Proving the position still meets the labour market test

The basic rule for many of our work visa categories is that no New Zealanders are available for, or could be retrained to do, the work and that the employer has made genuine efforts to recruit New Zealanders. A picture has started to emerge of tougher labour market test for essential skills and skilled migrant residence applicants. With high levels of unemployment, the labour market test will be tighter. Employers of applicants for essential skill visas applicants who applied pre-Covid19 are now routinely being asked to show that the position still means the labour market test.

INZ may now ask employers to provide further evidence to show that, at the time the application is assessed:

  • the availability of New Zealanders to undertake the work remains unchanged, and
  • the employment offer is still valid and the employment is sustainable.

Employers won’t need to necessarily re-advertise the vacancy, however there may be a requirement to provide any further information about why no New Zealanders are available for the role now. This may include evidence of ongoing recruitment of New Zealanders by the employer for similar roles, or evidence that the employment is so specialised or skilled that suitable New Zealanders continue to be unavailable.

Employers do not need to proactively contact INZ to provide this information; INZ will request it at the time the application is assessed.

Employers wanting to employ overseas workers for ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5 occupations are required to provide Skills Match Reports and advice from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). This requires employers to work with MSD to place New Zealand jobseekers into the role before offering employment to migrant workers.

Proving the position is still financially sustainable

Employers must show that the employment offered is financially sustainable. As at June 2020 we have seen a number of letters to employers asking them if they have made other staff redundant. If they have done so then unless there is a very good explanation it is likely that immigration New Zealand may find that the employment of a migrant is not sustainable. Most of these requests are being made on 7 days turnaround which made be inadequate. Employers are encouraged to contact our office for advice and if necessary a request to extend the timeframe.

The vexed issue of whether accepting the Covid 19 subsidy will count against an employer is still unclear. To date we have not seen whether the employer has accepted the 1st round of the subsidy being asked routinely.

A concerning development is that immigration New Zealand to seven-day for employers to respond to potentially prejudicial information turnarounds. Where an employer knows that advertising will be an issue we would devise them to proactively advertise in advance.

Note: This information was up-to-date as of 24 June 2020 but may change at short notice. Further updates can checked at
The above is general information only. Every case is different. For advice in your case we encourage you to contact us

Contact us for an appraisal

Clients need to be realistic about expectations and timeframes at this time but with the right information, we can confidently assess your case and give a realistic appraisal contact us for an assessment of your case.  Please note that initial appraisals will be online and we may need further details from you.