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Oversupply and Undersupply lists: what do they mean?

29 January 2021

The Oversupply and Undersupply Lists were first introduced in October 2020 by Ministry of Social Development (MSD). The objective was to streamline recruitment of NZers in jobs paid below the NZ median wage, so employers could see at a glance where there was a pool of NZers they could access and which roles they could go ahead and hire migrants for.

Oversupply List

There are a multitude of occupations in Retail and hospitality, Construction, Administration and Call Centre, and Manufacturing which can be filled by an available pool of NZ jobseekers, and these are on the Oversupply list. The full list can be found here.

For jobs on the oversupply list, a Skills Match Report (SMR) will not be issued by Work and Income (MSD) and employers can engage directly with MSD to recruit for these roles.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will consider the oversupply of NZ job seekers when assessing applications. It is unlikely to obtain an Essential Skills work visa based on employment in one of these roles if paid below the median wage. This list is not regionally based and applies nationwide.

Undersupply List

MSD has also published a list of occupations for which there is a recognised shortage of NZers. This list is region-specific.

For jobs on the undersupply list, a New Zealand employer who is recruiting for such positions, a SMR is not required, even if the pay rate offered for that particular occupation is below the New Zealand median wage. In saying that, a standard labour market test (advertising) still applies, meaning that New Zealand employers must make genuine attempts to recruit NZers in the first instance. The list can be found here.

Recent Changes to the Lists

The list of undersupplied jobs for the region of Queenstown, which includes towns such as Wanaka and Arrowtown, has recently been amended and is available for review here. The list of undersupplied jobs has been expanded and includes a variety of roles in the food, accommodation and tourism industries.

Roles in the Queenstown Lakes District are not oversupplied. If employers are hiring in this region, they don’t need to check the oversupply list. 

Jobs Not on Either List

If a job is not on either of these lists, and is paid below the NZ median wage, a SMR is still required along with advertising in order for a work visa to be granted.

Duration of Visas

The maximum duration for a visa granted for jobs paid below the median wage will be six months for the next 18 months, starting from 10 July 2020 to 10 January 2022, regardless of whether the jobs are on the Undersupply lists or not.

The maximum combined duration of all work visas in jobs paying below the median wage is three years at which time holders of this visa will be subject to a stand-down period of 12 months.


Going forward, it is very important for employers and applicants to be aware of the MSD lists, as they will have an impact on obtaining and supporting visas for lower-paid jobs. This is a temporary measure and it is important to keep abreast of changes that MSD may make to these lists in the coming months. As the labour market continues to react to the impacts of COVID-19, it will be interesting to see how INZ adapts policy to meet the changing needs of migrants and employers.

If you would like to better understand how the above could impact you,
reach out to us for a zero-obligation chat.

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