Employment skill-bands for Essential Skills Work Visas

If you are applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa we assign a skill-band to the job you have been offered depending on its pay rate and ANZSCO skill level.

How we assign skill-bands

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

If you have been offered a job and you are applying for an Essential Skills Work Visa, we assign that job a skill-band based on:

  • its pay rate
  • the skill level of the ANZSCO occupation it most closely matches.

You can search for your ANZSCO skill level on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

ANZSCO Version 1.2 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

Alert

We use Version 1.2 of ANZSCO to assess the skill level of most occupations. ANZSCO was recently updated and some occupations that were skill level 4 or 5 are now skill level 1 to 3 in the updated version. If you are paid at least NZD $25 per hour for one of these occupations, we will treat it as an exception and assess it as ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3.

List of ANZSCO occupations treated as an exception

How your skill-band affects your visa

Once we have assigned a skill-band to the job you have been offered, we can determine:

  • how long your visa is granted for
  • whether you can support visas for your family
  • if there is a maximum time you can hold an Essential Skills Work Visa for. 

Pay rate threshold and ANZSCO levels for each skill-band

As at 26 November 2018, your skill-band is:

  • higher-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 5 and your pay rate is NZD $37.50 or more an hour
  • mid-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 3 and your pay rate is NZD $21.25 to $37.49 an hour
  • lower-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 5 and your pay rate is less than NZD $21.25 an hour
  • lower-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 4 to 5 and your pay rate is NZD $21.25 to NZD $37.49 an hour.

ANZSCO levels 4 and 5 can only be higher or lower-skilled.

Updating essential skills pay rate thresholds

Lower-skilled employment

If you are in lower-skilled employment and work for an accredited labour hire company you can be granted a 3-year visa. After 3 years you must either improve your skills, change your visa or leave New Zealand.

Accredited labour hire companies

How long you can stay on an Essential Skills Work Visa

If you want to improve your skills

You can improve your skills as long as you still meet your visa conditions. You cannot change your job or occupation if your conditions only allow you to work in a specific job or occupation. 

Check your visa conditions

While you hold your work visa you can do any training your employer needs you to do as part of your employment. You can do this training without changing your visa conditions.

You can also do more skilled tasks during your normal employment, as long as your employment still mostly matches the ANZSCO occupation you were granted your visa for.

If you start doing so many higher-skilled tasks that your occupation more closely matches a different ANZSCO occupation, you must apply for a variation of conditions to your current visa or for a new visa.

Varying the conditions of a work visa