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Big news from the TRA for tradespeople in the UK

by Lauren 27/06/2008 12:24:00

There's been yet more movement in the ongoing drama of Skilled Pathway D that Andy wrote about earlier in the week.  Today, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) announced that the entire skills assessment process for trades will change on September 1 by releasing a new draft policy.

This will certainly keep my team busy, and we couldn't be happier about it!  Here's why.

When Pathway D was closed last year, a lot of highly qualified tradespeople were left high and dry - or with the option of going through an extremely complex, finicky and time consuming process to get their skills assessment through.  (In a few cases, we've had to organise flights to Australia so that some of our clients could have their skills assessed on-shore.)

The new skills assessment process is set to throw out all the complexity and make the process fairer for everyone involved.  Instead, skilled tradespeople with 4 years of work experience will be able to have their skills assessed in the workplace by an organisation registered to assess trades.

At the moment, only Australian organisations are registered to provide assessment services. While that doesn't sound helpful, here's where it gets interesting and the news gets fantastic for skilled tradespeople in the UK.

Australian assessing bodies are able to travel to, or even set up in, other countries so that they can run skills assessments for tradespeople.  The demand for UK workers is so great that we fully expect Australian assessing organisations to start flying to the UK in droves.  However, we expect the news to get even better.

It's just not practical to expect an Australian organisation to assess every trade that's available and in demand.  What about niche trades like drainers, pastry cooks and lift mechanics?  (They're all on the MODL.)  It's not logistically possible for an Australian organisation to send over assessors for niche or highly specialised trades.

Fortunately, the language of the draft policy form the TRA leaves the door open for them to accept foreign assessing bodies as equivalent to Australia. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the first thing the TRA recognizes is on-site qualifications obtained in the UK resulting in a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) assessor, or a city and Guilds certificate.  That sounds a little technical.  Essentially, it means that we expect the Australian TRA to recognise on-site skills assessments done in the UK, by UK organisations, for UK tradespeople.

Recognising local UK on-site trades assessors would allow Australia to  take advantage of the tremendous pool of qualified talent in the UK, without having to send over Australian assessors for every niche trade that's in demand.

To add icing on the cake, the new changes should make it possible for tradespeople to qualify with just 4 years of work experience rather than 5 as it was under the old skills pathway system.  That means younger people will be able to make the move down under.

When these changes start coming into place in September, they will open the door to Australia for thousands of skilled tradespeople in the UK.  We can't wait!

- Lauren Mennie is a Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Skilled Pathway D Alternative

by Andy 24/06/2008 09:26:00

We recently posted a news story about the possible opening of an alternative to Skilled Pathway D for Australian visa applicants working in skilled trades.  Any open alternative to Skilled Pathway D could renew the migration plans of literally thousands of skilled emigrants in the UK, Ireland, and all over the world, who want to make the move down under.

In September of 2007, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) closed the so-called Pathway D for skilled workers without formal qualifications.

Pathway D was a well-used route through the skills assessment stage of the Australian skilled immigration process.  It was especially popular with skilled tradespeople in the UK and Ireland, as it allowed workers without formal qualifications, but with plenty of work experience under their belts, to qualify for skilled migration to Australia.

Despite this, DEEWR closed Pathway D, without warning or consultation.

It's hard to describe the bitter disappointment that the closure of Skilled Pathway D caused for many of our clients.  Skilled workers looking to make the move to Australia suddenly found themselves unable to migrate.

We feel that that Skilled Pathway D made a positive contribution to Australia, and that its closure in September did a great deal of damage to the credibility of general skilled migration program.  Australia needed skilled tradespeople to keep up with construction, engineering and mining booms all around the country.

From all accounts, the decision was made because of a failure of the system to pick up fraudulent documents being produced from certain countries, not the UK we might add! Unfortunately perception has changed and as one colleague so eloquently put it “the message gets magnified from “you can no longer emigrate to Australia under Pathway D, to “it’s impossible to emigrate to Australia now.” Not only are clients who were in the process of emigrating caught by this sudden change, but we have seen a noticeable drop in the volume of inquiries from people expressing initial interest in emigrating.

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA), of which the Australian Visa Bureau is a member, has been lobbying steadily for the reopening of Pathway D or the creation of an alternative.  That effort appears to finally be paying off.

On August 1 of this year, DEEWR will announce their collaboration with the MIA as part of an effort to create an alternative to Pathway D.

I’m cautiously optimistic about the news.  Any alternative for skilled tradespeople to migrate to Australia would be great news for thousands of people in the UK and Ireland.  It would give our case processing team all the pleasure in the world to call clients and prospective emigrants, with the news that we can proceed with their application.

We look forward to more news, and we’ll work to keep all of our clients up-to-date with the latest from DEEWR.

- Andy Harwood is the CEO of the Visa Bureau and a registered Australian Migration Agent.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Our new Visa Bureau Blog

by Tom 20/06/2008 11:35:00

Welcome to the new Visa Bureau Blog.

Two Speech Bubbles We're starting a conversation!

We'll use this blog to keep you informed about immigration and visa issues that could affect you, share some of our insights and comment on newsworthy events.

 More importantly, we're opening ourselves up to comments, questions and feedback from you.  Every post in our blog will have space for your insights or questions.  We welcome constructive discussion and questions.  We will answer your questions on this blog and address any concerns you may have about what we write.

This blog is a conversation, not just a broadcast.

As a company, we value openness, communication, honesty and professionalism.  Those values will be reflected in this blog. 

When our experts write a post or answer a question, we'll take a moment to introduce them.  Our contributors include Migration Agents, Online Editors, members of our Case Processing team, and even our CEO.  We want to make our relationship to our readers and clients as open as possible.

I'm Tom Blackett, the Online Editor here at Visa Bureau.  I'm responsible for making sure our website has only the most up-to-date information (and that it's good to read!) My team and I will be spending time to moderate this blog, forwarding questions to staff and working to make sure that our readers have the best possible experience.

My team and I are looking forward to moderating the discussion here on the Visa Bureau Blog and helping you, our readers, get the most out of this ongoing conversation.

Happy blogging!

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.