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New Zealand Work Visa in Essential Skills  Requirements and Application Process.

New Zealand Essential Skills work visa is a temporary based work visa. The duration of this visa can be 1, 3 or 5 years depending on several factors like per hour wages, ANZSCO skill level and length of job contract etc. There is no opening and closing dates to apply this visa. You can apply for this visa any time online.

If you have job offer from A New Zealand employer/company for a job position, and you have required qualification and experience, you are eligible to apply for Essential Skills Work Visa. You may be eligible to apply New Zealand visa for your spouse and dependents with this visa under rules specified by New Zealand Immigration.

Is IELTS Required for Essential Skills Work Visa?

There is no specific requirement of language for essential skills work visa. However, you should be able to speak English depending on your job nature and job position. Though there is no requirement of ielts yet  employer may demand proof of Language Proficiency. And also some Job positions like Nursing, may require you to have ielts . It depends on employer and job nature whether you need ielts or not. Immigration wants you to be proficient in English to be fit for New Zealand working environment. So, it is strongly recommended to submit proof of English proficiency along with other documents.

[Recommended: Germany Job Seeker Visa]

Major Steps to Apply New Zealand Essential Skills Work Visa:

  1. Check Skill Shortage lists and Find Your Occupation.
  2. Check requirements for your occupation by downloading full Skill shortage List.
  3. Check NZQA Level of your qualification.
  4. Apply for Jobs to find a Job Offer.
  5. Get Job offer/Contract other documents from employer.
  6. Check the ANZSCO level of your occupation.
  7. Apply for International Qualification Assessment (IQA).
  8. Check if you need Occupational Registration, some occupations needs registration before applying visa.
  9. Apply for Essential Skills Visa Online.

Explanation of each of above steps is given below:

What is New Zealand Skills Shortage List?

New Zealand government has published list of occupations High in Demand. There is not enough man power available in New Zealand to work in these Occupations. Also residents of New Zealand do not like to work in these occupations. So, these occupations are listed in Skill Shortage list. Three types of skill shortage lists are specified by New Zealand Immigration which are as Follows:

  1. Long Term Skill Shortage List.
  2. Intermediate Skill Shortage List.
  3. Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List.

Benefits of Skill Shortage Lists:

If occupation and job position related to your qualification and experience is included in any of three skill shortage lists, you can get Essential work visa much easier. New Zealand employer do not need to go through Labor Market Test if they want to hire foreign workers in occupation included in any of three skill shortage lists. New Zealand employer do not need to get permission from government to recruit worker from overseas. Employer doesn’t need to advertise the job vacancy in New Zealand  and doesn’t need to prove that there is no suitable worker available for this job in New Zealand.

If your occupation is listed in Long Term Skill Shortage List, you will be eligible to apply for New Zealand Permanent Residency in two years once you are in New Zealand with Essential Skills work visa.

What if Your Occupation is not in Skill Shortage Lists:

If your occupation is not included in any one of three skill shortage lists, you are still eligible to apply essential work visa. But your employer needs to go through Labor Market Test. He have to advertise job vacancy in news papers and job search websites first. He needs to get permission from New Zealand Government to hire overseas worker. Employer have to provide evidence that vacancy is already advertised properly and there is no suitable worker available in New Zealand for this job position.

  1. Immediate Skill Shortage List:

The following occupations and job positions are included in Intermediate Skill Shortage List. Please download full list to find the requirements of each job position. Download link is available at the end of this list.

Agriculture and Forestry Sectors:

  • Beef Cattle Farmer (Farm Manager) (121312),
  • Dairy Cattle Farmer (Farm Manager) (121313)
  • Dairy Cattle Farmer (Assistant Farm Manager) (121313)
  • Market Gardener (Crop Production/ Agronomist Manager) (121221)
  • Pig Farmer (Farm Manager or Assistant Farm Manager) (121318)
  • Winemaker (Viticulturist/Specialist positions – not pickers) (234213)
  • Apiarist (121311)
  • Arborist (362212


  • Building Inspector/Building Surveyor (312113)
  • Construction Project Manager (Foreman) (Roading and Infrastructure) (133111)
  • Surveying or Spatial Science Technician (Building Information Modelling Professional) (312116)
  • Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/ Hydrographic Technician) (312116)
  • Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/ Land Surveyor’s Technician) (312116)


