Claiming Points for Work Experience

This guidance is currently being updated to reflect new visa rules issued by New Zealand Immigration. Please contact us if you are looking for expert advice on your eligibility for a New Zealand work visa.

You can claim points for work experience you have undertaken in the past as part of your expression of interest for the skilled migrant category resident visa (note: this is different from claiming points for skilled employment, which refers to your current job offer in New Zealand or current employment in New Zealand)

Skilled work experience qualifies for points as set out below:

Points are calculated on the basis of every two complete years of skilled work experience up to a maximum of ten years e.g. Three years of skilled work experience qualifies for 10 points.

How is Skilled Work Experience Recognised?

An applicants work experience can be in:

In other words, if someone is claiming points for past work experience that “substantially matches” with an occupation that is skill level 1, 2, or 3 according to ANZSCO, then it won’t need to be from the same occupation from which the person is claiming points for their current job/job offer (i.e. Skilled Employment).

All that needs to be shown is

  1. The past work experience “substantially matches” a corresponding ANZSCO code under skill level 1,2, or 3 and;
  2. The person was “suitably qualified” before they were employed to do that job

What does ‘substantial match’ to an ANZCO occupation mean?

Essentially, the work experience must display the characteristics of an occupation in terms of the relevant ANZCO ‘Unit Group’ description of tasks for that role. You can view a range of ANZCO occupations and their task descriptions here.

What does it mean to be ‘suitably qualified’?

An applicant will be assessed as suitably qualified if they hold a relevant qualification as specified in the ANZSCO for that occupation (i.e. bachelors degree, certificate etc).

Alternatively, if this is not the case, a person may be identified as ‘suitably qualified’ due to prior work experience. The work experience must be relevant and required.

Required qualifications or experience can be understood by observing the below table

Relevant means the applicants qualification and/or work experience was one of the main reasons for you to get the job in the first place or qualification and/or work experience was directly applicable to the current job

Case Study Example

Additional Information to Be Aware Of

  • Work experience only qualifies for points if an immigration officer is satisfied that the principal applicant’s work experience was lawfully obtained.
  • Work experience will not be recognised if it was gained while in a country where the principal applicant was either an unlawful resident or required authority to undertake employment, but did not have such authority.
  • Calculation of levels of work experience must be for complete weeks based on a 30-hour week.
  • Credit is given for 30-hour weeks only, even though a principal applicant has worked more than 30 hours in any week.
    • For example: Fifty-two 60-hour weeks are equal to one year’s work experience.
  • Credit for part-time work experience may be given on a proportional basis.
    • For example: Four years work experience for 15 hours per week is equal to two years work experience for a 30-hour week, and therefore qualifies for 10 points.

Bonus Points

You may claim up to 10 bonus points if: you have work experience in New Zealand of one year or more

You may claim another 10 bonus points if: you have work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage  for 2-5 years

You may claim up to 15 bonus points if: you have work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage  for 6 years or more

What countries can I claim work experience from?

You can claim skilled employment points for work  obtained in a ‘comparable labour market’; unless it features on an Essential Skills in Demand List, and you meet its requirements.

For INZ, the following countries constitute a labour market comparable to New Zealand:

Australia Greece Macau South Africa
Austria Hong Kong Malta South Korea
Belgium Hungary Malaysia Spain
Canada Iceland New Zealand Sweden
Cyprus Ireland Netherlands Switzerland
Czech Republic Israel Norway Taiwan
Denmark Italy Poland United Kingdom
Estonia Japan Portugal United States
Finland Latvia Singapore
France Lithuania Slovak Republic
Germany Luxembourg Slovenia

For other requirements to apply for Expression of Interest (such as health, character and english language requirements) in detail, view our guide to applying for the skilled migrant category resident visa. 

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