It’s gotten tougher. Effective 1 July 2018 the minimum points score you must achieve on the GSM points test should you be applying for a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189), Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) or a Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489, was raised from 60 points to 65 points.

Find: GSM Points Test

One of the areas in which you can score is in the skilled employment category. Points are awarded based on the number of years you have worked in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation in the ten years prior to your application. It is easier to score points if you have worked in Australia; points are awarded for lesser years worked.

Sounds simple enough, but that is rarely the case with migration law. There are important definitions determined by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) that you need to fulfil in order to claim these points.


What is ‘skilled employment’?

There are two parts here. One is what the DOHA considers as ‘employed’ for the purposes of the GSM points test is work that is at least 20 hours a week. It must also have been paid employment, so time spent on internships cannot be counted. An exception exists for medical practitioners. Work undertaken by doctors in their internship year can count towards skilled employment points. Further to this, work as a medical practitioner undertaken by doctors with conditional registration can also be counted.

You can also only start counting your employment when you are ‘deemed skilled’. That is when you have started performing at a level that is appropriate to the standard for your nominated occupation or closely related occupation. For more detail, follow the link for our earlier article.

Read: Claiming Skilled Employment Points On The Points Test


What is considered as a closely related occupation?

Given that you may possess the skills but did not work in your nominated occupation exactly, you may also count previous skilled employment in a closely related occupation. The DOHA definition for ‘closely related’ is another important topic, as depending on your job, or if you have maybe worked your way up the ladder and no longer possess a title at all similar to your nominated occupation, it may or may not disclude your experience.

Although you have to nominate an occupation that is on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for the purposes of your visa (with the exception of the Skilled Nominated 190 visa), you can claim work experience points in a closely related occupation that is on either the MLTSSL or Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)

You’ll need to get yourself familiarised with the ANZSCO groupings, as a closely related occupation generally falls within the same ANZSCO occupation group as your nominated occupation. Want to understand more about what is considered as a closely related occupation? We’ve got you covered. Follow the link to our previous article.

Read: Need More Points? Tips on Claiming Work Experience for Your 189, 190, 489 Visa


In the last ten years

This refers to the last ten years from the time of invitation, not at the time you submit your EOI. If you have stopped working, it would be good to give yourself a buffer period and calculate the ten years from a few months  after you intend to lodge your EOI. If you are still working in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation, then you would still be accruing work experience and this would pose no issue.


How do you calculate your points?

You can claim points from skilled employment overseas and in Australia in your nominated occupation or a closely related occupation, but the maximum total number of points you can claim from the skilled employment category is 20 points. This means that even if you have worked for 2 years in Australia (5 points) and 6 years overseas (10 points), you can claim from both Australian and overseas experience and claim a total score of 15 points for the skilled employment category. If however, you have been in skilled employment for over 3 years in Australia (10 points) and for 8 years overseas (15 points), you can add your points together (25 points) but your final score will be capped at 20 points.


Putting it all together – more examples

If you have worked for a 3 years in the last ten years overseas in restaurants and are nominating the occupation of Chef [351311] but in those 3 years, spent 1 year as a kitchen hand [851311], then you only have 2 years in skilled employment overseas and are unable to claim any points. This is because a kitchen hand is at skill level 5 and the appropriate skill level to claim points in your nominated occupation or closely related occupation for a chef is at skill level 2 under ANZSCO definition.

If you are nominating ICT security specialist [262112] as your nominated occupation and in the last ten years have worked as an ICT security specialist in Australia for 2 years (5 points) and have worked as a systems administrator [262113] for 5 years overseas (10 points), then you can claim a total of 15 points. This is because your work as a systems administrator [262113]  is considered as a closely related occupation as it is under the same ANZSCO occupation group.

If you have worked for 20 years overseas in the last ten years as an Accountant (General) [221111] and have been promoted along the way and are now a Chief Executive Officer (CE0), you will be able to claim 15 points. Although you may have only spent say 2 years in the last ten years as an accountant after which you have become CEO, you will be able to get your CEO position counted although the CEO position does not exist on the occupation lists. This is due to recognition of your skill level and is considered under ‘closely related’.


Reg 2.27C Skilled Occupation in Australia

Be careful when claiming skilled employment points. Regulation 2.27C dictates that an applicant can only claim skilled employment points from work in Australia if they:

  1. held
    1. a substantive visa; or
    2. a Subclass 010 Bridging A visa; or
    3. a Subclass 020 Bridging B visa;
      authorising him or her to work during that period; and
  2. complied with the conditions of that visa

Unlawful employment is excluded from counting towards gaining points. If you have breached the conditions of your visa by working when you had no work rights, or working an excess amount (for example more than 40 hours per fortnight on a Student 500 visa) then you will not be able to use that time to count towards your earning points.

If you use such work experience in your application and are found out to have previously breached conditions on your previous visa or to have worked without a substantive visa, bridging visa A or B, then you are putting your application in jeopardy.

Read: 189, 190 And 489 Visas: Australian Work And Study Points – Did You Hold The Right Visa And Comply With Your Conditions?

Have you been working toward meeting 60 points and have now been thrown for a loop with the increased minimum score of 65 points? Or are you looking for help in evidencing your work experience to claim skilled employment points? Australian Immigration Law Services has a highly skilled team backed by decades of experiences. Contact us today for a consultation at +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online.


Related articles

Read: The Ultimate Guide To Occupation Lists

Read: Skill Assessment: Important Advice On Your Occupation

Read: Need More Points? Bilingual? NAATI May Be Your Answer

Read: Skilled Regional 489 Visa: The Basics And The Second Provisional Stream

Read: Know Your 489 Visa Conditions – They Are An Important Requirement for Your 887 Visa