COVID-19 is presenting a unique set of challenges for New Zealand jobseekers, employers and temporary work visa holders. Regional impacts vary, but there are more people looking for work.
The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has created lists of occupations and regions where there is a clear over or undersupply of New Zealanders on Job Seeker Support.
Undersupply of New Zealand job seekers
For occupations and regions where there is an undersupply of New Zealand job seekers, employers no longer need a Skills Match Report for roles paying below the national median wage, currently $25.50 an hour.
Employers can support a migrant work visa application if they can show they have genuinely and publicly advertised the role so New Zealanders looking for work are likely to have seen it.
As of 02 October 2020, the following occupations are listed as under-supplied in Auckland and Wellington
|Dairy Cattle Farm Worker (841512) including:||Dairy Cattle Farm Worker (841512) including:|
|Herd Manager||Herd Manager|
|Dairy Herd Manager||Dairy Herd Manager|
|Beef Cattle Farmer (121312)||Beef Cattle Farmer (121312)|
|Dairy Cattle Farmer (121313) including:||Dairy Cattle Farmer (121313) including:|
|Dairy Farm Manager||Dairy Farm Manager|
|Dairy Farm Assistant Manager||Dairy Farm Assistant Manager|
|Truck Driver (General) (733111)||Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)|
|Aircraft Refueller (733112)||Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health) (254413)|
|Furniture Removalist (733113)||Registered Nurse (Community Health) (254414)|
|Tanker Driver (733114)||Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability) (254416)|
|Tow Truck Driver (733115)||Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation) (254417)|
|Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)||Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)|
|Registered Nurse (Child and Family Health) (254413)||Registered Nurse (Medical Practice) (254421)|
|Registered Nurse (Community Health) (254414)||Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254418)|
|Registered Nurse (Developmental Disability) (254416)||Deck Hand (899211)|
|Registered Nurse (Disability and Rehabilitation) (254417)||Fishing Hand (899212)|
|Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)||Industrial Engineer (233511)|
|Registered Nurse (Medical Practice) (254421)||Mechanical Engineer (233512)|
|Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254418)||Production or Plant Engineer (233513)|
|Deck Hand (899211)||Steel Fixer (821713)|
|Fishing Hand (899212)||Wine Maker (234213)|
|Industrial Engineer (233511)|
|Mechanical Engineer (233512)|
|Production or Plant Engineer (233513)|
|Steel Fixer (821713)|
|Winery Cellar Hand (831118)|
|Wine Maker (234213)|
Oversupply of New Zealand job seekers
New Zealand’s immigration system is designed to ensure that New Zealanders are first in line for jobs, then enabling access to migrant workers where there is a genuine need that cannot be met.
For occupations and regions on the oversupply list, there are New Zealand job seekers on Job Seeker Support available. Employers can move straight to engaging with MSD to recruit New Zealand job seekers.
No clear oversupply or undersupply
There is no change to the process for occupations and regions that are not on either the over or undersupply lists. A Skills Match Report is still required before an employer can hire a migrant earning below the national median wage, currently $25.50 an hour.
This measure is temporary
The over and undersupply lists are a temporary measure in response to the effects of COVID-19 on the labour market. They will be reviewed in early 2021, or sooner if there is a significant change.
These lists will be used from 7 October 2020. For applications submitted before 7 October 2020, the Skills Match Report submitted will be considered as part of the assessment of the application.
INZ will also use the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO version 1.2) to confirm an occupation is on the over or undersupply list. It will continue to be important that employers accurately match the job being offered to the ANZSCO occupation and consider whether the job is on the oversupply or undersupply lists. Our website remains the best place for up to date information.
Q. How can an employer find out whether the role they’re recruiting for is on the oversupply or undersupply lists?
The lists are published on the Work and Income website. The lists will provide links to the matching Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) codes for each occupation listed. ANZSCO codes describe the tasks associated with jobs and are used by INZ when assessing Essential Skills work visas. If an employer remains unclear about whether a role is on the lists, they should contact MSD.
What happens if an occupation doesn’t appear on either the oversupply or undersupply list?
Where there is no clear over or undersupply of New Zealand job seekers, employers will follow the current Skills Match Report process (more information is on the MSD website) if the role is paid below the median wage and must meet immigration requirements.
