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Changes to Essential Skills in Demand (skill shortage lists)

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has completed its periodic review of two of the Skills Shortage lists (ESID) – the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL).

Your New Zealand employer may not need to advertise for your role

Essentially, if your occupation is on the list and you meet the requirements, your New Zealand employer will not require a labour market test, or demonstrating that no suitable New Zealanders are available to fill or be trained for each individual position.  This facilitate hiring overseas workers in those occupations that are facing critical skills shortage in New Zealand.

Long Term Skill Shortage List

The LTSSL identifies occupations that have an ongoing shortage of skilled workers in New Zealand.  Migrants who gain employment in one of these occupations may be granted a LTSSL Work to Residence or an Essential Skills work visa. You may also be granted bonus points if you meet the requirements of the occupation.

The upcoming (February 2018) changes involve:

Removing 5 occupations

  • Anaesthetist
  • Forest Scientist
  • Pathologist
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Renal Medicine Specialist

Immediate Skill Shortage List

Occupations on this list have an immediate shortage of skilled workers either throughout New Zealand or just in certain regions. Migrants wishing to work in occupations on the ISSL may be granted work visas under Essential Skills instructions if they meet the specified qualifications and/or experience requirements.

The upcoming (February 2018) changes involve:

 Adding 12 occupations

  • Accountant (General) (a)
  • Carpenter (b)
  • Carpenter and Joiner (b)
  • Fibrous Plasterer (b)
  • Joiner (b)
  • Midwife (b)
  • Motor Mechanic (General) (b)
  • Panelbeater (b)
  • Roof Plumber (c)
  • Roof Tiler (c)
  • Solid Plasterer (b)
  • Vehicle Painter (b)

(a) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island, Wellington and Canterbury/Upper South Island regions
(b) for all regions of New Zealand
(c) only for the Auckland/Upper North Island, Waikato/Bay of Plenty, Canterbury/Upper South Island and Otago/Southland regions

Removing 5 occupations

  • Dental Technician
  • Dentist
  • Medical Laboratory Technician (Phlebotomy and Histology Technicians)
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Poultry Farmer


When are these changes becoming effective?

These changes will be implemented in February 2018.  Note that if certain occupations remain on a list, their qualification and experience requirement may undergo further review.

My occupation is not on the list, what are my options

If an occupation is not on a skill shortage list, it does not that you cannot move to New Zealand. Most of our clients are not on any of the lists. Options for you may still include Essential Skills Work Visa, Work to Residence Work Visa, Skilled Migrant Visa, or even a study pathway.

Get in touch now or have your eligibility assessed by our Licensed Advisers! Take our eligibility assessment!