Skilled visa applications: What is skilled work experience?

A visa application that is submitted under Australia’s general skilled migration program is subject to a points test.

Within this test points are available for skilled work experience both outside Australia, and in Australia.

Department of Immigration policy in this regard advises: “The awarding of points for skilled employment factors recognises the benefits of extensive work experience in a nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation in providing for successful labour market outcomes.

Relevant Australian and overseas skilled employment in the 10 year period immediately before the date the applicant was invited to apply for this visa can be considered for the purpose of awarding points.

Periods of employment do not have to be continuous as it is the aggregated period of relevant employment experience that will be considered. Therefore, applicants can be eligible for points if their relevant skilled employment is interspersed by periods of non-related employment or other activities such as study.

For example, if prior to applying for their points tested skilled migration visa an applicant whose nominated skilled occupation is Accountant works for 2 years as an Accountant, then undertakes postgraduate studies for 2 years, then works as an IT consultant for 2 years, then works as an Accountant for a further 3 years, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years employment experience as an Accountant (if the applicant’s relevant employment took place in the 10 years immediately before the time when the applicant was invited to apply for the visa).

Applicants may also be eligible for points for the employment factor if they have both Australian and overseas skilled employment experience.

For example, if prior to applying for their points tested skilled migration visa an applicant whose nominated occupation is assessed as a registered nurse works overseas for 5 years as a registered nurse then works in Australia on a temporary employment visa for 3 years as a registered nurse, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years’ overseas employment as well as their 3 years’ Australian employment experience.

However, it is not possible for applicants to combine shorter periods of skilled employment gained while working in and outside Australia in order to meet one of the Australian or overseas skilled employment experience factors. For example, an applicant cannot claim 3 years’ Australian employment by adding together 6 months’ overseas employment experience and 30 months’ Australian employment experience.”

Employment is defined in the Migration Regulations for the purpose of the skilled visa points test to mean “engaged in an occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours a week.”

For employment to be awarded points it should meet the following standards:

> Has been undertaken at the required standard after the applicant met the entry level requirements as set by the relevant assessing authority for that occupation (that is, completed a sufficient level of study and or amount of on-the-job training and or post-qualification work experience and or registration requirement),

> Has involved duties at the level of depth and complexity expected in Australia.

Where the relevant skills assessing authority has not provided an opinion on skilled employment and there are no standards set by the relevant assessing authority available publicly, Department of Immigration decision makers are required to refer to guidance in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) when assessing skilled employment claims.

So when does a person first become skilled?

Department of Immigration policy provides further commentary:

“An applicant is considered skilled for the purpose of obtaining skilled employment points from the date the relevant assessing authority assessed them as suitable in their nominated skilled occupation:

* If a skills assessment provides a date at which the assessing authority is of the view that the applicant became suitably skilled for awarding employment points, the department will consider only employment undertaken from that date as meeting the skilled employment experience criteria in Schedule 6D. For example, if an applicant has obtained a skilled employment opinion from the Australian Computing Society (ACS), they should record in SkillSelect the periods of employment the ACS has determined are at the skilled level and eligible for being awarded points.

* The date on which an applicant becomes suitably skilled for employment experience points may be different from the date on which a relevant assessing authority assesses the person as suitable. For example, a relevant assessing authority may issue a suitable skills assessment on the basis of attainment of a tertiary qualification but may require a period of post qualification work experience before considering an applicant as suitably skilled for the purpose of employment points.

* If the applicant has made claims of skilled employment periods that are not considered by the assessing authority on the skills assessment, the department may refer to publicly available information set by the relevant assessing authority or ANZSCO in order to make a full assessment of the claims. This situation might arise if an applicant is claiming skills over a ten year period but the skills assessment states that it only assesses claims of work experience undertaken in the 5 years immediately prior to skills assessment.

For trade occupations for which licensing is mandatory to practise in Australia, a suitable skills assessment will either be a Migration Skills Assessment or an Offshore Trade Skills Technical Record (for certain countries and certain occupations).

To gain a licence to practise in Australia, applicants should undergo “gap training” in Australia that provides them with specific Australian knowledge such as:

> Australian requirements
> Occupational health and safety regulations
> Codes of practice and
> Other Australian standards.

Successful completion of gap training enables an applicant to acquire the relevant Certificate III trade qualification.

In these scenarios, applicants should be considered skilled from the date the relevant assessing authority (TRA or its contracted Registered Training Organisation) considers the person skilled and issues a suitable skill assessment, rather than the date that the Certificate III trade qualification is issued. This is because applicants will not be able to attain the Certificate III trade qualification until after they have migrated to Australia.”

Go Matilda Visas has significant years of experience in preparing and managing skilled visa applications.

If you have a skilled occupation, want to migrate to Australia, but are uncertain about what you can properly claim in respect of your skilled work experience, please contact us – complete the form on the right hand side of this page or telephone your nearest Go Matilda Visas office.

We’ll be pleased to help.

Our fees are fixed in amount, and are payable as an application progresses – or can be paid in interest free instalments if that better suits your personal cash flow.