Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.
If you are offered a job which appears on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the Government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills. But if your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and resident visa options.
You’ll find lots of engineering jobs on the lists. Skills sought as at mid 2015 include:
chemical engineer (also known as Process Engineers here)
engineers: civil, construction, electrical, electronics, environmental, geotechnical, industrial, instrument and electrical, materials, mechanical, mining, petroleum, production, structural and transport specialities
draughtspersons: civil, electrical and mechanical
technicians: civil, electrical and electronic.
Infrastructure projects for civil engineers
Government investment in infrastructure is creating great job opportunities for people working in various aspects of the engineering industry. Among other spending, the government has committed to a long-term National Infrastructure Plan covering transport, telecommunications, energy and water.
Over the next ten years, approximately $110 billion is forecast to be spent on infrastructure under this Plan including a $13.9 billion land transport programme between 2015 and 2018.
Over the past seven years, the government has:
Added over $46 billion of property, plant and equipment to its balance sheet.
Spent $1.8 billion on local infrastructure.
Spent $2.2 billion on government assets for the Christchurch rebuild.
Spent over $1.7 billion in a roll out of ultra-fast broadband.
Spent $400 million for a rural broadband initiative.
Other drivers include new government policy focusing on environmental sustainability, and local government legislation emphasising higher standards in environmental practice and public health in engineering.
Building Infrastructure | New Zealand Government (PDF 1730KB)
Civil and Structural engineers
There is a real need in Christchurch for Structural and Civil engineers to assist with the rebuild. Structural engineers are required to check the safety of existing buildings, while civil engineers of all specialisations will be needed to help with various aspects of the rebuilding.
Chemical and Process engineers
Though the number of chemical engineers has remained steady since 2008, employers find it hard to find skilled workers, because demand for chemical engineers is strong worldwide.
People who specialise in petroleum engineering are particularly in demand, as significant further growth in the oil exploration, mining and processing industry (especially in Taranaki, on the North Island’s west coast) is expected, both within the industry and throughout its supply chain.
Two factors are driving demand for electrical engineers. One is increased Government spending on electricity infrastructure. In the 2011 Budget, the Government confirmed it would be spending $3.8 billion on upgrading the national grid until 2015.
Another is the public demand for more sustainable electricity sources. Electricity demand is expected to grow by between 1% and 2% a year in the next 20 years, and power companies are exploring options such as wind power, solar power and wave power to help meet this.
One of the largest employers is Solid Energy, a state-owned enterprise that produces more than 80% of the 5 million tonnes of coal mined annually.
Engineers in New Zealand don’t need to be registered by law, but doing so may greatly help you get a job. In some cases you might need to work in NZ in order to meet the requirements. If this is the case, and you have a suitable job offer, you can apply for a work visa.