Please be aware that as of 16 November 2019, the Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa has been replaced by a new Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa. The Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa has also been replaced by a new Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa. These new visas have a five-year term and provide a pathway to permanent residence with a new Subclass 191 Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa, which will be introduced from 16 November 2022.

Applications under the Second Provisional Visa stream of the Subclass 489 visa continue to be accepted. To qualify under this stream, you must hold a subclass 475, 487, 495 or 496 visa at time of lodgement of your application. Be aware that these visa subclasses are no longer being granted by the Department of Home Affairs.

The changes also do not affect the Subclass 887 Skilled (Regional) visa permanent residence visa pathway, which continues to be available to eligible subclass 489 visa holders.

These changes only affect the Direct Entry visa stream under the subclass 187 visa programme. Applications remain open to eligible Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) and Subclass 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visa holders under the Temporary Residence Transition Stream (TRTS).

For further information about these changes, please see the following articles:

New Skilled Regional Visas to be introduced

Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa

Further Regulations released for the new regional sponsored visas to commence from 16 November 2019

Do I need a skills assessment?

Some skilled visas require you to have a positive Skills Assessment before you are eligible to lodge either an invitation to apply for the visa, or to apply for the visa itself (this varies depending on which visa class you apply under). There are also specific requirements relating to the date of issue of the Skills Assessment, and who can assess your skills. It is vital that you are fully informed about these requirements and to ensure that you meet them before submitting your application. Otherwise, you risk having your application refused.

In this article, we provide an overview of the skills assessment requirements for the skilled visa class. Note that this is an introduction only designed to help guide you in the visa application process. Therefore, we recommend that you make the proper further enquires to ensure that you are fully compliant with all requirements and thereby give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome.

What is a skills assessment?

When you apply for a skilled visa, you must nominate a skilled occupation from a list of eligible occupations specifically applicable to the visa class which you are applying for. In some cases, you will be required to have your skills assessed as a requirement to apply.

A Skills Assessment is an independent review of your skills, qualifications and employment experience confirming whether you are suitable for your nominated occupation and which must be carried out by a specified assessing authority. Examples of skills assessing authorities include Engineers Australia, Trades Recognition Australia, VETASSESS and the Australian Computing Society.

Each assessing authority will specify its own requirements as to what it deems as being suitably qualified to carry out the occupation at the required skill level. This assessment is primary based on your qualifications and employment experience. Some skills authorities will also require you to complete written narratives on certain topics related to your occupation or to complete a test. English language requirements may also differ to Immigration requirements, in which case you will need to attain the specified minimum results that apply to the skills assessment if these are at a higher level than what is required for the visa.

The skills assessment will also expire after a certain period, being either 3 years from the date of issue, or on a date earlier if specified in the skills assessment.

If you are applying for a Skilled (Independent), a Skilled (Nominated) visa or a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (i.e. a subclass 189, 190 or 489 visa), a positive skills assessment will need to have been issued on or before the date when you receive an invitation to apply for the visa.

Note also that for some occupations, registration or licensing to practice in Australia may be specified as being a suitable skills assessment for visa application purposes. For example, a legal practicing certificate for a solicitor/barrister, or a medical registration as a doctor.

When is a skills assessment required?

The following skilled visas require skills assessments:

  • Skilled (Independent) – subclass 189 visa
  • Skilled (Nominated) – subclass 190 visa
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) – subclass 489 visa
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) – subclass 186 and 187 visas, if applying under the Direct Entry stream. Please note that Immigration can request you to provide a skills assessment if you apply under the Temporary Residence Transition stream
  • Temporary Skills Shortage – subclass 482 visa, a skills assessment will only be required if specified for the nominated occupation. Please note that Immigration can request you to provide a skills assessment even if not specified as being required for your nominated occupation.

Finally, we note that each skill assessing authority will specify its own processing times and fees for completing the skills assessment. It is important that you check this information well in advance of submitting your application to ensure that you allow enough time to comply with any deadlines that apply to you (for example, you may have a pending visa expiry). Some authorities also offer a fast-track service with payment of an additional processing fee. Ensuring that you provide all required information and documents upon lodgement of the skills assessment application will help to ensure that you avoid any delays in the process, which can take a number of months to complete.

Given the highly complex nature of the migration laws, and the fact that every individual case is different, we recommend that you engage a registered migration agent as they will be able to provide you with detailed advice about what will be required for you to comply with the skills assessment requirements for your nominated occupation, and also advise about the information and documents which you will need to supply for the skills assessment application. This will enable you to be fully informed before you lodge with the Department and avoid a potential visa refusal or unnecessary processing delays. Your agent may also prepare the skills assessment on your behalf. Contact us today to book your consultation with an expert in skills assessments and skilled migration in Australia.