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Essential Skills Work Visa – All you need to know!

Essential Skills Work Visa – All you need to know!

essential skill visa

Essential Skills Work Visa is one of the temporary work visas which allows people to work in New Zealand. This visa category is available to anyone offered full-time employment (30+ hours) in New Zealand and can meet a few other essential eligibility criteria.

Who can apply for Essential Skills work visa?

You can apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa if you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer and have relevant qualifications and work experience as per the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSO) to work in that occupation. However, in most cases, your employer must conduct a Labour Market Test (LMT) to ascertain whether any New Zealand citizens or residents are available for the position.

If you are currently outside New Zealand, you can apply for an Essential Skills Work Visa only if you have a job offer from a New Zealand employer and your occupation meets the critical purpose criteria.

LMT is mandatory if you change your job, employer, and/or region. However, your employer does not have to conduct a labour market test if the occupation is in one of the Essential Skill Demand List ( ESDL) and your qualification & experience match.

However, suppose you have a job offer in an occupation on one of the ESDL and your qualifications and experience match. In that case, your employer does not have to conduct a labour market test and provide evidence of attempting to recruit New Zealanders.

What is the duration of the Essential Skills work visa?

The duration of visa usually depends on how long you have been offered employment and the wage rate. If your wages are at or above the New Zealand median wage, which is $27 at present, and if all other requirements are met, you may be granted a visa with a duration of up to 3 years.

However, if your proposed salary is less than the median wage, you must check whether the position is listed in the oversupply list or the undersupply list. Suppose the position is not listed in one of these lists. In that case, your employer must provide the Skills Match Report in addition to conducting the labour market test to ascertain whether there are any New Zealand citizens or residents available for the position. If all requirements are met, you may be granted a visa with a duration of up to 2 years.

What is Skills Match Report (SMR)?

A Skills Match Report is a document produced by Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) and submitted with a Work Visa Application under the Essential Skills Category (and other related visa categories). A SMR has information about the role, whether any NZ resident/citizen was referred to the employer and the reasons provided by the employer for rejecting any candidates, if any.

What are the recent changes made to the Essential Skills Work Visa application?

INZ has streamlined the Essential Skills Work visa process where a person continues in the same position for the same employer in the same region; then, the labour market test is no longer a mandatory requirement. The duration of the visa will be the same as mentioned above. The employer does not have to provide the Skills Match Report where the salary is below the median wage. Applicants and employers will be able to make declarations instead of providing evidence that the requirements are met. To be eligible for this (the removal of labour market test and evidence requirements), the applicant must hold one of the following visas:

  • Any type of work visa (including a Working Holiday Visa)
  • A student visa that has unlimited work rights (i.e., to study masters or PhD degree)
  • A Critical Purpose visitor visa granted as a critical health worker or granted for more than six months as an ‘other critical worker’.

Your partner and dependent children may be able to apply separately for visas based on their relationship with you. For example, partners may be eligible for a partnership-based work visa or a partnership-based visitor visa, depending on your proposed salary. Likewise, dependent children may be eligible for a student visa or visitor visa depending on the child’s age and whether you meet the income threshold.

Note: this visa will be replaced by the Accredited Employer Work Visa form mid-2022.

Additional information

Essential Skills visa does not allow self-employment, but you can study for up to 3 months in any 12 months or do any study required as part of your employment.

If you have an Essential Skills work visa based on a skilled job, you may gain enough points to qualify for Residence Visa under the Skilled Migrant Category.

If you would like to know more about the Essential Skills Work Visa process, assessment criteria, and the pitfalls that you should be aware of, please call us today on +64 9 379 0219 or email contact@nzimmigration.info

Author Details

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Vandana Rai

(LIA 201400900)
Director

Vandana Rai is a Senior Licensed Immigration Adviser and has built a reputation around her rare set of skills, which could be considered ideal for her legal profession.