Details of TRA Job Ready Test Released

by Mark Webster, Acacia Immigration Australia, 30 December 2009

Trades Recognition Australia has now released details of the Job Ready Program. The Job Ready Program will be in effect from 1 January 2010, and will affect people who are resident in Australia and who wish to obtain a skills assessment for a permanent visa. The main group of people affected will be international students completing vocational qualifications in Australia and who wish to apply for General Skilled Migration.

The Job Ready Program will be a 4-step process:

  • Provisional Skills Assessment
  • Job Ready Employment
  • Job Ready Workplace Assessment
  • Job Ready Final Assessment

Provisional Skills Assessment

The provisional skills assessment will allow students to apply for a Skilled Graduate subclass 485 visa. In order to pass this stage of the process, applicants will need:
  • A valid Australian visa
  • An Australian trade qualification
  • Relevant work experience - it is not clear how much work experience will be required, nor the level of the duties. However, the TRA website indicates that the work reference must cover a period of at least 6 months
  • 6 or more in all 4 bands of IELTS, or passport from UK, US, Canada, Ireland or New Zealand
Cost: $300

Job Ready Employment

Next, applicants will need to have at least 12 months of work experience. This employment will be highly regulated by TRA:
  • Employment must be full time
  • The employer must register with TRA within 30 days of commencement of employment
  • A contract of employment must be signed by both parties, and in the format provided by TRA, and this must be provided to TRA within 30 days
  • The employment must be paid and in accordance with Australian awards
  • A workplace log must be completed during the employment
  • TRA will conduct site visits during the employment to monitor the employment
  • During the employment, additional training must be undertaken. This will cover Australian workplace English and workplace culture, and must be provided by a training organisation authorised by TRA
Cost: $750 for the assessment of employment plus approx $1,200 for the workplace training

Workplace Assessment

The workplace assessment can be conducted once the applicant has been employed continuously in their trade for 6 months. The assessment will be conducted at the applicant's workplace and will be a practical test in applying trade skills in the Australian workplace. There are no details on what this assessment will involve at this point.

Cost: $2,000

Job Ready Final Assessment

This appears to be a final application to have the skills assessment paper produced by TRA. Lodged electronically.

Cost: $300

Visa Requirements - Onshore

For trade applicants, the visa requirements for skills assessment for trade applicants are different from 1 January 2010. The changes affect applications for permanent skilled visas (eg skilled independent subclass 885 or skilled sponsored subclass 886), or skilled regional sponsored subclass 487 visas. In summary:
  • The skills assessment must be finalised before lodgement. For skilled graduate, it is still possible to lodge with evidence of a skills assessment having been lodged but not yet completed
  • If applying in a trade occupation, the skills assessment must be completed after 1 January 2010. This means that if you have a skills assessment prior to 1 January 2010, you will need to go through the job ready program before applying for a permanent or provisional skilled visa

Offshore Requirements

If not living in Australia, the requirements have essentially remained the same. The only exception is where the person has an Australian trade qualification. In this case, the applicant must show at least 4 years of work experience in the trade. In addition, to apply for a permanent or provisional skilled visa, you will need to have at least 12 months out of the last 24 months of work experience in your occupation.

Commentary

This is a significant change to the current TRA requirements for skills assessment:
  • Cost: The total cost of the process will be some $4,500, significantly higher than the current cost of $300.
  • English: There is an English requirement of 6 minimum in IELTS. There was previously no English requirement for skills assessment in a trade, and visa requirements were only 5 minimum in IELTS
  • Work experience: A minimum of 12 months of work experience is required in the trade. This work experience is highly regulated and must be paid work experience. Previously, only 900 hours of work experience was required, and this could be unpaid.
Applicants are expected to complete this process within the 18 month validity of their graduate skilled visas. This will be difficult for many people for the following reasons:
  • 12 months of work experience is required, but it can take several months to obtain a suitable job, particularly given the documentary requirements which will be imposed on employers
  • Skills assessment can only be applied for once the 12 months is completed. It is not clear if there will be delays in TRA providing workplace assessments or assessments of the required work experience
  • The skills assessment must be completed before the skilled migrant application can be lodged. This puts additional time pressure on, particularly as the skilled graduate visa cannot be extended
  • It may not be possible for students already on a 485 visa to comply with the new requirements for the job ready program. Even if already employed in the trade, this employment may not meet TRA's requirements
It is anticipated that many international students completing vocational courses will not be able to complete the job ready process. This will be due mainly to the lack of suitable employment and the inability to complete what is a very arduous process within the 18 month validity of the 485 visa. The fact that there was no notice of the 12 month employment requirement will be a significant disadvantage to students currently on 485 visas.

Feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss applying for a TRA skills assessment.

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