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 subclass you apply for). 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, including is a skill assessment required for a 482 visa and if so, when does a 482 visa require a skills assessment and what are the subclass 482 visa skills assessment exemptions that may apply.
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.
Let us begin our discussion by taking a look at what exactly is a skills assessment?
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 (referred to as a Skilled Occupation List). In some cases, you will be required to have your skills assessed as a requirement to apply. Even if not a mandatory requirement, the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) may request that you obtain a skills assessment.
A Skills Assessment is an independent review of your skills, qualifications and employment experience confirming whether you are suitable for your nominated occupation. It is carried out by a specified assessing authority for your occupation. Such an authority will assess whether your skills meet the professional standards that they have set to work in a relevant occupation in Australia. Each occupation has its own prescribed skill assessing authority from which you must obtain a skills assessment if required for your visa application. Each assessing authority has its own assessment procedures, timeframes and charges. Examples of skills assessing authorities include Engineers Australia, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA), VETASSESS and the Australian Computing Society (ACS).
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.
Note that a professional membership or registration is not deemed to be a skills assessment for this purpose. This would include, for example, membership of a professional body such as the Australian Institute of Management.
Different Types Of Skills Assessments
You need to ensure that you obtain the correct type of skills assessment (skills assessing authorities may issue more than one type of skills assessment). You must have a skills assessment that meets the requirements for the visa for which you are applying. Each assessing authority specifies its own criteria for the different types of skills assessments, set against their relevant professional standards.
For example, some assessing authorities offer a provisional skills assessment for recent graduates of Australian educational institutions who are applying for a Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa. A provisional skills assessment issued for this purpose is not a suitable skills assessment for a permanent residence skilled visa application. Why? Because temporary and permanent visa programs have different purposes, and therefore different standards for skills assessments.
The subclass 485 visa, for example, is aimed at assisting a graduate to gain skilled work experience in Australia. In contrast, a provisional or permanent visa is designed for an applicant who already has relevant skilled work experience in the relevant occupation. The standards for a skilled assessment for a provisional and permanent visa will therefore generally be at a higher level than they are for a temporary visa like the subclass 485 visa. So, unlike a full or permanent skills assessment, a Subclass 485 skills assessment does not require employment in the applicant’s occupation at the skilled level.
Therefore, you need to ensure that you obtain the correct type of skills assessment for the visa subclass which you are applying for.
Limited Validity Period
A skills assessment will also expire after a certain period, being either three years from the date of issue, or on a date earlier if specified in the skills assessment. Skills assessments that do not specify an expiry date are valid for three years from the date of the assessment.
Timing Of When You Must Obtain A Skills Assessment
If you are applying for a General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa (i.e. a subclass 189 Skilled (Independent), subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) or subclass 491 Skilled Regional (Provisional) 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. In this case, it is recommended that you apply for a skills assessment some time before you intend to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) application to ensure that you receive an outcome on the skills assessment before you are invited to apply for the visa.
On the other hand, if you are applying for a Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa under the direct entry stream, for example, you must have a valid skills assessment at time of application lodgement. This means you must apply to have your skills assessed before you apply for the visa.
Is a skill assessment required for a 482 visa? If you are subject to a mandatory subclass 482 skills assessment, you must have commenced or completed a 482 skills assessment within three years of applying for the TSS visa.
When Is A Skills Assessment Required?
The following skilled visas require skills assessments:
- Subclass 189 Skilled (Independent) visa (points-tested stream)
- Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) visa
- Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (provisional) visa
- Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa if you are 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 or Labour Agreement stream (i.e. a discretionary skills assessment can be requested where considered necessary to assess whether you have the required skills that are necessary to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation to which the position relates). Although according to immigration policy, as a general principle, discretionary skills assessments should only be requested where considered absolutely necessary
- Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa – a 482 skills assessment will only be required if specified for the nominated occupation, although a 482 visa skills assessment exemption applies in certain cases. Please note that Immigration can request you to provide a 482 skills assessment even if not specified as being required for your nominated occupation. This is explained further below.
