What is skilled employment and how are you awarded points?

If you still have not read our article on SkillSelect invitation rounds, we really recommend that you do. A higher points score means that your Expression of Interest (EOI) will get picked up sooner. For certain pro-rated occupations, a 60 point score may mean that you may wait for a very long time for an invitation. For many applicants claiming work experience points is crucial to receiving an invitation to lodge their PR (189/190) or TR (489) applications.

Read: SkillSelect Rounds

So you’ll want to claim all the points you can. It often means more effort, time and money spent, but you it’s well worth it to save the pain of waiting. If you’ve already submitted your EOI, you can always go back and update it.


Points for skilled employment



Your employment must have been paid employment. Internships and volunteer work cannot be used to claim points. This means that paid leave will also be counted. Extended leave without pay such as parental leave may not cannot be counted.

Time claimed can be from both experience in Australia and from overseas, however are counted separately. You can claim 3 years from overseas experience and 1 year in Australia to give you 10 points (5+5), but you cannot combine 2 years overseas and 1 year Australia to get you 3 years. Experience can only be claimed from the 10 years preceding your application

If you have experience in Australia, any work done that was in breach of your visa conditions at the time would not be counted. If you held a student visa and worked beyond the 40 hours a fortnight restriction, your experience will not be considered.


Closely related occupation

The occupations that you are claiming experience from must be closely related. How is this determined? If you look at your nominated occupation on the occupation list, you will notice that it has an ANZSCO number attached to it. The first 4 digits in that code is the code for the occupation group.



221111 Accountant (General)
221112 Management Accountant
221113 Taxation Accountant

Here, the occupation group is [2211] Accountants. If you were applying as an [221111] Accountant (General) but you have had experience as a [221112] Management Accountant and/or a [221113] Taxation Accountant, that experience would be considered to be closely related.

If you have many years of experience in jobs in the same field but your roles have progressed over time, this may involve experience in occupations that fall outside the occupation lists. For example if your nominated occupation is an engineer, but your careerpath has placed you in occupations such as chief engineer or even chief executive officer which are occupations that are not in the same ANZSCO unit group, it would still be considered as experience. If well documented, your career progression should be clear.


Skilled employment

Employment must be ‘skilled employment’and must be after you are deemed ‘skilled’. ‘Skilled employment’ needs to involve roles and responsibilities at at least entry level requirements for the nominated occupation. An applicant is ‘deemed skilled’ at the point he/she is performing at an expected standard. The department refers to the assessing bodies opinion on when a person is ‘deemed skilled’ and ‘skilled employment’ can only be claimed from the date you are deemed skilled.

For example, Australian Computer Society (ACS) has complicated conditions on when a person is considered skilled. Visit their criteria requirements here.

Jesse Master’s in IT from Sydney University and has worked as a software engineer in Australia for 3 years. Jesse would be awarded for 3 years of Australian skilled employment for 10 points. However Jesse’s good friend, Paati, has a bachelor’s degree in computer and software engineering from India and has also worked as a software engineer for 3 years, but Paati is only be deemed skilled after 2 years of skilled employment. As such only 1year of Australian skilled employment can be claimed for 5 points.

As documenting work experience is necessary for an ACS skills assessment, the ACS suitable skills assessment letter will also contain a date from which the applicant is deemed skilled. This is not the standard for every assessing authority however.

Read about ACS Staying in Australia with a Degree in IT

Generally with VETASSESS general professional occupations the applicant is only ‘deemed skilled’ after a year’s ‘skilled employment’.

*Skilled employment assessments are offered by assessing bodies but it is not compulsory to obtain a skilled employment assessment for the sake of evidencing your work experience.However if your assessing body which supplied the skill assessment offers such a service your DIBP case officer will most likely ask you to obtain one.

If a skill assessment body does not provide a service of giving an opinion of work experience points for the GSM program, then you obviously you cannot obtain such a letter for the DIBP case officers. In such cases the DIBP case officers will refer to the ANZSCO definitions and make their own judgement of when you became ‘skilled’.

Confused? It is confusing. Most assessing authorities do not have official guidelines which makes it difficult to be absolutely sure what you can really claim. Even though a submission of an EOI does not require documents,it is important that you register the correct points. If you believe that you are able to claim 10 skilled employment points and prepare your evidence only after you receive an invite and discover then that you are only able to claim 5 points, your application will be refused. So do your homework on your assessing authorities requirements well beforehand. These are one of the things where the advice from a migration agent might really help.

How would you submit evidence? We suggest that you look at what the document requirements are for a skilled employment assessment from the assessing authority for your nominated occupation as a guide, even if you are not obtaining an assessment through them. Documents usually include but are not limited to payslips, references, job descriptions, tax returns and your resumes.

Read: Accuracy of Points Test Score When Registering EOI 

Related articles: Skills assessments