How ANZSCO code changes could help low-skilled migrants get residency

What do the recent ANZSCO Code changes mean?

ANZSCO stands for the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations and it is key to the immigration systems of both Australia and New Zealand.  ANZSCO is used by Immigration New Zealand to determine whether a job is low, medium or high-skilled for work visa application; and whether a job is skilled for the purpose of residence.

The ANZSCO skill level attached to a job affects the work visa conditions a migrant is eligible for – and later on it also effects their chances of getting residency.

The classification system was designed between 2000 and 2006 by both the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Stats NZ. This is the first time changes have been made to how jobs are classified on the list.

The Australian government has recently  re-classified some low skilled jobs on the list which, both immigration systems use, but our government has announced they will be replacing this system all together in 2020.

Until then, New Zealand is going to continue to use the previous version of ANZSCO but not for every occupation. If your occupation is listed on the exceptions list, Immigration New Zealand will treat your occupation as if it were skill level 3, if your job pays above the New Zealand median income.


What occupations are on the ANZSCO Skill Level exceptions list?

Child Care Worker

Family Day Care Worker

Out of School Hours Care Worker

Teachers’ Aide

Child or Youth Residential Care Assistant

Refuge Worker

Beauty Therapist

Tour Guide

Travel Consultant

Civil Celebrant

Bungy Jump Master

Fishing Guide

Hunting Guide

Mountain or Glacier Guide

Outdoor Adventure Instructor

Trekking Guide

Whitewater Rafting Guide

Outdoor Adventure Guides


Bank Worker

Credit or Loans Officer

Industrial Spraypainter

Paper Products Machine Operator

Sawmilling Operator

Sewing Machinist

Footwear Production Machine Operator

Hide and Skin Processing Machine Operator

Knitting Machine Operator

Textile Dyeing and Finishing Machine Operator

Weaving Machine Operator

Yarn Carding and Spinning Machine Operator

Textile and Footwear Production Machine Operators

Crane, Hoist or Lift Operator

Paper and Pulp Mill Operator

Waste Water or Water Plant Operator

Logging Plant Operator

Paving Plant Operator

Train Driver

Construction Rigger

Personal Care Assistant

Diving Instructor (Open Water)

Import-Export Clerk

Insurance Investigator

Insurance Loss Adjuster


Why do the ANZSCO classifications seem confusing?

Our government recently announced ANZSCO would no longer to be used in work and residence visa applications from 2020.  This is still the case.  From 2020 the government will use the level of pay attached to a job to determine how skilled a role is for all visa applications.

Because Australia still uses the ANZSCO system they are updating it and New Zealand has chosen to apply some of the same changes but they will only apply until Immigration NZ’s next set of visa rule changes come into play in 2020 and the ANZSCO list is scrapped altogether.

The aged care sector and a long list of other professions – from beauty therapists to train drivers – have had their roles reclassified.  Those employed in low skilled jobs often find it hard to meet the criteria for a residents visa.  Those jobs that have been reclassified have moved up the ANZSCO list and qualify for extra points which gives some low skilled workers a realistic chance of getting permanent residency in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s ageing population means the demand for aged care workers is growing every year and industry estimates predict that 800-1000 new workers will be needed to service the industry in the next few years.

There is a window of opportunity, although small, that is great news for employers in industries that rely on migrant workers for the roles noted above.  However, it is important for employers of those on the exceptions list to act quickly to take advantage of the changes.

If you have questions about these changes or another immigration or visa issue, you can contact NZIL here.


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