You must also obtain a positive skills assessment if you are applying for a subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa under the Graduate Work stream.
General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visa
If you are applying for a subclass 189 (under the points-tested stream), 190 or 491 visa, you must lodge an EOI and await receipt of an invitation to apply for the relevant visa. In order to lodge a valid visa application, you must have obtained a positive skills assessment for your nominated occupation at time of invitation.
Ensure that you apply for the correct type of skills assessment for permanent migration. A skills assessment that is issued for a subclass 485 visa is not accepted for this purpose.
A skills assessment will be valid for three years from the date of issue, or on a date earlier if specified in the skills assessment. Skills assessments that do not specify an expiry date are valid for three years from the date of the assessment.
Additionally, if the skills assessment is made on the basis of a qualification obtained in Australia whilst you held a Student visa, the qualification must have been obtained as a result of studying a registered course.
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.
Skills Assessment Alternatives For Certain Occupations
As noted above, for some occupations, there are alternatives to obtaining a skills assessment. This applies to medical practitioners and solicitors, as follows:
Evidence of full registration is a suitable skills assessment for doctors. The following certificates issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are accepted as evidence of full registration by the Department:
- full/unconditional/general medical registration; or
- conditional specialist registration — this registration allows you to practise only in your particular speciality, with no further training or supervision requirements.
Evidence of admission to practice as a lawyer in the relevant Sate/Territory is a suitable skills assessment for a solicitor. This may be in the form of being admited to the relevant State or Territory Legal Admissions Authority, or to the Supreme Court of a state or territory.
Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) Visa
Applications made under the Direct Entry stream of the subclass 186 ENS visa require you to obtain a skills assessment for your nominated occupation on or before the date of application for the visa.
An exemption to this requirement applies to academic and science applicants, as well as subclass 444/461 workers.
The skills assessment is valid for three years from the date of issue if it does not specify an expiry date, or if the expiry date is for more than three years.
As outlined above for the GSM visa class, a skills assessment for a subclass 485 visa is not accepted for this purpose.
For applications made under either the temporary transition scheme or a labour agreement, a discretionary skills assessment can be requested by the Department if it is considered necessary to assess whether you have the required skills that are necessary to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation to which the position relates.
Subclass 482 TSS Visa
Mandatory Time Of Application Requirement For Certain Occupations
Does a 482 visa require a skills assessment? The answer is yes, in prescribed circumstances (unless an exemption applies).
Certain TSS primary visa applicants in all visa streams (i.e. short-term, medium-term or labour agreement stream) are required to demonstrate that they have commenced the 482 skills assessment process, or provide a 482 skills assessment where the relevant assessing authority has assessed the applicant’s skills as being suitable for the nominated occupation.
It is important to point out that where a subclass 482 skills assessment is required for a TSS visa (i.e. it is a mandatory requirement), this is a time of application criterion (i.e. in order to make a valid application for the visa, you must have commenced or completed a 482 skills assessment). The TSS visa application form asks primary applicants to provide a reference number for a subclass 482 skills assessment where they have commenced or completed an assessment, or explain why they believe they are exempt from this requirement). If this criterion is not satisfied, the visa application will be deemed invalid.
In the case of a mandatory 482 skills assessment, it must have commenced or been completed within three years of lodgement of your TSS visa application.
Note also that in certain circumstances as prescribed in the migration provisions, a TSS visa applicant who is otherwise subject to the mandatory 482 skills assessment requirement at time of application lodgement may be exempt from this criterion. We discuss the 482 visa skills assessment exemptions further below in this article.
Discretionary Time Of Decision Requirement In All Cases
Apart from it being a valid visa application requirement for certain occupations, you may also be requested to provide a skills assessment by the Department in any case. That is, a discretionary skills assessment can also be requested where it is considered necessary to assess whether a visa applicant has the required skills, qualifications and experience to perform the nominated occupation. Note however that as a general principle, discretionary skills assessments should only be requested where considered absolutely necessary according to immigration policy.
