Social Development