What is the change? New Zealand has implemented changes to the 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 have been added, and two removed from, the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL). Seven occupations have been removed from the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL). The changes could affect foreign nationals who are seeking residence in New Zealand through the Skilled Migrant Category.

  • Implementation time frame:  The changes were implemented this week.
  • Visas/permits affected:Essential Skills work visas, Skilled Migrant visas.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals and 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 on 9 February and they took effect this week. The following occupations have been added to the Immediate Skill Shortage List:

Occupation Region
Bricklayer Auckland/Upper North Island.
Cabler All of New Zealand.
Composite Technician All of New Zealand.
Floor Finisher Auckland/Upper North Island, Waikato/Bay of Plenty.
Stonemason Auckland/Upper North Island.
Telecommunications Cable Jointer All of New Zealand.
Telecommunications Technician All of New Zealand.


Registered Nurse (Mental Health) and Upholsterer have been removed from the ISSL.

Seven occupations were removed from the LTSSL: Registered Nurse (Aged Care), Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency), Registered Nurse (Medical), Registered Nurse (Perioperative), Ship’s Engineer, Ship’s Master and Ship’s Officer. Authorities have said that Registered Nurse (Aged Care) will be added to the ISSL for all regions of New Zealand. The complete skills shortage lists are available on INZ’s online Skills Shortage List Checker.

BAL Analysis: Employers should consult the full lists, which are regularly reviewed and updated, when planning to recruit or hire foreign nationals.

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

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