And so is a skill assessment required for a 482 visa? In specified circumstances, yes, but it may also be requested by the Department, even not a mandatory requirement under the migration provisions.
Example Of When A Skills Assessment Is Required For A TSS Visa
Let us now illustrate how the skills assessment criterion applies to the subclass 482 visa with an example.
In accordance with the migration provisions, a primary applicant for a TSS visa who meets the following criteria must obtain either a positive 457 Skills Assessment or a TSS Skills Assessment from Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) within three years of applying for the TSS visa:
- has nominated the occupation of chef;
- holds a passport issued by Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Vietnam or Zimbabwe; and
- the nominated occupation is not exempt from this requirement.
When Does A Subclass 482 Visa Skills Assessment Exemption Apply?
Listed below are some of the subclass 482 visa skills assessment exemptions (note that this is not an exhaustive list).
- A person holds a Subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) visa or Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) visa;
- they are the primary applicant for the TSS visa;
- they are employed in Australia in the nominated occupation to which the application relates; or they are employed by a company operating an established business overseas in the same occupation as, or a similar occupation to, the nominated occupation to which the application relates; and
- the person is nominated by a standard business sponsor who is that company or an associated entity of that company.
If the above criteria are met, the TSS visa applicant who would otherwise be subject to the mandatory skills assessment requirement would be exempt.
Applying this exemption to our example above, a primary TSS visa applicant nominating the occupation of chef who is a passport holder of Brazil would be exempt from providing a subclass 482 skills assessment if they meet the following requirements:
- hold a subclass 457 or TSS visa;
- is employed as a chef in Australia; and
- is nominated by a standard business sponsor.
If both of the following apply in relation to the subclass 482 visa applicant:
- holds a relevant qualification for the nominated occupation to which the application relates that is commensurate with the qualification specified for the occupation in ANZSCO; and
- the qualification was obtained as a result of the successful completion of a course of study or training in Australia or a permitted country for the occupation;
If both of the following apply in relation to the subclass 482 visa applicant:
- the nominated occupation to which the application relates requires the person to hold a licence, registration or membership to perform the occupation; and
- the person has been granted that license, registration or membership;
The person has met the standards set by TRA under the Offshore Skills Assessment Program for the nominated occupation to which the application relates.
A TSS applicant in one of the following nominated occupations:
- program or project administrator; or
specialist managers (nec) except an ambassador, archbishop or a bishop
is exempt from the mandatory subclass 482 skills assessment requirements if they meet the following criteria:
- holds a relevant qualification for the nominated occupation to which the application relates that is commensurate with the qualification specified for the occupation in ANZSCO;
- will receive annual earnings of at least $180,000; and
- is nominated by a standard business sponsor who has been given accredited status by the Department.
Temporary Graduate Visa
To qualify for the Graduate Work stream, you must have completed a trade qualification, diploma or degree in Australia. Your skills and qualifications must also be closely related to an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
You must have your skilled assessed by a specified skill assessing authority for your occupation, and the result must be positive, thus confirming that your skills are suitable for your nominated occupation.
When the application is made under the graduate work stream, it must be accompanied by evidence that you have applied for a skills assessment for your nominated skilled occupation by the prescribed assessing authority. This can be in the form of an acknowledgment letter from the assessing authority, or by providing a skills assessment reference number in the visa application form.
At the time of decision of the visa application, as the primary subclass 485 visa applicant, you must have a suitable skills assessment in relation to your nominated skilled occupation.
If your skills are assessed on the basis of a qualification obtained in Australia whilst you held a student visa, the qualification must have been obtained as a result of studying a registered course.
Note that a skills assessment is not required if you are applying for the subclass 485 visa under the Post-Study Work stream.
