New Zealand Employment

Articles > New Zealand Employment

New Zealand, like Australia, managed to keep her head above water during the global recession. As such, there are jobs available for skilled workers and professionals who wish to emigrate to the Land of the Long White Cloud. The New Zealand government clearly states that although there is growth in the employment sector, it has slowed down over the last three years.

However, New Zealand is constantly searching for people to fill certain gaps in the labour market.

Auckland is the city where most people head for employment. With an estimated population of 1.67 million (2020), Auckland is home to 33.5% of the country’s population.

The Job Market
New Zealand has a diverse economy. It is still a major exporter of wool and lamb but it is so much more. It’s tourism industry has grown enormously and it produces internationally acclaimed wines. It also has a fast-growing film, arts and music scene. Commerce, banking, real estate, insurance, construction, teaching and healthcare are occupations which are followed in every town.

Specialists in the IT industry, medicine and engineering are most welcome. New Zealand’s skill shortage list is the place to look to see if your occupation, qualifications and experience will lead to a work or residence visa. This list is constantly being updated, so check online to ensure you have up to date information.

Qualifications and Occupational Registration
Immigration New Zealand has tried to make your life easier by assessing international qualifications against New Zealand qualifications. If your qualification is on this list, you would be exempt from assessment ( ; if it isn’t, then your qualification will probably have to be assessed by the NZQA (

The Long-Term Skill Shortage List
The LTSSL lists occupations where there is a shortage of skilled workers both globally and within New Zealand. If you are offered a job within this category, and you meet all the requirements, you may be granted a Work to Residence visa. This means that after two years of employment, as long as you have met all the requirements and you earn at least NZ$45,000, you can apply for residence. (

The Intermediate Skill Shortage List
The ISSL lists occupations which are immediately needed in New Zealand as there are no New Zealanders to fill the vacant positions. A job on this list allows you to apply for an Essential Skills Visa but this visa does not lead to residency. (

The Canterbury Skill Shortage List
The Canterbury Skill Shortage List has been compiled to help rebuild the area damaged by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. This list has skills which are listed on both the Long-Term Skill Shortage List and the Intermediate Skill Shortage List. If you get offered a job which is on the LTSSL, then you could get residence after two years. Note that this list changes far more frequently than the LTSSL and the ISSL, so check regularly.

Skill Level Classification
New Zealand has now added remuneration thresholds to the requirements needing to be met before applying for residency. New Zealand shares Australia’s occupation classification list – ANZSCO (Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations).

Pay Rate Threshold and Anzsco Levels for Each Skill Band
As at 24 February 2020, your skill-band is:

  • higher-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 5 and your pay rate is NZD $38.25 or more an hour
  • mid-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 3 and your pay rate is NZD $21.68 to $38.24 an hour
  • mid-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 4 to 5, your occupation is treated as an exception, and your pay rate is NZD $25.50 to $38.24 an hour
  • lower-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 1 to 5 and your pay rate is less than NZD $21.68 an hour
  • lower-skilled if your ANZSCO skill level is 4 to 5 and your pay rate is NZD $21.68 to $38.24 an hour.

ANZSCO levels 4 and 5 can only be higher or lower-skilled, unless the occupation is treated as an exception.

If you meet all the criteria below, you can apply under the Skilled Migrant Category.

  • Age 55 or under
  • Skill level
  • English language requirements
  • Health check
  • Character checks