New Zealand: ANZSCO no longer used for skills level assessment

New Zealand: ANZSCO no longer used for skills level assessment


New Zealand authorities announced in 2019 that ANZSCO would no longer be used in skills level assessments for work visas. Immigration New Zealand (INZ) have advised that this will be effective from July 27, 2020. Going forward, salary thresholds will be used to identify if a job is considered “high” or “low” paid.

What has changed?

Whereas previously ANZSCO was used to assess the skill level of a job in work visa applications, from July 27, salary levels will be used instead. Employment visa applications for roles that are paid below the average will also need to include a Skills Match Report (SMR) from the Ministry of Social Development. Per the current ruling for lower skilled work visa holders, those now considered to be low paid will also be required to spend 12 months outside of New Zealand after holding said visa for three years.

INZ previously advised that with this new scheme based on salary values, the duration of the essential skills work visa issued would be determined by the region the individual would be working in and subject to whether they are paid above or below the median wage. Further to this, the INZ provided details relating to visa duration and necessary labor market testing for different regions. It is expected this could be updated to require advertising for highly paid workers in all regions due to local labor market conditions as a result of Covid-19 and to align with a temporarily reduced visa duration for low-paid workers.

Despite this upcoming change, ANZSCO will still be used for assessing the category of Skilled Migrant Residence Visas, ensuring that the rate of pay for a position meets local market rates and assessing whether applicants hold the required qualifications for the position.

For further information on the developments in skill level assessments in New Zealand, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at

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Leanne Cottrell
Leanne Cottrell

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