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What is Essential Skills Demand List (ESID), and what it means to have your occupation on the Shortage Lists in New Zealand?

As per the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website, New Zealand competes internationally for skilled workers. Workers with skills on the Essential Skills Demand List (ESID) usually find it easier to apply for temporary work and some resident visas.

Skill shortages happen when employers find it hard to get staff with the right skills for the job. Hence knowing which jobs are in skill shortage can help you choose the best job option or decide what subjects to study.

The ESID lists include the:

  • Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL), also referred to as Area of absolute skill shortage
  • Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL), which has replaced the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), and the
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL), which has replaced the Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL).

If an occupation is on a skill shortage list, the options which are available for employers and prospective migrants include:

  • Skilled Migrant Category – under which migrants can apply for residence in New Zealand. It is a points system based on factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications, and an offer of skilled employment. You must also be aged 55 or under, and meet English language, health, and character requirements. Migrants applying for residence under this Category may gain bonus points towards their application if they have an offer of employment or work experience in an area of absolute skill shortage identified on the LTSSL.
  • Essential Skills Work Visa – this requires an employer to demonstrate that they have tried to recruit New Zealanders for the position and been unsuccessful. However, if an occupation is on a shortage list, the employer need not provide evidence of their attempts to recruit a New Zealand citizen or resident. This category of visa lets you come to New Zealand to work for up to five years. It can also lead to permanent residence in some circumstances. You can apply for it if you have been offered a job which you are qualified to do, and which you have experience in.
  • Essential Skills – Approval in Principle – where a number of migrants are being sought. An AIP under the Essential Skills Work Visa category allows a New Zealand employer to recruit overseas workers to work in New Zealand temporarily. Upon securing AIP status, an employer will be able to assist an overseas migrant with obtaining an Essential Skills work visa that is compliant with the conditions for which the employer’s AIP is granted for. The main benefit of AIP is that employees of employers who have AIP status is assessed to have satisfied the labour market test.
  • Talent (Accredited Employer) Work Visa – facilitating recruitment of skilled workers from overseas where the salary is at least NZ$55,000 per annum. This visa is for people who are looking for a pathway to live in New Zealand and who have a skill that’s needed by a New Zealand accredited employer. If an accredited employer offers you full-time work, you’ll be able to get a visa to work here. If you continue to work for that employer for two years, you’ll be able to apply to live in New Zealand permanently.
  • Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List (CISSL): Employers recruiting migrant workers to positions on the list will no longer need to show they have advertised the role locally in order for a work visa to be issued if the duties of the job substantially match the INZ description of the role, applicant has the qualifications and/or experience as stated on the list for that occupation, and job is located in the region specified on the list.

Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) reviews the ESID lists every six months to ensure they meet the changing needs of the labour market and to preserve employment opportunities for New Zealanders. It has been reviewed recently and the changes have already come into effect.

The latest outcomes of the LTSSL review are to:

  • Add Aged Care Registered Nurse.
  • Amend the listing ‘Construction Project Manager Roading and Infrastructure’ by extending the listing to include ‘Construction Project Manager’.
  • Decline submissions to add Carpenter to the LTSSL, however, it remains on the CISSL.

The outcomes of the Immediate Skill Shortage List (now the RSSL) review is to:

  • Add Early Childhood Teacher (all regions), Primary School Teacher (all regions) and Secondary School Teacher (all regions).
  • Remove Construction Project Manager Roading and Infrastructure as this is now listed on the LTSSL.
  • Decline submissions to add Café/Restaurant Manager, Fitter (General), Wood Machinist.
  • Decline submissions to amend Quantity Surveyor.

The outcomes of the CISSL review are to:

  • Add Building Associate.
  • Amend Plumber (General) to extend the listing to all regions.
  • Remove Stonemason for the Canterbury region – it will remain for Auckland and Northland.

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