Alternatives For Certain Occupations
Provisional registration or State Board registration is acceptable evidence of a suitable skills assessment for the occupation of Solicitor, Barrister or General Medical Practitioner.
Evidence of membership of an Australian professional society is not accepted as a skills assessment for this purpose.
Skills Assessment Validity Period
A skills assessment that has a specified expiry date will only be accepted for a subclass 485 visa application if provided within that validity period. An expired skilled assessment will not be accepted for this purpose. Therefore it must be valid at time of decision.
Where no expiry date is specified, the skills assessment must be issued within three years of the time of decision on the subclass 485 visa application.
Temporary Changes To The Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa Introduced
A new Migration Amendment (Occupation Nomination and Skills Assessment for Subclass 485 Visas) Regulations 2022 has been enacted, to temporarily remove the requirements for applicants for a Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa in the Graduate Work stream to nominate an eligible skilled occupation and to obtain an assessment of the applicant’s skills in relation to the occupation.
Under this temporary change, these occupation and skills assessment requirements will not apply in respect of applications made between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 (inclusive).
The amendments also include a provision to extend this date beyond 30 June 2023 to a date specified by the Minister in a legislative instrument, if it becomes appropriate to do so under prevailing economic conditions.
This temporary change is designed to encourage a broader range of graduates with degree, diploma and trade qualifications that satisfy the Australian study requirement but who are not currently eligible for the Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work stream as their related occupations are not included in the current list of specified eligible occupations, to live and work in Australia for a further temporary period.
A Note About Changes To Skilled Visas
Please be aware that important changes were introduced on 16 November 2019 with the replacement of certain skilled visas subclasses.
Under these changes, the Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa replaced the former Subclass 489 Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa.
Additionally, the Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa replaced the former Subclass 187 Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa. The subclass 187 visa operated in a similar way to the subclass 186 ENS visa, but for the fact that it applied to positions located in regional Australia.
The subclass 491 and 491 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 program. 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).
The Subclass 457 Temporary Skilled (Work) visa was replaced by the TSS visa as of 18 March 2018.
As with the subclass 186 visa discussed earlier in this article, if you apply for a subclass 187 visa under the TRTS post 16 November 2019, a discretionary skills assessment can be requested by the Department where it is considered necessary to assess whether you have the required skills that are necessary to perform the tasks of the nominated occupation to which the position relates.
If you are subject to the above, we highly recommend that you seek advice from a migration professional before proceeding with your application to assess your eligibility and any skills assessment considerations to take into account in your circumstances.
For further information about these changes, please see the following articles:
An Important Note Before We Go …
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.
And importantly, the outcome of your skills assessment must be positive to apply for a skilled or temporary graduate visa (graduate work stream). Provide a scanned colour copy of a suitable skills assessment with your visa application.
Get More Information
Skilled Regional State Sponsorship Visa
For further information on the subclass 491 visa, please see the following articles:
Skilled State Sponsorship Visa
Also refer to our Australian Permanent Resident Visa Case Study article to read about a real-life case study where PAX Migration Australia assisted a client to apply for a subclass 190 visa and who, after a long migration journey, was finally granted permanent residence in Australia.
You can read a further case study example in our State Sponsorship Visas In Australia article which explains how a client successfully applying for a state sponsorship visa with PAX Migration Australia’s assistance.
To learn more about applying for a skilled visa, please see the following articles:
Temporary Graduate Visa
We recommend that you refer to the articles below which we have prepared to assist you in understanding how the Temporary Graduate visa application works and issues you need to be aware of when embarking on this type of application, including the skills assessment requirement.
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Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation to obtain tailored advice on your visa options and the skills assessment requirements that apply, including does a 482 visa require a skills assessment and specifically, is a skill assessment required for a 482 visa in your case.
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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. That is, does a 482 visa require a skills assessment and if so, when is a skill assessment required for a 482 visa. Additionally, a migration agent will be able to advise you as to whether a subclass 482 visa skills assessment exemption applies as well as the information and documents which you will need to supply for the subclass 482 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.