Skilled Employment and Claiming Employment points

The awarding of points for skilled employment recognises visa applicants extensive work experience in a nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation. Relevant Australian and overseas skilled employment in the 10-year period immediately before the date the applicant was invited to apply for this visa are considered for the purpose of awarding points. For you to claim employment points you need to have worked in your nominted employment at a skilled level.

The higher weighting of points able to be awarded for Australian skilled employment recognises the value that firsthand experience and understanding of the Australian work environment can have in assisting migrants to establish themselves in the Australian employment market and settle into life in Australia.

Periods of employment do not have to be continuous, as it is the aggregated period of relevant employment experience that will be considered. Therefore, you can be eligible for points if your relevant skilled employment is interspersed by periods of non-related employment or other activities such as study.

For example, if prior to applying for their points-tested visa, an applicant whose nominated skilled occupation is Accountant, works for 2 years as an Accountant, then undertakes postgraduate studies for 2 years, then works as an IT consultant for 2 years, then works as an Accountant for a further 3 years. This applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years employment experience as an Accountant (as long as the applicant’s relevant employment took place in the 10 years immediately before the time when the applicant was invited to apply for the visa).

You may also be eligible for points for the employment factor if you have both Australian and overseas skilled employment experience.

For example, if prior to applying for their points-tested visa, an applicant whose nominated occupation is assessed as a registered nurse works overseas for 5 years as a registered nurse then works in Australia on a temporary employment visa for 3 years as a registered nurse, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years of overseas employment as well as their 3 years of Australian employment experience.

However, it is not possible for you to combine shorter periods of skilled employment gained while working in and outside Australia in order to meet one of the Australian or overseas skilled employment experience factors.

For example, an applicant cannot claim 3 years’ Australian employment by adding together 6 months of overseas employment experience and 30 months of Australian employment experience. Employment undertaken whilst the applicant is physically present in Australia will be assessed against the requirements for Australian employment and cannot be claimed as working for an overseas employer.

Work undertaken in an area without a postcode, for a company that is registered in Australia, can be counted towards Australian work experience for the purpose of the points test. For example, a person undertaking work on a resources installation or sea installation attached to the Australian sea bed in Australian waters, is taken to have worked in Australia.

The meaning of Employment

The term ‘employed’ is defined as being engaged in an occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours a week.

The following scenarios will not satisfy the meaning of employed –

  • A postgraduate student whose income is derived from living allowances or scholarships designed to cover their expenses.
  • Skilled work experience undertaken as part of work placement component of a Professional Year because this internship is considered a developmental program rather than employment at a skilled level.  Paid employment that is not connected with the Professional Year, and undertaken at a skilled level, concurrently with a Professional Year program may be considered for Australian skilled employment experience points

As employment must be for remuneration, only periods of leave on full pay will be counted as time during which an applicant was employed. This means those periods of extended leave without pay (for example, maternity or paternity leave) will not be counted as a period of employment.

What is Skilled Employment?

When assessing periods of skilled employment for the purpose of awarding points, the following are taken into account by the Department of Home Affairs:

  • the opinion of the relevant skills assessing authority on the period of skilled employment including the date on which they deemed the applicant skilled; and
  • the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) including any pre-requisite qualifications/work experience relevant to the claimed skilled employment; and
  • any other relevant information (such as employment records and references).

If the skills assessing authority’s opinion would result in the applicant being awarded less points than the applicant claimed in their EOI, then decision makers should consider the information in ANZSCO and apply the more beneficial outcome in determining when the applicant was working at a skilled level. This is particularly applicable to ICT occupations and occupations for which VETASSESS is the skills assessing authority.

Closely related occupations

You can claim points for employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation in the 10 years immediately preceding the date of the invitation to apply for the visa. The department also has a policy to recognise employment if your career has advanced, or your job has evolved in the relevant period.

Under ANZSCO, occupations are grouped together to form “unit groups”. Generally, all unit groups are at one skill level. Skill level is defined as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation, and is generally measured by the required level or amount of formal education and training, previous experience in a related occupation, or on the job training.

Closely related skilled occupations are those occupations that fall within one unit group classified under ANZSCO. For example, if your nominated occupation is Accountant (General) (221111) and you provide evidence of skilled employment in the occupations of Management Accountant (221112) and Taxation Accountant (221113), your employment will be considered for the purposes of skilled employment.

Unlawful Employment

If you have breached a condition of your visa by working when you had no work rights, or by working in excess of the amount of work allowed, the period of employment is in  breach of visa conditions cannot be counted under the employment experience factor in the regulations.

For example, a Student visa holder who was subject to a condition that they not work more than 40 hours a fortnight but who was employed in their nominated skilled occupation for 45 hours a fortnight while their course was in session cannot not use that period of employment to claim points.

Claiming points and assessing your eligibility can sometimes be very complex and confusing. Claiming the wrong periods of employment may result in your visa being refused. Our migration agent has years of experience in this and will be able to assist you in ensuring that you meet the requirements.

Book a free consultation with us to find out about your the next steps.

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