Obtaining A Skill Assessment As An Accountant

Obtaining A Skill Assessment As An Accountant

Woman accountant

Obtaining a skill assessment for migration purposes as an Accountant or other Financial Professional 

Most Australian skilled visas require the applicant to nominate an occupation and have their skills in that occupation be assessed by the appropriate assessing authority. Certain visas may not require the skill assessment or may have exemptions, however this is something that subject to an individual’s circumstances and we recommend speaking to a professional migration agent about your specific situation. For a closer look at which visas and occupations require skill assessments, as well as what the correct assessing authority is, we have complied the latest guide to skilled visa occupation lists. It’s a very handy guide showing which visas may be available to you depending on your nominated occupation, as well as other useful bits of information such as if caveats apply to your occupation for a sponsored work visa.

Skilled visas refer to:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional visa (subclass 489) State Sponsored stream
  • Skilled Regional visa (subclass 489) Relative Sponsored stream
  • Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) short term
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) Long term
  • Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)
  • Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)

Read: The AILS Complete Occupation List Guide

The following occupations are ones that are assessed by CPA Australia. We have also listed alongside each occupation, which visas they are available for. Of course CPA is not the only authorised authority to conduct Migration Skill Assessments. You may also choose to use Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and the Institute of Public Accountants

Accountant (general) [221111]: May apply for the 189, 190, State sponsored or relative sponsored 489, 485 Graduate work stream, long term 482, ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visa.

External auditor [221213]: May apply for the 189, 190, State sponsored or relative sponsored 489, 485 Graduate work stream, long term 482, ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visa.

Finance manager [132211]: May apply for the 190, State sponsored 489, short term 482 or RSMS 187 visa.

Management accountant [221112]: May apply for the 189, 190, State sponsored or relative sponsored 489, 485 Graduate work stream, long term 482, ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visa.

Taxation accountant [221113]: May apply for the 189, 190, State sponsored or relative sponsored 489, 485 Graduate work stream, long term 482, ENS 186 and RSMS 187 visa.

You may learn more about what is the expect responsibilities and skill level that is required through ANZSCO.

Read: ANZSCO Unit Group 211 Accountants

Read: ANZSCO Unit Group 2212 Auditors, company secretaries and corporate treasurers

Read: ANZSCO Unit Group 1322 Finance Mangers

There are two skills assessments you may get. Most people are looking for the full skilled migration skill assessment but if you are applying for the 485 Graduate Work Stream then the provisional assessment is sufficient. The provisional assessment only requires the appropriate educational qualifications.

Let’s take a look at how skills assessments with CPA work.

Degree comparability

The applicant must hold a qualification that is assessed by CPA Australia as equivalent to at least an Australian bachelor’s degree. CPA Australia uses guidelines issued by the Australian Government, Department of Education and Training, when assessing the comparability of overseas qualifications.

The degree requirement for the provisional assessment (subclass 485 visa), requires that you have an Australian bachelor’s degree or 12 unit master’s degree in accounting, business, commerce or economics.

Educational knowledge

The applicant must also have their study that resulted in their qualification assessed. This is where CPA Australia examines your study units to see if they are relevant to the skills required for your nominated occupation in Australia.

Accredited course

If your study is formally accredited by CPA Australia, you may not need to provide your syllabus when making your application. CPA Australia provides a handy search within their site that will tell you if your course is accredited.

Find: CPA accredited course search

Non-accredited course

If your study is not formally accredited by CPA Australia, you will need to include syllabus with your application. You should be able to acquire this through your educational institute.

Syllabus details, also known as subject descriptions, should be provided for all accounting, finance and business subjects, and should accurately reflect the content covered in each of your relevant subjects.

Your syllabus must:

  • Relate to the exact years during which you studied
  • Relate to the exact subjects that are listed on your transcript
  • Be in English

If you are unable to obtain the official syllabus, you must be able to provide a statutory declaration stating the reason for its not being able to obtain it and a detailed, personal summary of the relevant subjects. The statutory declaration must be witnessed by a Justice of the Peace or notary officer.

If you hold non-accredited degree from an institution in China, you must have your degree award and transcripts verified through an authorised Chinese qualification verification service, accompanied by an official English translation. If you have a diploma qualification that contributed to your bachelor’s degree, you must also provide the relevant verified and translated award and transcripts.

All verification reports must be sent directly to CPA Australia from the verification body and must include a copy of the documents that have been verified. CPA Australia currently recommends that you use VETASSESS for this service.

Work experience

If you are after General Skilled Migration (GSM) visa such as the:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional visa (subclass 489)

You may be able to claim skilled employment points to help boost your points score.

Read: 189, 190 And 489 Visas: Calculating Skilled Employment Points

You are not able to get an assessment for your work experience unless you have a suitable skills assessment already. You may submit documents for the purposes of the assessment of your work experience but CPA Australia will not look at these until they have assessed you be suitably skilled.

CPA Australia will only recognise employment that:

  • Is assessed as closely related to the ANZSCO occupation for which you have received a suitable skills assessment outcome
  • Was undertaken in the 10 years prior to your CPA Australia skills assessment application date
  • Was undertaken after you completed a formal qualification (or combination of qualifications) that is assessed by CPA Australia as equivalent to at least an Australian bachelor’s degree
  • Was paid and continuous for a minimum of 20 hours per week
  • Is a minimum of one year of accumulated employment, for at least three months per role

Note: CVs and resumes will not be accepted as evidence of employment.

