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Working in New Zealand and the Skills Shortages List

Whilst many Australians are apparently heading home from the UK as the economy in Britain shrinks and life becomes less comfortable for many expatriates living and working in England, the same is not necessarily true for Kiwis living and working abroad.

Many New Zealanders head to Australia as almost a rite of passage after leaving higher education, and they take jobs there as part of their OE (Overseas Experience).  For these Kiwis, things in Australia are not so bad that a significant proportion of them are thinking of heading home any time soon.  What this means is that the brain drain is an ongoing problem in New Zealand – bad news for the nation, but excellent news for you if you want to move to live there!

New Zealand is still actively seeking well qualified immigrants who want to live and work there, and in this article we’ll look at working in New Zealand and the skills shortages lists.

The areas where there are skills shortages in New Zealand can change on quite a regular basis – which is why it’s essential that you bookmark the immigration authority’s website and refer to it regularly when considering emigrating to New Zealand.  Keep abreast of any changes to the list that could positively or negatively impact you – and know that if and when you get around to completing your visa application form, it will be viewed far more positively if you’re applying to enter the country to fill a vacancy on the immediate skills shortages list.

There are three main lists that you need to be aware of, the immediate skills shortages list, the long-term skills shortages list and the future growth areas list.  The first list identifies areas where there is immediate demand, and if you actually work and are skilled in one of these areas or disciplines then your visa may well receive priority treatment.  Please bear in mind that the list is broken down on a regional basis however, so this may have some direct bearing on where you can live in New Zealand – at least initially whilst you establish yourself in the nation.

In terms of the shortages currently identified, they range from healthcare professionals to IT workers – but the list changes often.  If you are perhaps eligible for immigration based on the list, note that you will not only need professional qualifications to back-up your application, but you may also need several years experience on the job as well.

If you look at the long-term skills shortages list you will find areas where workers are needed on a national basis.  Quite simply the skills and professions listed here are ones where there is a long-term deficit of skilled New Zealanders.  If you’re a teacher, a vet, a healthcare professional, a tradesperson or someone with agricultural experience you may well find that your profession is on this list.  This list is updated far less frequently than the previous one, so have a look on it and see for yourself whether it applies to you.  Again, please note that you will need to be qualified to New Zealand acceptable standards and have some degree of experience in the given field to be seriously considered for immigration.

The final list aims to identify where there may well be skills required in the future.  Therefore, if you don’t find your skill set on either of the other lists, perhaps you will be luckier here.  The main areas currently identified are very broad indeed and encompass ICT, biotechnology and creative industries – these are areas where New Zealand wants to develop, skill up and eventually excel over time.  Therefore, if you have qualifications, talent or experience that may be applicable, contact the immigration department and enquire further.

Finally, when it comes to completing your visa application, the closer you can get to presenting yourself as the ideal candidate to boost and benefit New Zealand in some way, the better!

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