A new Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has been announced that will take effect from 15th May, 2009. No occupations have been added or removed, but there has been a technical change that could affect the Australian skilled migration process for applicants in certain trades occupations.
All Australian skilled migration applicants are required to have their skills acknowledged and approved by a skills assessing body. From the 15th of May, workers in a number of key trades occupations will now have an additional assessing body to choose to be assessed by, but only if they are NOT resident in a recognised country.
Before, applicants who were NOT resident in a recognised country could only be assessed by TRA (Trades Recognition Australia). However, the assessing body VETASSESS (Vocational Education Training and Assessment Services) has now been approved as a co-assessing body for these applicants in the following trades:
Please understand that it is only applicants who are NOT resident in one of the 'recognised countries' who will be eligible to be assessed by either VETASSESS or TRA (Trades Recognition Australia). Residents of the UK, India, Sri Lanka, South Africa and the Philippines will not be able to have their skills assessed by TRA and must instead be assessed by VETASSESS as usual.
While this change might seem slight, it has the potential to have a very profound effect on the Australian skilled migration process for a number of applicants.
For example, before 15th May 2009, an electrician, not resident in one of the recognised countries, who lacks the required formal qualifications to get through Pathway A, B or C with the TRA, but has evidence of at least 4 years training, would be forced to apply to TRA through the only other TRA option - Pathway E. This can be an expensive and lengthy process, as it requires that the applicant undergo a workplace assessment with an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and obtain a relevant AQF Certificate III.
From 15th May 2009 though, that same electrician will now have the option to apply to have their skills assessed with VETASSESS. This will require that they travel to the UK (or other recognised country) to complete a practical assessment, but avoids the necessity of applying to the TRA and could save time and money.
Please note though, there is no change to the skills assessment process for residents of the UK and residents of other recognised countries, as VETASSESS remains the only assessing body they are eligible for.
My personal view is that this change was pushed for by VETASSESS, as they are probably not getting the number of applicants they initially expected. Whether VETASSESS have plans to organise practical assessments in other countries remains to be seen – I presume it will depend on the demand.
A definite possibility would be for VETASSESS to arrange for the skills assessments to be undertaken in Australia. This would then allow all temporary residents of Australia to use them as the assessing body for these trades, and also allow overseas residents of non-recognised countrie to travel to Australia especially for the assessment.
- Tony Coates is a Migration Caseworker for the Australian Visa Bureau
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