Are you a skilled trade worker dreaming of a new life Down Under?
Our expert, Wes Zandt, answers your top questions on Australian skills assessments.
If you’re a skilled worker working in the trades industry and dreaming of a new life Down Under, then you’re in luck – your skills are needed! Australia needs skilled migrants such as Carpenters, Bricklayers, Electricians, Fitters and Joiners, but where and how do you start the process of moving to Australia?
For many, the first consideration will be to complete an Australian skills assessment. You will also need to acquaint yourself with the Australian job market and ensure you are doing the best you can do to maximise your chances of finding work.
What is a Skills Assessment?
The purpose of an Australian skills assessment is to identify the migrant’s skills and assess them against the Australian standard. Australia’s immigration department want English speaking skilled migrants. The skills assessment is a mandatory part of the visa process. At the Down Under Centre, we provide an Agency service, assisting and assessing clients through their skills assessment journey.
What is the Skills Assessment process?
For all trades, the first part of the skills assessment is referred to as a Documentary Assessment. This is where a client proves their work experience by showing references from employers, photos and videos where required, and financial proof of employment.
It does depend if you are self-employed, a sub-contractor or employed as to what information is required. The Down Under Centre team can guide you through this, and explain what is required for the skills assessment process.
A skills assessment for licensed trades, such as Electricians, Plumbers, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics, involves a Practical Assessment after the Documentary Assessment part is complete. The Practical Assessment usually consists of completing practical tasks as well as answering technical questions. Clients have eight hours to complete the Practical Assessment. Many clients finish the practical before the eight hours given.
For non-licensed trades, and after completion of the Documentary Assessment, a Technical Skype interview is required. These interviews are provided daily by the Down Under Centre and generally run for 1.5 to 2 hours.
During the interview, the migrant will be assessed by an Australian qualified trainer and assessor in the same occupation. The assessor will run through your daily tasks, tools used and how you go about your day-to-day job. It’s important to realise that the assessor would have looked at your Documentary Assessment prior to your interview.
What are processing times for Skills Assessment like?
The current skills assessment processing time for the construction and engineering trades, from receiving the Documentary Assessment to Technical Skype Interview or Practical Assessment, ranges from three to five weeks after the skills assessment application has been submitted.
The Documentary Assessment gathering of evidence does vary from client to client. Some clients gather the required documents in the first couple of weeks and others may drag their feet or need to obtain the correct documentation from HMRC or banks that require a further wait. As well as receiving the skills assessment letter you need for migration, you will receive your Australian Qualification Certificate III, which will be appealing to employers when looking for work in Australia.
What is the difference between AQF III and Skills Assessment?
An AQF III, (Australian Qualification Framework) also known as Certificate III, is the Australian equivalent of the UK’s NVQ City & Guilds Level 3. In Australia, the AQF III is given after completion of the apprenticeship. An AQF III is required for the purpose of migration if you do not hold the relevant qualification.
The process for AQFs is similar to the skills assessment pathway. The first part involves gathering work evidence as well as completing the client pack which includes questions to be answered. At the completion of gathering your evidence, you will be asked to complete a Technical Skype interview with an Australian qualified trainer in your occupation.
The AQF may also be required by some employers to show you have the knowledge of the Australian standards in your occupation. Some employers won’t make it mandatory, while others will.