What is the change? New Zealand has implemented changes to its skills shortage lists that are used to determine which jobs may be filled by foreign workers without conducting labour market testing.

What does the change mean? Seven occupations in the oil and gas sector and other professional occupations have been removed from the Immediate Skill Shortage List because there is no longer a shortage. Other changes have been made to the Immediate Skill Shortage List and the Long-Term Skill Shortage List.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Essential Skills work visas, Skilled Migrant visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies sponsoring foreign nationals for Essential Skills visas or residency under the Skilled Migrant category.
  • Business Impact:Employers sponsoring foreign nationals for work visas in occupations that have been removed from the Skills Shortage lists may be required to conduct labour market testing. Foreign nationals in those jobs applying for residency may be required to demonstrate additional qualifications.

Background: Immigration New Zealand announced the changes in December. The jobs in the oil and gas industry that have been removed from the Immediate Skill Shortage List are chemical plant operator, occupational health and safety advisor, gas or petroleum operator, production manager, geologist, safety inspector, and geophysicist and petrophysicist. Several professional occupations, including accountants and orthopaedic surgeons, were also removed. Four occupations have been added to the list and two occupations have been removed from the Long-Term Skill Shortage list.

The full list of changes is available here. The qualifications and experience that foreign workers must have to apply for a work visa or residence visa are available at the Skill Shortage List Check.

BAL Analysis: Employers should consult the full lists, which are regularly reviewed and updated, when planning to recruit or hire foreign nationals. The new changes will affect companies in the oil and gas industry in particular, because several occupations in that sector no longer qualify as shortage occupations.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact

MARN: 9683856

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