Are your skills in demand?

You ask yourself: "What are my chances of finding a job in New Zealand and are my skills in demand?"  

This will be one of the most important questions you will have when considering a move to New Zealand. 

In most cases the answer will be: 'If you have good skills and work experience, your chances of finding a job in New Zealand are good.'

It is important that you get a realistic idea of where you stand. This will enable you to make an informed decision about your move. 


As a starting point we recommend that you do some initial market research on the internet.  

If you see a good number of positions advertised that match your skills, you might be on the right track.

This might sound obvious, but it is definitely the first step we recommend to build up confidence in your decision to move to New Zealand.     

It is important that you have a clear and realistic understanding of every step of your job search and  migration process and  we encourage you to do as much research as you can, to establish a solid base for the next steps you are about to take.

Our employment professionals will work with you throughout your job search. They will guide, coach, encourage and support you, but we want you to be in full control of your process at all times.


Two of the leading websites for job listings in New Zealand are: 


The next step for you to evaluate your chances on the New Zealand job market is to scan through the Skill Shortage Lists.

There are three Skill Shortage Lists, the Essential Skills in Demand Lists, ESID Lists. 

They reflect the current labour market situation and are updated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on a regular basis to ensure that the changing needs of the labour market are met. 

The last review took place in February 2017.


1.The Immediate Skill Shortage List, ISSL

The Immediate Skill Shortage List includes occupations where skilled workers are immediately required in New Zealand. 

If your profession is listed, you can assume that there is a high demand for your skills and that not enough New Zealand citizens or residents are available to fill the skill gap. 

You may be granted an Essential Skills work visa and faster processing of your work visa application will  be guaranteed if you are offered a job on the ISSL and meet all further requirements of the visa policy.


As a result of the latest labour market review, the following professions have been added to the ISSL in February 2017:

  • Bricklayer 
  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications) 
  • Composite Technician
  • Floor Finisher
  • Stonemason
  • Telecommunications Cable Jointer 
  • Telecommunications Technician 

The following 2 occupations, for which there is no longer a shortage, have been removed:

  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health)
  • Upholsterer

Have a look at the current Immediate Skill Shortage List, effective from February 2017.


2.The Long Term Skill Shortage List, LTSSL

The Long Term Skill Shortage List identifies occupations where there is a sustained and on-going shortage of highly skilled workers both globally and throughout New Zealand.

If your profession is listed on the LTSSL, you can realistically assume that your chances of finding employment are excellent. 

If you get a job offer in an occupation on the LTSSL and meet the further requirements, you may be granted a work visa under the Work to Residence category.

This means that you may be eligible to apply for residence in two years, provided you meet standard requirements, and that job has a base salary of at least NZ$45,000.

This list is also important for migrants who are applying for a resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category: If your qualification is on this list, you might qualify for bonus points for your Expression of Interest.


The outcome of the review of the LTSSL in February 2017 was to remove the following occupations for which there is no longer a shortage:

    • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (this has been added to the ISSL for all regions of New Zealand)
    • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency)
    • Registered Nurse (Medical)
    • Registered Nurse (Perioperative)
    • Ship's Engineer
    • Ship's Master
    • Ship's Officer

It has been decided that the Chef profession remains on the LTSSL.

View the current Long Term Skill Shortage Listeffective from 28 August 2017.


3.The Canterbury Skill Shortage List, CSSL

The Canterbury Skill Shortage List contains occupations in critical shortage in the Canterbury region following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

It draws on the occupations on the Immediate and Long Term Skill Shortage Lists relevant to the Canterbury rebuild.

If you have skills in construction, engineering, telecommunications, trade professions and similar, your occupation are on this list, your chances of finding a job should be excellent.  

If you have a job offer in Canterbury, you may be granted an Essential Skills work visa and if your occupation is also on the LTSSL, then you may also be able to apply for residence.

View the current Canterbury Skill Shortage List, effective from August 2017.



So if your skills are on one of the Essential Skills in Demand Lists, this can mean two things for you:

  1. It gives you an indication that your chances of finding a job are very good. 
  2. Your work and resident visa applications might be more straight forward than for other migrants.


What happens if your skills are not on one of the Shortage Lists?

If you have good qualifications and work experience, your chances of finding a job and getting a visa can still be excellent.

Our experienced Employment Professionals are here to help. They will build you up as an excellent candidate on the New Zealand job market and coach you throughout your entire job search, until you have found a job in New Zealand.


Client Feedback: 

Hello Katrin, First of all I want to thank you for the fantastic, complete and detailed work that you have done with my job application materials. Now I feel more confident for the future job applications.Thank you for your suggestions and recommendations. Of course  now I’m searching for potential job offers in the Online Job Seeker Sources and Recruitment Agencies 2016. When I find a job offer suitable for me, before to apply I’ll contact you to ask your opinion.

Best regards, Jorge D. V., Argentina   


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:

  • How many points will you need to have a realistic chance?
  • Will you be able to claim points for your qualifications?
  • Will you be able to claim bonus points for your professional expertise?
  • Do you have to be registered in New Zealand?
  • Will you meet the English language requirements?

Ask our Job Search Professionals

If you want to find out more about finding a job in New Zealand, contact Katrin Schottke, Job Search Manager at NZIC.

Ask Katrin for a Free Assessment