Employer testimonial

To be assessed for skilled employment, you must provide a testimonial from your employer that:

  • Is written on the official letterhead of the employing business. The letterhead should indicate clearly the full address of the business and any telephone, email and website addresses
  • Includes the name and position of the person authorised to sign the employment reference or testimonial and should include the authorised person’s signature. References from colleagues of the applicant at the same level or below will not be considered
  • Includes the work contact number and work email address of the person writing the reference. Personal phone numbers or addresses will not be accepted

The testimonial must include:

  • Specific start and end dates of your employment history. Multiple roles within the same organisation must be listed separately
  • Positions held
  • Whether your roles were permanent or temporary
  • Whether your roles were full-time or part-time
  • Your required working hours per week
  • The duties or responsibilities undertaken in each position
  • The salary earned.

If you are unable to obtain an employment reference on a business letterhead, a statutory declaration may be used. In addition to outlining the reasons why you were not able to get a work reference, your declaration must include the criteria outlined above.

You will also need to include third party documentation such as taxation certificates, employment contracts, pay slips, as well as any other relevant information that verifies employment.

CPA Australia will not recognise accumulated time for work/client engagements that were performed during the same period. For example, you cannot claim more than 12 months of experience in a 12-month period. If you have undertaken concurrent work, do provide a testimonial for the role that is most suitable for the ANZSCO code you have applied for.

Volunteer work and experience carried out as part of a qualification are not considered for skilled employment.

Self-employment

Self-employed applicants must provide a testimonial that is written on the official letterhead of their business. The letterhead should indicate clearly the full address and any telephone, email and website addresses.

The testimonial must include:

  • Specific start and end dates
  • Your working hours per week
  • The duties or responsibilities undertaken in each position
  • The salary you earned

You will also need to include certified copies of:

  • Tour official business name registration
  • Practising certificate
  • Tax returns of your first, middle and final year (if relevant) of business operation
  • References from two or more clients on letterheads, stating work done by your business and the period your business was employed by the referee.

If your self-employment was conducted outside of Australia, CPA Australia will allow substitutes for the above documents provided they confirm the same information. For example, some countries may issue a ‘Tax Registration’ document rather than a ‘Business Registration’ document.

English proficiency

CPA Australia requires all its applicants to meet an English language proficiency requirement. Unlike the English requirement by the DOHA for visas, being a citizen of United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or New Zealand does not get you an exemption.

If you have completed the Accounting Professional Year Program, you will be considered to have met the English requirement. Otherwise, you must submit test results that are one of the following:

  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)
  • IELTS Academic (General is accepted for the provisional skills assessment)
  • PTE Academic
  • TOEFL iBT

Read: English Proficiency Tests

Read: We Review English Tests! IELTS General

Read: We Review English Tests! PTE Academic

Read: We Review English Tests! TOEFL iBT

CPA Australia is quite strict with this and providing your document showing your test results may not be sufficient. We have detailed this under each test as follows.

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) test

You must provide your Candidate ID number and secret number with your application. CPA Australia recognises CAE tests completed on or after 1 January 2015 only. You will need to achieve these scores or higher:

General Skills Assessment: at least 185 on all modules

Provisional Assessment: at least 169 on all modules

IELTS Academic test

CPA Australia can only accept the Academic IELTS test towards the general skills assessment. CPA Australia can accept either the Academic IELTS or the General IELTS towards the Provisional skills assessment.

You will need to achieve these scores or higher:

General Skills Assessment: at least 7.0 on all the modules

Provisional Assessment: at least 6.0 on all the modules

PTE Academic test

For verification purposes, you will need to authorise access to your results with “CPA Australia, Southbank” through your online PTE Academic Account.

Note: PTE results may not be available for verification for up to 72 hours after they have been shared online.

You will need to achieve these scores or higher:

General Assessment: 65 on each module

Provisional Assessment: 50 on each module

TOEFL (IBT) test

You will need to achieve these scores or higher:

General Assessment: Listening 24, Reading 24, Writing 27, Speaking 23

Provisional Assessment: Listening 12, Reading 13, Writing 21, Speaking 18

CPA application

The materials that you will need to supply in your application for a skills assessment by CPA Australia are:

  • Passport (photo page) or national ID card
  • Proof of name change (if applicable)
  • Official academic awards
  • Official academic transcripts, including transcripts from prior studies if you have received exemptions for your degree
  • Detailed syllabus for all qualifications not accredited by CPA Australia
  • Professional body qualification (if applicable)
    • Exam results
    • Membership certificate
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • Third party authorisation (if a third party such as a migration agent is acting on your behalf).

Ensure any credit card details or tax file numbers have been removed or blacked out (redacted) from your supporting documents.

We did mention that CPA Australia is pretty strict before; your document scans must be high quality (300dpi or higher) and in colour.

Urgent applications

Time sensitive? CPA Australia may be able to assist. You are required to request for priority processing and must provide evidence of your deadline.

Fees and processing times

The whole visa business is an expensive exercise and your skills assessment is no different. A general/full skills assessment will set you back AUD $520 if you reside in Australia and AUD $473 if you are outside of Australia. If you wish to make amendments to your application, such as to upload new English test results or change the occupation/ANZSCO code you are being assessed for, the update will cost AUD $160 in Australia and $145 outside of Australia.

CPA Australia has a relatively quick turnaround time of about 10 business days. This may vary depending on the volume of applications they are receiving. This is of course supposing that you are submitting a decision ready application.

Are you ready to take the next step and make an application for your visa and future in Australia? Whether you need help in submitting your application to CPA Australia or require help in applying for any skilled visa, we are here to help. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists.

Zoe He