What is ANZSCO?

A common term for many people who wish to apply for a work or resident visa is ANZSCO. Both work and resident visa forms ask for things like the ANZSCO code and ANZSCO occupation. The term ANZSCO stands for Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations. Simply put it is a database of occupations. It classes occupations into groups of occupations and into skill levels.

Each major group of occupations consists of a sub-major group, minor group, unit group, and occupation. The most detailed level of the classification is an occupation. Each occupation has a 6 digit code, e.g. 131112 Sales and Marketing Manager. A set of similar occupations form a unit group, e.g. 1311 Advertising, Public Relations and Sales Managers.

Each unit group has a description of the purpose of the occupations. Then a summary of the main activities of occupations that form part of that unit group follows. Lastly, it has a detailed list of tasks and responsibilities that generally apply to all or most of the occupations in that unit group.

Occupations and skill levels in ANZSCO

ANZSCO classes occupations into different skill levels. There are 5 different levels, where skill level 1 is the highest level and skill level 5 the lowest. Skill level 1 has Manager and professional roles in certain industries. Managers in Retail and Accommodation as well as professionals in health and social welfare, among others, are skill level 2. The next skill level, skill level 3, is for Technicians and Trade Workers.
Skill level 4 and 5 represent the lower skilled occupations. Level 4 holds carers, clerks, and receptionist as well as some roles in the transport industry and manufacturing. The lowest skill level, skill level 5, is for farm workers, cleaners, forestry workers and some others.

Work experience and qualifications

For each skill level, ANZSCO outlines the level of relevant formal qualification that you need.  Some occupations require a higher level of education than others. It also outlines the amount of relevant work experience and/or on-the-job training that may substitute the qualification listed.

Some examples:

  • A Mechanical Engineer is a skill level 1 occupation. You need a Bachelor or higher degree or 5 years of relevant work experience.
  • A Secretary is a skill level 3 occupation and requires an NZ diploma or three years of work experience.
  • A Farm Worker is a skill level 5 occupation. Secondary education and in some cases a short period of on the job training is required.

ANZSCO skill level – It’s not about you!

ANZSCO does not measure the skill level of an individual. It refers to the level of skill that someone needs to competently perform the tasks of an occupation.

Skill level is an attribute of occupations. It is not an attribute of individuals. For example, a person who spreads mortar and lays bricks for a living is a  Bricklayer. This is a skill level 3 occupation in ANZSCO. The skill level is always 3. It does not matter if this person is an exceptionally competent or an inexperienced bricklayer.

Assessing a visa application

When Immigration New Zealand looks at a work or resident visa application that is based on a job offer, they will compare the job description of the applicant with the list of tasks and responsibilities listed with the ANZSCO occupation code that was chosen.

If you want to know if your job description matches an ANZSCO occupation, you compare your job against the ANZSCO description of an occupation. You choose the occupations that you think fits best. Then you determine whether you are suitably qualified by training and/or experience to perform that job.

Correlation between ANZSCO and skilled job-based visas

Immigration New Zealand uses ANZSCO to see if you are eligible for a visa based on their job offer. The skill level of your job becomes a key factor in the assessment of these visa applications.

Essential Skills work visa

For Essential Skills Work Visas, different rules apply for each skill level. Depending on the skill level and the level of remuneration of the job:

  • Mid-skill visa: skill level 1, 2, and 3 occupations that meet the mid-skill hourly rate threshold  get a 3-year work visa
  • Low-skill visa: skill level 4 and 5 occupations get a 1-year work visa
  • Low-skill visa: skill level 1, 2 and 3 occupations with an income below the hourly rate threshold get a 1-year work visa
  • High-skill visa: all skill levels with an income above the high-skill hourly rate threshold get a 5-year visa

The skill level of your job and the remuneration determine the length of your visa. More importantly, they also determine if you may bring your family or not. People on low-skill visas can’t support the applications of their family. In addition, they can only apply for a new work visa 3 times. After three 1-year work visas, they must leave New Zealand for at least 1 year.

Even people on mid-skill visas can’t always support their children. They must meet (yet another) income threshold.

Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) resident visa

You need a job (or a job offer) that is “skilled” if you want to apply for an SMC resident visa. This means it must be a skill level 1, 2 or 3 job AND pay at least $25 per hour. Or, you need or skill level 4 or 5 with an hourly rate of $37.50 or more. These rates are current in May 2019. The rates change every November.

Similar rules apply for work experience. This must also be “skilled”. The tasks and responsibilities of your previous job (s) determine if it is skilled. If work experience is not skilled it does not qualify for points.

How can we help

For job-based visa applications, it is important that you know the skill level of your job offer and the most suitable ANZSCO code. It may have serious consequences if you choose the wrong code. Or even worse, if your work experience or the job you are offered is not skilled. This can have a huge effect on what type of visa you may be able to apply for. Or whether you can support your family. And if you qualify for a resident visa now or in the future.

For a detailed assessment and advice on skilled job-based visas, contact us today

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    Immigration consultant New Zealand

    Feija van Bokhoven is the Managing Director of Experienz Immigration as well as a Licensed Immigration Adviser (IAA license # 201300693). In this capacity, she has helped numerous clients obtain a visa for New Zealand and helped them fulfill their dream of living in New Zealand.