ANZSCO Policy UpdateChanges Announced 17th September 2019

Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Bureau of Statistics have completed a ‘refresh’ of the ANZSCO and includes changing the skill level of some occupations. This will be published on the ABS website from 5 November. For assessment purposes, INZ will not use the updated version of the ANZSCO until mid-2020; they will continue to use version 1.2.

However, occupations that have been ‘upgraded,’ i.e. have changed from skill level 4 or 5 to skill level 1-3 in the new version, will be treated as exceptions. For these occupations, they will be treated as if they are skill level 1-3 immediately, provided the role pays at least the New Zealand median income.

Why continue to use ANZSCO version 1.2?

From mid-2020, ANZSCO will no longer be used to determine the skill level of employment for Essential Skills Work Visa applications. Instead, INZ will use a simple remuneration threshold attached to the median wage. More information about this change can be found here. To provide stability to applicants and employers while the system transitions, INZ is continuing to use version 1.2.

Once the ANZSCO website is updated, you can find the previous version in the ‘Past & Future releases’ part of the website. All the links on the INZ website will be changed to direct users to version 1.2.


Why make exceptions to ANZSCO version 1.2 for some occupations?

There are some occupations that would have benefitted from the new version of ANZSCO because the skill level of the occupation has been upgraded from 4 or 5 to 1-3. Treating these occupations as exceptions allows people in these roles to get the benefit of the higher skill level, provided they are paid at least the New Zealand median income.

Why do occupations on the exception list only get treated as skilled if they are paid the median income?

From mid-2020, the use of ANZSCO in assessment of skill bands under Essential Skills will be removed, and only roles that are paid above the median income will get the benefits associated with being mid or higher-skilled under the current instructions.

If the new ANZSCO version had been adopted, the occupations that have been ‘upgraded’ would have been considered mid-skilled under Essential Skills (provided they were paid at least 85% of the median income). However, for roles paid less than the median wage, these would have gone back to being treated as lower-skilled from mid-2020.

Only recognising these occupations as skilled where they pay at or above the median income prevents occupations from being treated as lower-skilled, then skilled, then lower-skilled again in a relatively short period. It only recognises the increase in skill level where the role will continue to be treated as skilled after the changes in mid-2020.

Note: The median income is currently $25.00/hour ($52,000 for a 40 hour week) but will shortly increase to $25.50 ($53,040 for a 40 hour week).

Which occupations are treated as an exception?

The occupations treated as an exception will be available in Appendix 7 of the Operational Manual. They are listed below for reference. All occupations listed should be treated as ANZSCO skill level 1-3 and therefore may be eligible for points for skilled employment under the Skilled Migrant Category or be assessed as mid-skilled under Essential Skills provided the applicant earns at least the New Zealand median income.


What happens to applications already in process?

For Essential Skills applications, the occupations treated as an exception can be recognised as skill level 1-3 immediately, provided the role pays at least the current median income, even if the application was submitted before this change.

There will not be any Skilled Migrant Category applications on hand that are affected by these changes, as occupations that were previously at skill level 4 or 5 would not have been eligible for points for skilled employment.

What does this mean for visa applicants?

If you already hold a work visa, the skill level of your job will remain the same for the duration of your visa.

If you apply for any visa before mid-2020, and your occupation is not listed on the exceptions list, INZ will use ANZSCO Version 1.2 to assess your visa application.

If your occupation is listed on the exceptions list, they will:

  • treat your occupation as if it were skill level 3, if your job pays above the New Zealand median income; or
  • use ANZSCO Version 1.2 to assess your application, if your job pays below the New Zealand median income.


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