The Labour Market Test

What is the Labour Market Test and how does it affect you as a migrant?

New Zealand aims to attract skilled migrants from all over the world to fill job openings and ensure that the economy can thrive.

However, New Zealand has a responsibility towards New Zealand citizens and permanent residents and aims to achieve high levels of employment in our country. 

To comply with this objective, the skilled migrant visa policies stipulate that Immigration New Zealand is required to conduct a 'labour market test' before granting a work visa.


Employers are required to make genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders. 

Only once it has been established that no New Zealander can be found to fill a position, the specific job may be offered to an overseas job seeker. 

When assessing a work visa application, the Immigration Officer in charge must be satisfied that the employer has made genuine attempts to attract and recruit New Zealand citizens or residence class visa holders and that there are no New Zealanders available to fill the specific role.


When is a Labour Market Test not necessary?

If a position is included in one of the skills shortage lists and the employee meets the necessary requirements as stipulated in the respective list, Immigration New Zealand accepts that no New Zealander is available to fill the role.

The employer does not have to undertake a Labour Market Test before offering the job to a migrant.  

Employers who intend to recruit multiple workers are encouraged to apply for an Approval in Principle to recruit overseas personnel. 


Our advice on how to undertake a Labour Market test:

Talk to one of our Licensed Immigration Advisers before submitting a work visa application. 

Failure to provide key information such as a Skills Match Report, evidence of genuine attempts to recruit New Zealanders could result in the application being declined!

We can advise you regarding the Labour Market requirements and assist your New Zealand employer with the formalities involved.  



According to Immigration New Zealand, these are the most common reasons for New Zealand employers not meeting the ‘labour market test’:

  • Failure to provide a Skills Match Report (SMR) or Canterbury Skills Employment Hub Letter (CSEH) - mandatory for skill levels 4 and 5 positions
  • The SMR or CSEH indicate that there are New Zealanders available
  • No evidence of advertising or attempts to train New Zealanders - requirement even if an SMR or CSEH have been provided)
  • The job was advertised more than three months ago or was not advertised for long enough – please refer to the Essential Skills Employer Guide
  • The job was advertised in such a way that no New Zealanders would apply e.g – including a foreign language requirement, the requirements are considered excessive, the pay rate mentioned in the advertising is lower than the rate offered to the migrant worker.
  • The advertising or the consultation with Work and Income was done after the job was offered to the applicant.
  • The location listed in the advertising/SMR/CSEH is different from the location included in the Employment Agreement
  • No information or evidence regarding the outcome of the advertising was provided or no evidence of attempts to train New Zealanders was provided



Read more about working in New Zealand


Are you eligible for a resident visa under Skilled Migrant Category? Find out by using our Quick Self-Check Guide.

Read more about becoming a New Zealand resident through the Skilled Migrant Category:

Ask our Licensed Immigration Advisers

If you want to find out what it takes to migrate to New Zealand ask our Licensed Immigration Adviser Dr.Carsten Hallwass for a Free Assessment.

Free Assessment