New VETASSESS Assessment Criteria

2 November 2009
By Sarah Kabbara - Solicitor/Case Manager, Acacia Immigration Australia

And Mark Webster - Director, Acacia Immigration Australia

VETASSESS is the main skills assessing authority for professional (50-point) and associate professional (40-point) occupations for the purposes of General Skilled Migration (GSM) and Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) applications.

Currently, applicants require a qualification comparable to an Australian bachelor degree to pass skills assessment in a 50-point occupation, or a qualification comparable to a diploma for a 40-point occupation. There is currently no requirement that the qualification be in a discipline related to the occupation in which the assessment is sought, nor is any work experience required for skills assessment purposes.

From 1 January 2010, VETASSESS will be changing their assessment criteria for all applicants. All applicants will be required to:

  • Hold a qualification which is assessed at the required educational level in a highly relevant field of study to the nominated occupation and
  • Have at least one year of relevant work experience.

For recent graduates who have studied in Australia and who intend to apply for the Skilled Graduate subclass 485 visa there will be a 2-stage process.

The first stage will lead to a skills assessment which can only be used to support the 485 application. To be eligible applicants must:

  • Have completed Australian studies within the previous 6 months and
  • Hold a qualification which is highly relevant to the nominated occupation.

Once the applicant has at least 12 months of work experience in the nominated occupation, applicants would then apply for the second stage assessment which can then be used for permanent visa applications (ie General Skilled Migration and Employer Nomination Scheme).

This change further disadvantages international students who study at university in Australia versus their colleagues who study trades such as commercial cookery or hairdressing. Trade applicants obtain 60 points for their occupation and only need to complete a 1-year Certificate III and show 900 hours of work experience to qualify for skills assessment in their occupation. University graduates generally only obtain 50 points for their occupation, unless studying in a 60-point occupation such as IT, teaching or accounting.

The new VETASSESS assessment requirements require students to have 12 months of work experience in their occupation - this is very difficult to obtain whilst in Australia on a temporary visa. This may lead to further integrity issues with the general skilled program similar to the fraud issues which have arisen due to the 900 hours requirement for trade occupations.

People who apply before 31 December 2009 will be processed under the current guidelines, providing the relevant documentation is provided to VETASSESS.

If you are looking at applying for skills assessment in a 40- or 50-point occupation, it is critical that you apply prior to the end of 2009 (preferably by the 18th of December), otherwise you may not meet the new VETASSESS requirements.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss your case.

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