How will INZ determine whether a role is on the under supply or over supply list?
The lists will reference the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO version 1.2) codes for each occupation listed. ANZSCO codes describe the tasks associated with jobs and are used by INZ when assessing Essential Skills work visas. INZ will assess whether the job offered matches an occupation on the undersupply or oversupply list to determine whether a Skills Match Report is required for employment paid below the median wage.
Why are you changing the Skills Match Report process?
These changes will enable sectors that are experiencing workforce challenges to secure visas for some occupation groups in a more streamlined way, while providing a clear signal to employers that visa applications for low-paid roles are unlikely to be successful for occupations where there is an oversupply of available New Zealand job seekers.
Are these changes permanent?
No. The lists of occupations on the over and undersupply framework will be reviewed every three months or sooner if there is a significant change to the labour market.
The use of the over and undersupply framework will be reviewed in early 2021 and the ongoing need will be evaluated in light of the labour market conditions at the time, and in advance of implementation of planned reforms to the temporary work visa system (including strengthening of the labour market test).
If MSD has no New Zealanders available to do a job, can an employer go ahead and hire a migrant worker
If a role is either on the undersupply list (indicating that there are very few New Zealanders available for a particular role and region), or an employer has obtained a Skills Match Report from MSD indicating that there are no New Zealanders available, an employer will be able to support a work visa application.
It is important to note that the Skills Match Report is just one part of the labour market test; in order to support an application, employers will still need to show they have genuinely and publicly advertised the role so New Zealanders looking for work are likely to have seen it. Visa applications will also need to meet all other requirements of the visa (including that the job is paid at the market rate and that applicants meet health and character requirements).
Who makes the final decision on whether a migrant worker gets a work visa?
INZ makes the final decision about work visas. Advice from MSD (either on a Skills Match Report or on the oversupply or undersupply lists) is one of the factors in INZ’s decision making.
Are the under and oversupply lists applicable for roles paid at or above the national median wage?
No, the lists are only applicable if the person is paid below the national median wage. The process of preparing to submit an Essential Skills work visa for roles paying at or above the median wage has not changed – an employer still has to show they have genuinely and publicly advertised the role in a manner that New Zealanders looking for work are likely to have seen it.
If the occupation is included on the undersupply list does the employer need to advertise on websites such as Trademe and Seek?
Yes, as there may be New Zealanders available who are not registered Job Seekers with MSD.
The Skills Match Report is only one aspect of the labour market test for Essential Skills visas. Therefore, if an occupation appears on the undersupply list, employers must still meet other aspects of the test. INZ must be satisfied that employers have made genuine attempts to attract and recruit suitable New Zealanders which includes advertising as well as advice from MSD.
Q: What does this mean for migrant staff currently employed in roles on the oversupply list?
A: These staff can continue in their jobs until their visa expires. If their occupation is on an oversupply list when their work visa expires, it is unlikely that a further visa based on that occupation would be approved if the role pays below the median wage.
All employer-assisted temporary work visas (including all Essential Skills visas) expiring before the end of 2020 have been extended for 6 months (from the original date of expiry), so there will be very few people in this situation before the end of the year.
Q: Does this also apply to people on open work visas (e.g. working holiday, partners of workers, post-study work visas)?
A: No. This only applies to those applying for an Essential Skills work visa.
Q: As an employer, how do I go about preparing for and supporting a work visa application now?
A: The process of preparing to submit an Essential Skills work visa has not changed but the employer should check before submitting whether the role is on the undersupply or oversupply list. If so, MSD will not issue a Skills Match Report on the basis that there is either an undersupply or oversupply of New Zealand job seeker available.
Q:Do the new undersupply and oversupply lists replace the immigration skill shortage lists (long term skill shortage list, regional skill shortage list, construction and infrastructure skill shortage list)?
A- No, the undersupply and oversupply lists do not replace the immigration skill shortage lists which remain in place. The undersupply and oversupply lists are only applicable to the Skills Match Report part of the labour market test and employers still need to show they have genuinely and publicly advertised even if the position is on the undersupply list.
If a position is on an immigration skills shortage list and the migrant meets the qualifications and experience specified on the list, evidence of advertising is not required.