Getting a skills assessment for your graduate visa

Are you studying for a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113)? Want to stay in Australia once you’re done but you’re not sure how?

Okay so let’s start with the graduate visa (subclass 485). This is a temporary visa for those who have studied in Australia. It buys you time in Australia to look for an employer to sponsor you or lodge an application for a General Skilled Migration visa, where processing can take a while. There are two streams available – the post study work stream and graduate work stream. If you are in a Diploma course, or your first student visa was applied for and granted before 5 November 2011, you will only be eligible for the graduate work stream. Other requisites include:

  • nominating an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) which is closely related to your study (yes, [134111] Child Care Centre Manager is on the SOL)
  • a suitable (positive) skills assessment
  • the two year Australian study requirement (ASR) has been met (read more about the ASR here)

The skills assessment part is probably the trickiest in this application. There are a few kinds of skills assessments under the Trade Recognition Australia (TRA) assessing body for different entry points i.e. as a graduate or skilled worker. Your situation calls for a skills assessment through the Job Ready Program.The Job Ready Program is a sort of ‘progressive’ skills assessment that follows you through from your graduation to a year’s work experience, and is completed through 4 stages.

The first stage provides you with a provisional skills assessment, which will get you through that 485 door. At the end of the 4 stages you will attained a full skills assessment which likely be necessary for your permanent residency application. Why these 4 stages? As a fresh graduate, you will not be able to be ‘properly assessed’ from the word go. That first stage provisional skills assessment gives you an opportunity with the 485 to gain the appropriate experience onshore.So lets talk about that first step.


Provisional Skills Assessment

To gain a suitable provisional skills assessment from the TRA, you will need:

  • A certified copy of your qualification, academic transcript and statement of completion of study that includes your commencement and completion dates of Australian study
  • Evidence of a minimum of 360 hours employment and/or vocational placement in Australia relevant to your qualifications and nominated occupation

The first one’s easy enough. But the second one is one that needs a little working on. Literally. With a nominated occupation as child care centre manager, you will need to have completed 360 hours ofpaid employment and/or vocational placement in the field of childcare; you will not be expected to already be working as a child care centre manager. Now what this means is that if you are already at the end of your study and you have not clocked in these hours, you are probably not going to be able to go for a 485 visa. So let’s hope this gets to you all really early on in your studies.To evidence these 360 hours, you will need work statements from your employer and/or registered training organisations, payslips, time slips and the like. All work will have had to have been undertaken in Australia . For a full understanding of evidencing your work experience, please read TRA’s guidelines here . You will notice that there are differing conditions for those whose work experience took place before July 2011. We are already deep into 2016 and doubt that anything before July 2011 applies to you, but we will always be in the camp of oversupply. With the DIBP, regulatory and assessing bodies, more is more.

For our Sydneysiders,  TAFE Northern Sydney Institute offers a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care course packaged (which has a requisite of 120 hours) with a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care course, which has a requisite of 240 hours in vocational placement. That will give you your full 360 hours required to apply for your provisional skills assessment with the TRA. Pretty decent!

Your TRA Provisional Skills Assessment application is done online and this first stage costs $300. You can only apply once.Our article’s focus is on getting you to stay on post studies, but briefly, here’s how the whole thing goes:Stage 1: Apply for a provisional skills assessment. Once you have your provisional skills assessment has been granted, you can then apply for your 485 visa. The 485 visa (graduate work stream) is an 18 month visa.Stage 2: In those 18 months, you will need to secure employment, gather a full year of work experience and keep a Job Ready Journal . There are certain criteria on your position that must also be satisfied, view them here.Stage 3: Assessors will pay you a visit at your workplace in stage 3 after 6 months or work experience and employer-reviewed journal entriesStage 4: And finally, with successful stage 1 to 3 outcomes and evidence of at least 1725 working hours in 1 year and 12 months of journal entries on workplace skills.Doesn’t sound easy but we know you’ll get there! Our next article will talk about skills assessment for a graduate visa for those in IT, so look out for that!