Date posted: 13/02/2018 3 min read

Accountant added to skills shortage list

Recruiting from overseas just became a bit easier

In brief

  • Government agrees a skill gap exists in the accounting profession and is supporting employers to get the people they need.
  • Employers no longer need to go through the labour market process to prove they cannot find a New Zealander for the job.
  • The demand for accountants is projected to increase and migrant accountants are key to New Zealand’s future prosperity.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has completed its annual review of two of Immigration New Zealand’s Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) Lists – the Long Term Skill Shortage List (LTSSL) and the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL). We successfully advocated for ‘accountant’ to be added to the ISSL.

The ISSL identifies occupations that have an immediate shortage of skilled workers either throughout New Zealand or in certain regions. The regions included for accountants are Auckland/Upper North Island, Wellington, and Canterbury/Upper South Island regions.  

Advocacy work

Take a look at our submission

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Recruiting accountants from overseas easier 

From 19 February 2018, overseas work visa applications for accountants from employers located in specific regions will be exempt from the individual labour market test. A labour market test is where an employer demonstrates that no suitable New Zealander is available to fill or be trained for a position.

The test can be an onerous process, often acting as a barrier to smaller firms wishing to recruit from offshore. 

Eligible migrants wishing to work as accountants in New Zealand must still meet the ISSL criteria for overseas accountants prior to being considered for a work visa under the Essential Skills instructions.

Employ migrants

Employers wanting to recruit from overseas are encouraged to visit the Immigration New Zealand website

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Application requirements

The ISSL criteria for overseas accountants is:

  • A qualification at NZQF Level 7 or higher, with a letter from Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand or CPA Australia certifying that the degree and any further learning meet the benchmark requirements towards CA ANZ professional status in New Zealand or CPA Australia membership; and
  • A minimum of three years’ relevant post-qualification work experience.

Evidence suggests that there is a shortage of highly skilled and experienced accountants, as opposed to accounting graduates. This is probably because, once qualified, many accountants leave New Zealand to work overseas or move out of the profession into other roles such as project management. 

The requirement for three years’ post-qualification work experience ensures that applicants have the skills and experience in short supply, while New Zealand graduates get first opportunity for entry level positions.  

More information

The changes are detailed on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Read more

Next review

The Ministry regularly reviews the ESID lists to ensure that they meet the changing needs of the labour market, and to safeguard opportunities for New Zealanders. 

The next ESID review is expected to commence in April 2018.