Skills Shortage Lists


If your occupation is on one of these lists, you may be more likely to find a job.


The Green List: Residence pathways

The Green list contains a list of occupations which offer preferential pathways towards a work visa as well as residence options
More information on Green List pathways here

Three lists for skills shortages

New Zealand immigration defines and updates three lists of Essentials Skills in Demands (ESD) in the country. If your occupation features on one of these lists, it means that:

  • Your occupation is in demand and your chances of finding a job are higher
  • It may be easier for an employer to hire overseas workers
  • Your residence application may be quicker to process
The Long Term Skills Shortage list (LTSSL)

This list identifies occupations for which there is a chronic labour shortage throughout New Zealand, usually in mid to high-skilled occupations. Jobs in health and social services heavily populate this list, along with positions in trade and engineering.

See the latest Long Term Skills Shortage List here

The Regional Skills Shortage list (RSSL)

This list identifies occupations for which there is a regional shortage in New Zealand due to current economic situation. There are shortage for certain occupations nationwide while other occupations are just for certain regions. Employment positions in this list facilitate the approval of temporary working visa applications. This is because normally a highly time-consuming labour market test must be carried out to determine whether there are any current New Zealand citizens or residents able to take up employment in that position. With positions that are acknowledged as being in immediate need, this test is not utilised. While the application will be processed markedly faster, being on this list and meeting the requirements of the occupation does not provide any advantage for a residence application, unlike jobs registered on the LTSS list. As with the long-term skills shortage list, employment roles in engineering and construction make up a large proportion of the positions on the list, along with positions in agriculture and forestry, oil and gas, and at the present time, roles in recreation, hospitality and tourism.

See the latest Regional Skills Shortage list here

The Construction and Infrastructure Skills Shortage list

As you would expect, the job roles in this list are made up purely based on areas related to construction and infrastructure. Most of these are also specific to certain regions in New Zealand.

This list includes most occupations previously included in the Canterbury Skill Shortage List and will be reviewed to reflect actual labour market needs.

See the latest Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List here

Are these lists reviewed and amended?

These lists are reviewed annually. During each review, the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) decides whether any occupations need to be added, removed or moved from one list to another. MBIE also assesses whether occupations meet a certain skill level, if the industry will train New Zealanders before recruiting overseas workers, if there is evidence of the difficulty to find local workforce, if more than one employer is affected, and if there will be a need for at least 50 visas each year. This is done in close consultation with employers, trainers, industry groups, and by assessing administrative or statistical data.

Employment positions mentioned in the Lists that are currently in high demand are either considered as such due to current skills shortages or due to a prediction of increased demand in the coming future. There are some employment areas, however, that are in high demand in New Zealand, just like they are all over the world, and will most likely continue to be so, to some extents, for the foreseeable future. These positions are often in the services sector, including healthcare and social services, engineering, and science. But a common sight now in skills shortage lists for many countries are positions in worldwide emerging markets such as ICT. Some of these positions have been on the skills shortage lists since they were first devised, with no current signs of being withdrawn.

My occupation is not on any of these lists…

Can I still get a job in New Zealand? If you have the right, relevant qualifications and work experience, your chances of finding a job and getting a visa can still be very good. It is all about meeting an employer’s requirements.