  • Post-Doctoral Fellow (classified under 242111 University Lecturer)
  • University Lecturer (242111)


  • Civil Engineering Draughtsperson (312211)
  • Electrical Engineering Draughtsperson (312311)
  • Mechanical Engineering Draughtsperson (312511)
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician (312512)

Finance/ Business:

  • Accountant (221111)

Health and Social Services:

  • Anaesthetic Technician (311211)
  • Medical Technicians nec (Dialysis Technician) (311299)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Resident Medical Officer (excluding First and Second Year Resident Medical Officers) (253112)
  • Specialist Physician (General Medicine) (253311)
  • Cardiologist (253312)
  • Paediatrician (253321)
  • Specialist Physicians nec (253399)
  • Emergency Medicine Specialist (253912)
  • Ophthalmologist (253914)
  • Medical Practitioners nec (253999)

ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications:

  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunications) (342411)
  • Telecommunications Cable Jointer (342412)
  • Telecommunications Technician (342414)

Recreation, Hospitality and Tourism:

  • Horse Trainer (Stallion Master) (361112)
  • Horse Trainer (Stud Groom) (361112)
  • Jockey (452413)
  • Jockey (Track work Rider) (452413)
  • Outdoor Adventure Guide (Skydive Tandem Master) (452299)
  • Snow sport Instructor (452314)
  • Snow sport Instructor (including Technicians) (452314)


  • Baker (351111)
  • Bricklayer (331111)
  • Carpenter (331212)
  • Carpenter and Joiner (331211)
  • Composite Technician (399999)
  • Electronic Equipment Trades Worker (342313)
  • Fibrous Plasterer (333211)
  • Floor Finisher (332111)
  • Glazier (333111)
  • Joiner (331213)
  • Metal Casting Trades Worker (Foundry Moulder) (322114)
  • Metal Fabricator (322311)
  • Metal Machinist (First Class) (CNC Machinist) (323214)
  • Motor Mechanic (General) (321211)
  • Motor Mechanic (General) (Automotive Air Conditioning Technician) (321211)
  • Panel beater (324111)
  • Plastics Technician (399916)
  • Plastics Technician (Plastics Engineer) (399916)
  • Roof Tiler (333311)
  • Roof Plumber (334115)
  • Sheet metal Trades Worker (322211)
  • Scaffolder (821712)
  • Solid Plasterer (333212)
  • Stonemason (331112)
  • Vehicle Painter (324311)


  1. Long Term Skill Shortage List:

The following Occupations and job positions are listed as Long Term Skill Shortage List. You can find a link to download full list at the end of this list. You can check requirements for each occupation by downloading full list.


  • Construction Project Manager (Roading and Infra structure) (133 111)
  • Project Builder (including Building Project Manager and Site Foreman) (133112)
  • Quantity Surveyor (233213)
  • Surveyor (232212)


  • Chemical Engineer (233111)
  • Materials Engineer (233112)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Geo Technical Engineer (233212)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Electronics Engineer (233411)
  • Industrial Engineer (233511)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • Production or Plant Engineer (233513)
  • Environmental Engineer (233915)
  • Engineering Professionals nec (233999)
  • Civil Engineering Technician (312212)
  • Electrical Engineering Technician (312312)
  • Electronic Engineering Technician (312412)

Finance / Business:

  • Procurement Manager (133612)

Health and Social Services:

  • Clinical Psychologist (272311)
  • Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist (253917)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Medical Radiation Therapist (251212)
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist – including Cytotechnologist (Cytoscientist) (234611)
  • Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (253913)
  • Physicist (Medical) (234914)
  • Physiotherapist (252511)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Sonographer (251214)
  • Specialist Physician in Palliative Medicine (253399)
  • Surgeon (General) (253511)
  • Veterinarian (234711)

ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications:

  • Multimedia Specialist (Film Animator) (261211)
  • ICT Project Manager (135112),
  • Organisation and Methods Analyst (224712)
  • ICT Business Analyst (261111)
  • Systems Analyst (261112)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Web Developer (261212)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Software Tester (261314)
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec (261399)
  • Database Administrator (262111)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Systems Administrator (262113)
  • Computer Network and Systems Engineer (263111)
  • Network Administrator (263112)
  • ICT Quality Assurance Engineer (263211)
  • ICT Support Engineer (263212)
  • ICT Systems Test Engineer (263213)
  • ICT Support and Test Engineers nec (263299)
  • Telecommunications Engineer (263311)
  • Telecommunications Network Engineer (263312)
  • ICT Customer Support Officer (313112)

