Employment Skill-bands for Essential Skills Work Visas

The employment offered to people applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa is assigned a skill-band based on the pay-rate and the skill level of the most closely matching ANZSCO occupation.

There are 3 skill-bands: lower-skilled, mid-skilled, and higher-skilled.

The skill-band assigned to the employment offered helps to determine:

  • the duration of the visa granted
  • whether the visa holder can support visas for family members
  • whether there is a maximum time the visa holder can spend in New Zealand.

The following table outlines the remuneration and ANZSCO levels associated with each skill-band. To be considered mid- or higher-skilled, every hour worked must be paid above the relevant threshold amount.

Threshold amounts for applications (as of 26 November 2018):

Remuneration ANZSCO 1-3 ANZSCO 4-5
$37.50+ per hour Higher-skilled Higher-skilled
$21.25 - $37.49 per hour Mid-skilled Lower-skilled
Less than $21.25 per hour Lower-skilled Lower-skilled


Skilled Migrant and Essential Skills visas — changes to remuneration threshold

How the remuneration rates are calculated

We will look at a worker’s employment agreement to calculate how much they will be paid.

To ensure the skill bands are applied consistently, remuneration is calculated on the basis of payment per hour.

If an employment agreement details a number of different hourly payment rates, we will use the lowest rate to determine the employment skill-band.

Where payment is by salary, and the number of hours worked each week can change, we may ask for evidence of the range of hours that will be worked.

To be considered mid- or higher-skilled, every hour worked must be paid above the relevant threshold amount.

A number of common payment scenarios are described below.

Payment by: How the hourly rate is calculated:

Paid by hourly rate

eg. $25 per hour

$25 an hour

Paid by salary for a set number of hours per week

eg. $55,000 per annum, 40 hours per week

Salary divided by the number of hours worked

eg. $55,000 / 52 weeks / 40 hours per week = $26.44 per hour

Paid by salary for a range of hours

eg. $55.000 per annum, 40-45 hours per week

Salary divided by the maximum number of hours worked

eg. $55,000 / 52 weeks / 45 hours per week = $23.50

Paid wage for standard hours, with a different rate for hours worked above standard hours (e.g. overtime or weekend hours)

eg. $25 per hour for 40 hours work. $37.50 per hour for any additional hours

Both hourly rates will be checked. We will use the lowest hourly rate to determine the skill-band of the employment.

Paid by salary with a per hour rate for hours worked above standard hours (e.g. overtime or weekend hours)

eg. $55,000 per annum, 40 hours per week. $35.00 per hour for any additional hours

Both hourly rates will be checked (the effective hourly rate for salaried time and the overtime rate). We will use the lowest hourly rate to determine the skill-band of the employment.


Common remuneration questions

Common skill-band questions