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NEW ZEALAND: New Version of ANZSCO Applies Transitionally to Current Migrant Employees

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced a targeted review of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) job classification system, which has moved some lower-skilled occupations over to the medium skilled occupation group.

This is a positive update for employers looking to hire individuals working in the impacted occupations, listed below.

INZ does not intend to use the updated version of ANZSCO until mid-2020 but a transitional policy has been introduced in the interim, allowing individuals currently working in these upgraded occupations to benefit from the new version of ANZSCO.


Foreign national employees currently working in New Zealand in the newly upgraded occupations may now be eligible to apply for a medium-skilled work visa, provided they are being paid at or above the median income rate (currently NZD 25 per hour or NZD 52,000 per annum for a 40-hour week).

Holding a medium-skilled work visa allows employees to support family for dependent visas and to avoid the stand-down period imposed on low-skilled workers, which requires them to go home after holding three 12-month work visas.

Individuals currently working in these occupations may also qualify to apply for residence under the Skilled Migrant Category, especially if they apply before the median income threshold rises, as anticipated by INZ.

Upgraded Occupations

The occupations that have been upgraded from low- to medium-skilled include childcare worker, beauty therapist, tour guide, bungee-jump master, bookkeeper, bank-worker, sewing machinist, train driver, diving instructor and insurance investigator. The full list is available here.

Upcoming Changes

As we have previously noted, the New Zealand government has recently proposed significant changes to the employer-assisted work visa framework, including removing the ANZSCO skill level assessment for Work Visas from mid-2020:

Jobs will instead be classified as “low” or “high” paid. This will be based on whether the hourly rate is above or below the median wage (currently NZD 25) Pay rate together with "Labour Market Region" will determine the length of visa issued ANZSCO will be retained for Skilled Migrant Residence Visa assessments ANZSCO will still be used to ensure that the rate of pay is not less than market rate and the visa applicant is suitably qualified.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2021 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.