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Border Class Exception for 600 Specialist Tech Workers



On Monday 13th December the Government announced it is releasing 600 Border Class Exceptions for Specialist Tech Workers.

NZTech has been working with MBIE, NZTE, Callaghan Innovation and IT Professionals as part of the Digital Technology Industry Transformation Plan (DITP) to highlight the growing skills shortages for the digital tech sector (and how it is overflowing into the rest of the economy) due to current border closures.  Our research has been able to identify that the critical skills shortages are for senior/experienced people across a range of ICT roles.

This has led to the creation of this special Class Exception.  Work is now underway to deploy this class exception within the first quarter of 2022.


Cabinet approved the following criteria for an organisation wishing to apply:

They have employed someone in a role from the list of identified roles in short supply:

  • Software and Application Programmers (ANZSCO 2613 and related synonyms)
  • ICT Managers (ANZSCO 1351 and related synonyms)
  • ICT Security Specialist (ANZSCO 2621 and related synonyms)
  • Multimedia Specialists (ANZSCO 2612 and related synonyms)

The salary must be over a particular threshold as a proxy for senior/experienced:

  • NZ$120,000 pa for Software and Application Programmers, ICT Managers and ICT Security Specialists
  • NZ$95,000 for Multimedia Specialists

As part of our proposal, we are also recommending other criteria, including:

The applicant showing it is actively working to help develop the domestic pipeline: Evidence the applicant is engaged with a programme that supports domestic skills growth (e.g. TEC Inspiring the Future Programme, IT Professionals NZ’s TechHub or 123Tech programmes, Shadowtech, Summer of Tech Intern Programme)

The applicant showing the applying firm is supporting the tech ecosystem: Evidence the applicant is supporting the tech sector ecosystem by being an active member of a relevant industry body, for example, NZTech, AgriTechNZ, AI Forum, NZRise, IT Professionals NZ.


NZTech and IT Professionals are collaborating with MBIE to help put the process in place. It is expected that the system for applications will be set up early 2022. Employers will then make an application via NZTech or IT Professionals who will assess it against agreed criteria. If over-subscribed, a ballot process may be applied.

Immigration NZ will be advised of those applicants recommended for a class exception.

If you are awarded a class exception you can apply to Immigration NZ who will take the Industry class exception recommendations into account. An “invitation to apply” will then be sent to both the employer and potential employee. The employee must then submit an online request to travel and provide supporting information such as an employment agreement.

Further information

Employer EOI

NZTech We connect, promote and advance the New Zealand Technology ecosystem to help the tech sector and the economy grow.