It's often assumed that if a role is on a shortage list then a migrant will immediately be granted a work visa, without the employer having to show that the role has been advertised, and that there are no New Zealanders available. Unfortunately,this is not always the case. Therefore, before relying on a shortage list as part of a visa application,it's a good idea to make a few simple checks. It might just save you a lot of time and money.

All three of the shortage lists use the Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) system . The ANZSCO system is essentially an attempt to classify every potential role and, as part of this, set minimum skill levels. This means that a visa applicant needs to check his or her role's ANZSCO description, before starting a work visa application, to ensure he or she meets the necessary skill level. For example, to get a work visa as an IT Network Analyst an applicant either has to prove at least five years of experience or that he or she has the equivalent of a relevant New Zealand bachelor degree. If the Analyst doesn't have the experience or the qualification, then he or she doesn't meet the required skill level and Immigration New Zealand cannot grant a visa.

It is also worthwhile noting that the skill shortage lists set higher skill level requirements than the ANZSCO system. For Network Administrators or Analysts, they must demonstrate that they hold the equivalent of a bachelor degree in Information Technology or Electrical and Electronic Engineering, as well as a minimum of three years post qualification experience.

If an Administrator or Analyst cannot prove that he or she meets the shortage list requirements, then he or she must have at least the bachelor degree or five years of experience , to meet the minimum ANZSCO requirements described above, and prove that the employer has made a genuine attempt to try to recruit New Zealanders into the role, but that none are available or readily trainable.

Failure to be aware of these ANZSCO and the shortage list requirements can cause significant delay with a visa application. This is because without proof of meeting the shortage list requirements or of meeting ANZSCO requirements and the employer having made a genuine attempt to find a New Zealander for the role, Immigration New Zealand will need to seek more information to assess eligibility. This can then,in many cases, result in an application being refused.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.