NEW ZEALAND: Changes to Labour Market Testing Requirements

New Zealand currently conduct a labour market test to determine whether suitably qualified New Zealand workers are available to take on a job instead of an overseas worker. Similar testing is also conducted in Australia.

As of 11th April 2016, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have changed the documents required, as proof of labour market testing, for an Essential Skills work visa application for a low-skilled job.

The employer must now attach a Skills Match Report (SMR) from Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) to their Employer Supplementary Form, to demonstrate a genuine attempt to advertise the job to New Zealanders.

The only exceptions are for jobs in the region of Canterbury, where the employer needs to work with the Canterbury Skills and Employment Hub, or where the job is included in one of the skill shortage lists and the employee meets the experience or qualification requirements on the list.

When is the Skills Match Report Required?

Immigration New Zealand uses the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) to classify a low-skilled job; these are positions that are ranked at levels 4 or 5 on the ANZSCO and are considered to be low-skilled. This includes labourers, truck drivers, carers for the elderly, industrial spray-painters, waiters, and hotel housekeepers.

Before applying for an initial or renewal Essential Skills work visa, the employer must ascertain whether the job is at level 4 or 5 on the ANZSCO list by checking the ANZSCO website.

If the job is at level 4 or 5, then the employer must work with WINZ to check that there are no New Zealand nationals who could fill that role before an employee applies for a work visa.

If there are no suitable domestic candidates, then WINZ will issue an SMR for the employer to give to the applicant to submit with his or her work visa application.

If there are suitable domestic candidates then the employee may not be eligible for a work visa.

It is important that all employers applying for an Essential Skills work visa ensure they obtain a Skills Match Report from Work and Income New Zealand in support of the application, unless the job is in Canterbury, or is otherwise exempt.

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