Revised Skill Shortage List ensures faster work visas

Iain Lees-Galloway

Wellington, December 16, 2017

It will be easier for the building industry to find the workers it needs to help address New Zealand’s housing shortfall, with seven building-related occupations being added to the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL).

The Government will build 100,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years and the construction industry needs skilled workers to achieve this.

The Government will always ensure that where a genuine skill gap exists our immigration system will support employers to get the people they need.

Adding these seven building-related occupations to the ISSL will make it easier for employers to get the people they require, including migrants, to deliver the homes this country needs.

KiwiBuild a catalyst

Employing skilled migrants will meet the immediate demand for people with the skills required to rapidly increase the number of houses in New Zealand.

In the near future, KiwiBuild will be a catalyst for more young New Zealanders to work in the construction industry.

Employers whose occupations are on the ISSL and the Long-Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) do not need to go through the labour market process and do not need to prove they cannot find a New Zealander for the job.

A total of 34 occupations have been reviewed this year.

In addition to the seven building-related occupations three motor industry-related professions are being added to the ISSL, as well as midwives and accountants.

Five occupations are being removed from the ISSL and five from the LTSSL.

Extensive consultation

The removal and addition of occupations is the result of extensive consultation with industry groups, other stakeholders and relevant government agencies, alongside analysis of economic, labour market and immigration data.

I want to emphasise that employers wanting to bring in migrant workers for occupations not listed on the ISSL or LTSSL can still do so, as long as they can show they have genuinely searched for suitably qualified and trained New Zealand workers.

New Zealanders first

I also want to signal that New Zealanders will be given every opportunity to get work and better opportunities to train and learn through our Fees Free initiative, so future reviews of the skill shortage lists will be carried out with a view to reducing the number of occupations listed.

The Government is committed to matching skilled migrant workers with the industries and regions that need them, by strengthening the labour market test for work visas and making the skill shortage lists more focused on regional needs.

MBIE officials will be providing me further advice on how to achieve this commitment ahead of the next review, which is due to begin in April next year.

The latest changes are detailed on the INZ website here. The revised lists will come into effect in February 2018.

About the Essential Skills in Demand

The Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists were established in 2002 and help to ensure that New Zealand’s skill needs are met by facilitating the entry of appropriately skilled migrants to fill skill shortages. This objective also balances the need to ensure there are no suitably qualified New Zealand citizens or resident workers available to undertake the work, and that the shortage is genuine.

The ESID lists are made up of the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Canterbury Skill Shortage List (CSSL), a temporary list which has been developed in response to the changing labour market requirements of the Canterbury rebuild.

Since 2002, there have been a large number of submissions for occupations to be added to, or removed from, the ISSL and LTSSL, or changes to be made to occupations currently on the lists. Final decisions on changes to the shortage lists are made by the Minister of Immigration for the LTSSL and Immigration New Zealand for the ISSL.

From 2009 to 2017, 226 occupations have been removed from the lists, and 59 occupations added. Once the revised lists come into effect, there will be a total of 134 occupations on the lists (65 on the LTSSL and 69 on the ISSL).

Iain Lees-Galloway is Immigration Minister of New Zealand.

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