Lists, Lists And More Lists

February 28, 2014
Paul Janssen

The immigration process is absolutely overflowing with lists. If there is one thing that public servants love to do, it is to create lists (and really bad promotional videos) for everything. And while these lists often serve as ‘tools of the trade’ to those in the know (like us), they can be a veritable straight jacket of red tape and confusion for the average ‘do it yourself’ migrant.

Amongst the myriad of lists available there are a few that cause people the most headaches, so I am going to explain the logic (where applicable) and purpose of these lists and hopefully dispel a few common myths along the way.

Let’s start with the most popular list – the Long Term Skill Shortage List (or LTSSL for short).

This list identifies occupations where there is a sustained and ongoing shortage of skilled workers across New Zealand. The list was designed to meet the demands of not only current labour market shortages but also bolster future economic and attempt to alleviate future shortages. The LTSSL tends to focus on specialist or technical occupations such as IT, Healthcare and Engineering.

This list basically does two things. If you have an offer of employment within one of the occupations on the list and meet the specific requirements of that list (word for word) then you can potentially apply for a Work to Resident Visa based on that offer. In this case the employer doesn’t need to prove to INZ that they have advertised for the role within the local labour market, otherwise known as a ‘labour market test’.

The second thing the LTSSL provides is additional or ‘bonus points’ for an applicant under the Skilled Migrant Resident Visa Category. If you hold qualifications or work experience in an occupation on the LTSSL and again meet the specific requirements of the list for that occupation, you may be able to add points to your Expression of Interest.

The biggest confusion with this list is that people assume you have to be in an occupation on the list to secure Residence which is simply untrue. These occupations are only a subset of what INZ considers skilled employment and you do not have to be in one of these occupations to claim points for an offer of skilled employment under the Skilled Migrant Category.

The other problem that many people face is claiming points for an occupation on this list when they actually don’t meet the specific requirements. To claim the bonus points that this list provides, you have to be an exact match for that specific occupation and this trips a lot of people up. If you are aiming to secure these bonus points, it’s essential that you understand the requirements of the list and are able to meet them exactly. Many a person has had their Expression of Interest rejected for claiming points on the LTSSL that they were never entitled to.

Our second contender is the Immediate Skill Shortage List (or ISSL for short).

This list identifies occupations that are in immediate or short term demand in New Zealand both nationally and within specific regions of New Zealand. It is designed to assist employers who periodically struggle to fill certain roles. Much like the LTSSL it contains a list of occupations and then specific qualifications or work experience requirements for each of those occupations and removes the need for employers to prove they have advertised for candidates within the local labour market to fill these roles. In our experience very few applicants meet the specific qualification or work experience requirements (which in some cases are outdated or too specific) and so whilst many believe this list will work for them, in reality it won’t.

There is also a separate version of this list specifically aimed at occupations within the Canterbury region to assist with the Christchurch rebuild, which is reviewed and updated separately to the ISSL.

Unlike the LTSSL, however, this list has absolutely nothing to do with Residence. Many occupations on the ISSL will never qualify for points under the Skilled Migrant Category. So if you secure a Work Visa in an occupation on the ISSL that doesn’t necessarily mean you will secure points for that job under the Skilled Migrant Category.

Next is the List of Skilled Occupations.

This is a list that isn’t easy to find on INZ’s website unless you know where to look for it of course. This is kind of like the ‘master list’ and covers around 24 pages of occupations that INZ consider to be skilled and worthy of the 50 points you might want to claim towards a Residence application.

The list is divided into separate sections starting with the most skilled at the top and working down to the less skilled. Those roles in the last part of the list carry certain conditions on salary and work experience. All of these roles are considered skilled by INZ and will give you the 50 points required for skilled employment.

Although it’s not quite that simple.

Each role on this list comes with specific tasks/duties and also specific previous work experience or qualification requirements. If you claim you are a Corporate General Manager by title but spend your eight hours a day making tea and club sandwiches, then that’s not going to fly. Similarly, if you have always worked as an Accountant but head to NZ and secure a job as the head of Neurosurgery at Middlemore Hospital that also won’t get you (or the patients) far.

There are of course many other lists such as the List of Qualifications Exempt from Assessment, the List of Occupations Treated as an Exception and there is also a list of people associated with Robert Mugabe (we won’t go there). The point is that it’s very easy for the average individual to get very lost in any one of them. And this normally results in applications being declined, money and time wasted and disappointment for all concerned (except possibly INZ).

Piecing together all of the lists, the requirements that are tagged on to them and then making sure you stack up against it all is something we do very well. Before you dive head first into these lists and the miles of red tape, consider whether you want to spend your time on these lists or perhaps tackle the more manageable ones like your groceries or laundry.

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