When surfing the net on NZ skilled job based visas, such as Essential Skills Work Visa or Skilled Migrant Residence Visa, you may have heard or read about the term “ANZSCO” and/or the phrase “Skill Level”. Let me tell you more about them in this blog.

ANZSCO and Skill Level

The term ANZSCO stands for Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. It a skill-based classification used by both New Zealand and Australia to classify all occupations in the labour markets of both countries.[1]

The ANZSCO is structured in five hierarchical levels i.e. major group, sub-major group, minor group, unit group and occupation. The most detailed level of the classification is called occupation which is denoted by 6 digits, e.g. 142111 Retail Manager. A set of occupations are aggregated together to form a unit group, e.g. 1421 Retail Managers.

Each unit group has a description of the nature of the occupations, a summary of the main activities of occupations that form part of that unit group and a detailed list of duties that would generally apply to all or most of the occupations in that unit group.

All occupations (and unit groups) listed in the ANZSCO are assigned skill levels ranging from Level 1 (highly skilled) to Level 5 (low skilled). Table A shows examples of occupation and industry for each skill level:

Table A:

Skill LevelOccupation and Industry
1 – Highly SkilledManagers and professional roles in these industries: education and training (teachers); professional and technical services; health and social assistance and agriculture (farmers and farm managers)
2Managers in the accommodation and retail industries, support workers in the health and social assistance industry
3 – SkilledTechnicians and trade workers in the construction, manufacturing and other service industries
4Carers and receptionists in the health industry; road and rail drivers in the transport industry; and clerks, operators, drivers, store people, process workers in the manufacturing industry
5 – Low skilledSales workers in the retail industry, factory process workers in the manufacturing industry; accommodation, farm, forestry, and garden workers in agriculture; and cleaners and laundry workers in administration

Reference: Statistics New Zealand [2]

For each skill level, ANZSCO outlines the level of relevant formal qualification, the amount of relevant work experience and/or on-the-job training that may be required for an individual to competently carry out the tasks and duties of an occupation. For most occupations, work experience may substitute the qualification listed. However, in some instances, work experience and/or on-the job training may be required in addition to the required qualification. Registration or licensing may also be required for certain occupations.

Table B shows the different qualification and/or work experience required for each skill level:

Table B:

Skill LevelQualification Work Experience
1 – Highly SkilledBachelor or above5 years
2Diploma3 years
3 – SkilledNZ Register Level 43 years
4NZ Register Level 2 or 31 year
5 – Low skilledNZ Register Level 1 or compulsory secondary educationShort period of on-the-job training

Reference: Australian Bureau of Statistics[3]

When determining whether a particular job matches an ANZSCO occupation, the applicant should compare their job against the ANZSCO description of an occupation and determine whether they are suitably qualified by training and/or experience to perform that job.

Correlation between ANZSCO and skilled job based visas

The ANZSCO forms part of the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) operational manual. INZ will refer to ANZSCO when assessing whether an applicant is eligible for a visa based on their “skilled” job, hence the skill level of an applicant’s job becomes a key factor in their assessment of these visas.

For Essential Skills Work Visas, different rules apply for each skill level. Depending on the skill level and the level of remuneration of the job:

  1. the applicant may get a Visa for a longer duration;
  2. the applicant may be subject to a stand-down period after a few years; and/or
  3. the applicant’s accompanying family member(s) may not be able to seek the type of visa they may wish as a dependent of a skilled job based visa.

For Skilled Migrant Residence Visas, an applicant must have a job (or a job offer) with a New Zealand employer that is “skilled”. Depending on the skill level and the level of remuneration, the applicant’s job may not be assessed as skilled to qualify for points for skilled employment. Similar rules now apply for prior work experience. They must also be “skilled”. Depending on the skill level of the applicant’s previous job, their experience may not be assessed as skilled to qualify for points for skilled work experience.

If you plan on seeking a skilled job based visa, it would pay to know the skill level of your current NZ job (or a job offer) as it may make an immense difference to what visa you can seek for yourself and/or accompanying family members (partner and children) and your future plans in New Zealand.

For a detailed assessment and advice on the skilled job based visas, come and speak to one of our immigration specialists today.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/1220.0Chapter32013,%20Version%201.2

[2] Statistics New Zealand. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://archive.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/income-and-work/employment_and_unemployment/skills-employed-people.aspx

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2018, from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Lookup/1220.0Chapter32013,%20Version%201.2