Changes to Skills Assessment Criteria Announced

A number of skills assessing authorities have announced changes to their assessment criteria - this could affect people applying for General Skilled Migration and Employer Nomination Scheme in the Direct Entry stream.


VETASSESS assesses a range general professional and associate professional occupations and is one of the most commonly used skills assessing authorities.

To pass skills assessment for a permanent visa, you must show a minimum of 12 months of work experience in your nominated occupation. If your qualification is not closely related to your nominated occupation, then you may need to show 2 or even 3 years of work experience, depending on your occupation and relevancy of your qualifications.

Currently, only the last 5 years can be considered for the 12 month work experience requirement. This is highly restrictive, particularly for people who have had a career break recently.

From January 2015, VETASSESSS will consider work experience up to 10 years old in their assessment, which will be beneficial to many applicants.

On the other hand, VETASSESS will be introducing a "skilled date" to their assessments. The skilled date will be the date you meet both the work experience and qualification requirements for your occupation. Any work experience prior to the skilled date will not count for points in the skilled migration points test.

The impact of the new skilled date will be very harsh on international students - they already find it quite difficult to find skilled employment in their nominated occupation in Australia, and may now be unable to count this work experience towards their skilled migration points score.

VETASSESS has also announced that they will be streamlining their fees and processing from 1 January and seeking to finalise complete applications within 8-10 weeks.

Australian Computer Society (ACS)

The Australian Computer Society assesses most IT occupations.

In many cases, applicants nominate an occupation which they are unable to pass skills assessment in. ACS has previously provided a recommendation for an occupation which is suitable free of charge to facilitate a positive outcome. From 5 January 2015, the ACS will charge a $200 fee for such a recommendation.

The ACS will also be charging extra fees if you have a large number of positions or qualifications to assess.

The ACS has been issuing skills assessments with a "skilled date" for some time now - this is not well understood by many applicants and can lead to up to 8 years of work experience in IT not counting for points for the purposes of skilled migration. The effect of the skilled date has been moderated for international students, allowing them to claim post-qualification work experience in Australia. It is hoped that VETASSESS will follow a similar pathway.

Alternative Tests of English Accepted by Skills Assessing Authorities

The TOEFL and Pearson Test of English have been accepted by the Department of Immigration for the purposes of General Skilled Migration since 23 November 2014.

Some skills assessing authorities have followed suit and now accept these tests for the purposes of skills assessment, including:

  • Accounting Skills Assessment Authorities: ICAA, CPA and IPA
  • Welfare Workers: AWCA

Others have announced that they will not be accepting the new English tests - for example AITSL who assesses teachers.

We expect that more authorities that require evidence of English language ability will accept the alternative tests, and will watch for further announcements.


Skills assessment is a vital requirement for General Skilled Migration and the ENS Direct Entry Stream. Having a good understanding of the skills assessment criteria and processes is essential - a key plank in coming up with a viable immigration strategy.

If you would like advice on your migration prospects, including skills assessment criteria, please book an immigration consultation with one of our experts.


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