Recreation, Hospitality and Tourism:

  • Chef (Chef de Partie or higher) (351311)


  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214)
  • Environmental Research Scientist (234313)
  • Food Technologist (234212)


  • Automotive Electrician (321111)
  • Diesel Motor Mechanic (including Heavy Vehicle Inspector) (321212)
  • Electrician (General) (341111)
  • Electric Line Mechanic (342211)


  1. Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List:

The following occupations are included in Construction and Infrastructure skill shortage list. This list is also known as canterbury list. Please download full list to find the requirements for each occupation. Download link is available at the end of this list.


  • Construction Project Manager (Foreman) (Roading and Infrastructure) (133111)
  • Project Builder (including Building Project Manager and Site Foreman) (133112)
  • Surveyor (232212)


  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)


  • Telecommunications Engineer (263311)


  • Building Associate (312112)
  • Building Inspector/Building Surveyor (312113)
  • Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/Land Surveyor’s Technician) (312116)
  • Surveying or Spatial Science Technician (Building Information Modelling Professional) (312116)
  • Surveying Technician (Spatial Science Technician/ Hydrographic Technician) (312116)


  • Civil Engineering Draughtsperson (312211)
  • Civil Engineering Technician (312212)
  • Electrical Engineering Draughtsperson (312311)
  • Electrical Engineering Technician (312312)


  • Metal Fabricator (322311)
  • Welder (322313)
  • Fitter-Welder (323213)
  • Bricklayer (331111)
  • Stonemason (331112)
  • Carpenter and Joiner (331211)
  • Carpenter (331212)
  • Joiner (331213)
  • Floor Finisher (332111)
  • Glazier (333111)
  • Fibrous Plasterer (333211)
  • Solid Plasterer (333212)
  • Roof Tiler (333311)
  • Wall and Floor Tiler (333411)
  • Plumber (General) (334111)
  • Drain layer (334113)
  • Roof Plumber (334115)
  • Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic (342111)
  • Electric Line Mechanic (342211)
  • Scaffolder (821712)

ICT, Electronics and Telecommunications:

  • Cabler (Data and Telecommunicatio ns) (342411)
  • Telecommunicatio ns Cable Jointer (342412)
  • Telecommunicatio ns Technician (342414)


  • Truck Driver (General) (733111)


Qualifications and Their NZQF Levels:

When you check skill shortage list, you can see the educational requirements mentioned as NZQF. NZQF is “New Zealand Qualification Framework”. To apply New Zealand work visa, it is mandatory to make sure that your education level is equal to required New Zealand education standards. You can check NZQF level of your education through the following table.

NZQF Levels Qualifications
10 Doctoral Degree
9 Master Degree
8 Post Graduate Diploma Certificates,

Bachelor Honors Degree

7  Bachelor’s Degree

(3 Years Degree)

Graduate Diplomas and Certificate








You can Search NZQF level of your qualification by Visiting NZQA website

You can read details about Qualification and their Levels by Clicking Qualification and NZQF levels.

International Qualification Assessment (IQA):

You have  to apply International Qualification Assessment in order to get work visa. Mostly qualifications obtained outside New Zealand need assessment (IQA) by New Zealand Qualification Authority. It is to check the standard of your qualification and its equivalency to New Zealand education standards. You can apply for IQA online by clicking here . It will charge a fee 746 NZD.

It is better not to apply for IQA unless you get job offer. When you get response from employer and he is willing to give you job, at this point you should apply for IQA.

However, if you get IQA in advance and then apply jobs; it will help employers to have better understanding of your qualification.

Occupational Registration:

There are some occupations which need New Zealand Registration. New Zealand government has authorized some institutions for this purpose. You can find whether your occupation needs registration or not by visiting the following link. And also you can find the registration body related to your occupation. To check if your occupation needs registration Please Click  Occupations Need Registration.

You can discuss with your employer whether you need Occupational registration or not. If you are trying to apply for jobs online, you can find it in job description whether your employer demanding NZ registration or not. However, if your occupation really requires registration according to Immigration webiste, You must have to register your occupation before applying visa.

