What is the change? Immigration New Zealand has temporarily waived labour market testing in Queenstown for employers recruiting foreign workers in certain jobs.

What does the change mean? Until the end of June, employers seeking to fill jobs in Queenstown that meet certain conditions do not have to take steps to advertise and recruit local workers before hiring foreign workers.

  • Implementation timeframe: 19 February through 30 June.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work visas.
  • Who is affected: Companies recruiting foreign workers for certain jobs in Queenstown.
  • Impact on processing times: The waiver removesa significant phase of the overall application process for work visas. 
  • Business impact: The move will at least temporarily make it much easier for employers to bring foreign workers to fill certain jobs in Queenstown.
  • Next steps: Employers who wish to take advantage of this opportunity to avoid labour market testing for qualifying jobs should contact their BAL attorney as early as possible before the policy expires at the end of June.

Background: The waiver only applies to jobs that meet skill levels 1, 2 or 3 of the Australia and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations list or are on New Zealand’s Labour Market Check exemption list. To qualify for the waiver, the job must also be in the Queenstown area, meaning the principal place of the work must be within the territorial authority of the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

All other work visa requirements still apply, and foreign applicants must show that they meet the qualifications of the job and provide a police clearance and health certificate.

Employers are not relieved of labour market testing for jobs in skill levels 4 or 5 that are not on the Labour Market Check exemption list. Labour market testing requires that employers advertise job vacancies and obtain a letter from Work and Income New Zealand indicating whether there are qualified local workers to fill the vacancy.

BAL Analysis: Immigration New Zealand appears to be responding to employers’ recent complaints that work visas for foreign workers have been delayed because of the lack of qualified local workers in Queenstown. The temporary elimination of advertising and other labour market testing requirements will significantly ease those concerns for the next few months.

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

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