Labour market test: "Give a New Zealander a far go first"

Not many migrants know this but Essential Skills work visas are subject to a labour market test (or Labour Market Check/ LMC) to ensure that employers have made genuine attempts to hire New Zealanders and that suitable New Zealanders are not available to take up the vacancy offered to a migrant.

And to show that genuine attempts were made to recruit a New Zealander, employers need to list their vacancies with Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) while carrying out normal recruitment activities. "If you’re not successful in recruiting a New Zealander, you may decide to support a work visa application. We’ll provide you with the paperwork you need if you then decide to support a work visa application through Immigration New Zealand (INZ)," states WINZ on its website.

While details about the LMC are listed at WINZ and INZ's websites, a number of changes were made in LMC over the last year or so:

  • Temporary exemption from the labour market test in Queenstown

  • Removed nationwidefor people who needed to apply for a temporary Essential Skills work visa while their Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) residence application was being assessed

  • INZ and the Ministry of Social Development agreed to definitions of key terms used in the labour market test, giving clarity to the process

The Occupation Outlook 2016 app - available on Google Play and iTunes - by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is designed to help students make well-informed career choices.

It contains education, employment and income information on 60 key occupations in New Zealand chosen for their size, popularity, and potential for future growth.

The occupations are grouped under the following seven industries used in the Vocational Pathways programme:

  • - Construction and Infrastructure

  • - Manufacturing and Technology

  • - Primary Industries

  • - Service Industries

  • - Creative Industries

  • - Social and Community Services

Each occupation has three dials that indicate its relative income, fees, and job prospects.

Every occupation also has a summary of the ‘Prospects’ for a young person entering the role in five years, as well as tabs with in-depth information on ‘How to Enter’, ‘Income + Jobs’, and ‘More Info’.

More advice on planning your career, as well as info on over 400 occupations, can be found on