Job offer from New Zealand:

Full time job offer from New Zealand employer/company is first and foremost requirement for essential skills work visa. You can search for jobs in New Zealand through some good reputed, high responsive website without paying any fee. You can finds jobs related to your occupation and apply online. If employer is willing to give you job, he will contact you and provide you with job offer, job contract and other requirements documents. Employer may demand for an online interview through Skype.

New Zealand Immigration has suggested some websites where employers post vacancies. You can visit these websites and apply for a job. Job application process is simple;

  • First of all register/create free account at job search websites.
  • Upload/create your CV/Resume at these websites. You can use New Zealand Government CV builder tool to create a CV
  • Browse Job listings available or search for your desired job.
  • If you find a job title related to your occupation, just click it and read description of job, find the way to apply for that job.
  • Before applying for job, you should check what type qualification employer is looking for. If you don’t fit for that, do not waste time and try to find other job related to your qualification.
  • Do the same process on other websites suggested by New Zealand Government.
  • Please do not pay any fee at any website.
  • Do not give your credit details at any website.

Two Special Websites for Foreigners:

These two job search websites are open for overseas job seekers. so, you can apply from your home country.

Jobs in Skill Shortage Occupations, Government Website Click to Visit.

Industry Specific Job Search Websites:

New Zealand Most Popular Job Search Websites:

These two sites are very popular in New Zealand but you may find many jobs are not open for overseas.

New Zealand Government Job Search Websites Directory Click to Visit

New Kiwis Online Migrant Recruitment Click to Visit.

Click to Visit Official Website of New Zealand Immigration Job Advice

How Long You Can Stay with this Visa In New Zealand:

The length of your stay depends on following factors:

  • Length of Job contract.
  • Skill band of your employment.
  • whether your employer is an accredited labor hire company.
Skill Band ANZSCO Level Remuneration Maximum Visa Duration
Higher Skilled any $ 37.50 per hour

or higher

5 years
Mid Skilled 1,2,3 $21.25 to 37.49$ per hour 3 years
Lower Skilled 4,5 less than 37.50$ 1 year (Max 36 months)
Lower Skilled any Less than 21.25$ 1 year (Max 36 months)

There is no limit of essential skills work visas you can get. You can apply for essential skills visa unlimited times. There is  a limit of three years only with lower skilled employment essential skills visa. After completing three years, Lower skilled workers have to spend 1 year out of New Zealand if they want another lower skilled essential work visa. However, they can get other type of work visa if they don’t want to live 12 months outside New Zealand.

Threshold Wages for Essential Skills Work Visa:

$37.50 per hour Higher Skilled Higher Skilled
21.25 to 37.49 $

per hour

Mid Skilled Lower Skilled
Less than 21.25$

per hour

Lower Skilled Lower Skilled

If your Essential Skills work visa is lower skilled employment, you cannot apply visas for your family.

How to Check ANZSCO Level:

  • First of all Visit Skill Shortage List Checker by Clicking Here.
  • Enter Name of your occupation in “Search Box”
  • System will show ANZSCO Level and other details about your occupation.

Click to Visit Official Website of New Zealand Immigration

Documents Required for Essential Skills Work Visa:

  • Valid Passport.
  • Recent Photograph.
  • Police clearance certificate.
  • Good Health Certificate.
  • Full Time Job offer from New Zealand Employer/Company.
  • Job Contract with New Zealand Employer/Company.
  • If job occupation is not included in any of three skill shortage lists, your employer need to provide you with proof that he has advertised job properly in New Zealand and failed to find suitable worker.
  • Your Qualification and experience proof.
  • International Qualification Assessment (IQA).
  • Occupation Registration in New Zealand (only if your occupation needs Registration).

How To Apply Essential Skills Work Visa:

You have to apply online for essential skills work visa. Open New Zealand Immigration’s Official Portal Real Me and Create a free account. System will send a verification email to your email address. You may need to wait longer time for that email. Once you have received email, open it and click the verification link in the email.

Now you can login and start New Zealand Work visa Process. You have upload scanned copies of your documents while applying and need to fill several application forms. And also you have to pay visa fee online. Immigration may ask you to send your documents or passport through visa application center like VFS Global but immigration will instruct you through your registered email.

Visa Fee:

$495 amount is charged as visa fee. If you are applying online, you have to pay fee online through acceptable bank cards.