New Zealand has a massive job shortage in this one area – and South Africans can help

 ·21 May 2019

New Zealand has published its updated Essential Skills in Demand (ESID) lists for 2019, highlighting the jobs that foreigners could help fill.

The country currently has three different lists  – long term, immediate and regional – that records the skill shortages it faces.

If a job is on a list, a New Zealand business can apply for a visa for a qualified worker from overseas.

Statistics provided to BusinessTech by Stats NZ at the end of 2018 showed that the number of permanent South African arrivals has steadily increased over the past 15 years.

Historically these South Africans have entered the country on residence and work visas, with just under 3,000 South Africans entering the country on a work visa in 2018.


As part of a review of its Regional Skill Shortage List (RSSL), New Zealand Immigration said that it is looking for early childhood, primary school, and secondary school teachers across all regions.

New Zealand has continued to face a teacher shortage in recent years, with the government announcing that it would set aside $95 million to train up new teachers earlier this month.

However, critics argued that the sum is a mere ‘band-aid’ that would barely cover mandatory costs.

While the New Zealand government has confirmed that it will continue to implement a number of incentives to encourage more local teachers, in the short-term it has turned to overseas recruitment.

In November 2018, New Zealand education minister Chris Hipkins said that he would target countries with teaching qualifications that are similar to New Zealand, including the UK, Ireland Canada, South Africa, Australia and Fiji.


According to information supplied by New Zealand’s Department of Education, base primary teacher salaries range from $47,980 to $71,891 (R450,279 – R674,677) for someone with a teaching degree.

This can rise to $49,588 to $75,949 (R465,369 – R712,760) for a trained teacher with a subject degree, for example a BSc.

Base secondary teacher salaries range from $47,000 to $78,000 (R441,082 – R732,008), depending on the qualification they hold.

Primary and secondary teachers also receive extra remuneration in the form of units for taking on extra responsibilities.

While New Zealand has a higher cost of living than South Africa, teacher salaries still compare favourably.

Teacher salaries in South Africa vary greatly depending on where they teach, at what level and whether the school is private or public and what qualifications they have.

For teachers in the public sector, salaries are scaled, with the minimum a low-level teacher can earn being around R110,000 a year, ramping up to over R900,000 for principals and heads of department.

Using data from salary database PayScale, the salary range for primary school teachers in South Africa is between R80,000 and R275,000 with the median sitting at R177,500.

For high school teachers, pay increases, ranging between R120,000 and R300,000, with the median sitting at R200,000.

Overall (taking both primary and high school into account), the median salary sits at about R188,000 a year – or just over R15,600 a month.

Read: More South Africans are applying for these ‘green’ and ‘gold’ visa programmes

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