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ANZSCO Codes Explained - Roughly

Updated: Jun 23, 2019

The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations is a database intended to cover most types of work, and to collect work statistics to better inform migrants of what kind of employment they can undertake.


ANZSCO is used regularly to match an applicant's employment offer or work experience with the closest match possible in Australia and New Zealand. For instance, a mechanic from South Africa probably won't have a mechanic's trade qualification from New Zealand, and so may need to have their qualification assessed by NZQA (another topic, for another blog post). If NZQA determine that their qualification is a substantial match to a New Zealand mechanic's trade qualification (i.e. its core content is similar enough), or INZ determine that their level of experience is similar enough, then they are deemed to be a "substantial match" for that occupation per the ANZSCO rules.


Qualifications aren't always necessary to meet ANZSCO rules, and may be substituted by suitable work experience. What is suitable will depend on the circumstances and current immigration/employment policy. A doctor or lawyer however, will not meet the ANZSCO rules if they do not hold equivalent qualifications in their field, but a marketing manager or painter may qualify based on their work experience, and so a qualification may not be necessary in those circumstances.


ANZSCO jobs come under 5 levels. Levels 4 and 5 are considered low-skilled. This can include manual labour, aged care, and other fields that don't require much in the way of education or work experience. Migrants wanting to find work in a low-skilled job may struggle, as INZ rules are tighter - it is assumed that there will be Kiwis available to take up low-skilled work. Employers then need to advertise broadly and genuinely, and hire a Kiwi if one is suitable. If no Kiwi workers are suitable or available, then they may hire a foreign worker.


Level 3 is considered mid-skilled. Carpenters fall under this level, as do hair dressers. This reflects the level of training and education they have undertaken, as well as their remuneration.


Levels 2 an 1 are considered high-skilled. Doctors, lawyers, managers and other similar work fall under levels 2 and 1. These types of work may require a bachelors degree or higher, or a suitable amount of work experience.


Levels of remuneration are taken into account when assessing particular jobs. For example, applicants with Talent (Accredited Employer) work visas must earn at least $55,000.00 per annum (as of 23 June 2019, but that is set to change).


Occupations listed on the Long Term Skill Shortage List have are generally considered to have fewer suitable local applicants, and the strict advertising requirements applied to low-skilled work may not apply. These types of jobs are ideal for candidates wishing to work and live in New Zealand. Construction related work is high on different skill shortage lists, as are dairy farmers.


These rules together are important when assessing an Essential Skills Work visa, Long Term Skill Shortage List work visa, residency under the Skilled Migrant Category and with other visas. Applicants must show that their experience and training substantially matches with the job offer they have been given - the fact that they've been hired by someone in that field is not enough, and their remuneration must be commensurate with what is expected under their ANZSCO listing. This is a major area of work for Immigration Advisers who need to advocate on a client's behalf, to demonstrate to INZ that their work experience and qualifications are in fact a substantial match, and as such their visas should be granted.


INZ may decline a visa if they suspect that a substantial match doesn't exist. These decisions are open to appeal, where a new case officer with a fresh set of eyes will examine the application, and will communicate with an Immigration Adviser to and secure a visa for their client. Applications may also be declined if an applicant incorrectly claims they fall under the separate short list requirements (which are separate from ANZSCO requirements.


The information provided here is of a general nature only, and is not intended to amount to legal or immigration advice.

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