How do I apply for a skills visa as an accountant?

How do I apply for a skills visa as an accountant?

In Australia, general accountants, management accountants and taxation accountants are some of the most highly sought-after skilled professionals. To migrate to Australia as an accountant, there are several steps you'll need to take.

Skills Assessment

First, you'll need to have your accounting skills and qualifications assessed by an Australian assessing body. Certified Practising Accountants Australia (CPA) and the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) can assess all accounting skills. If you're a management accountant or a taxation accountant, you can also have your skills assessed by Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ). 

There are generally two steps to having your skills assessed by any of these bodies:

1. Educational Qualifications

Your current South African qualification will need to be assessed to ensure it is equivalent to at least an Australian Bachelor degree. You must show proof that you have successfully studied all mandatory competency areas that are relevant to your chosen accounting occupation. 

Your qualifications must include adequate coverage of at least 9 of the 12 core curriculum areas, which include; basic accounting, financial and corporate accounting, current accounting issues (standards and theory), cost and management accounting, business finance, auditing, introductory law (including contracts), economics, statistics, computer information systems, Australian taxation law and Australian company law.

Some assessing authorities also recognise your membership of a professional accounting body, such as SAICA, in assessing your qualifications. 

2. Practical Experience

Once your qualifications have been positively assessed the assessing authority will assess your practical experience and employment history to determine if your experience is relevant to your specific accounting occupation (ie general accountancy, management accountancy or taxation accountancy), and at a level expected from Australian employers. 

To prove your employment and professional experience, you'll be required to provide a written testimonial from your past and current employer/s that is written on the official letterhead of the employing business. The testimonial must include details such as the start and end date/s of your employment history; position/s held and whether your role/s were permanent/temporary. 

If you have worked in a professional accounting role for several years, you may be eligible to claim additional points for your skilled visa application.

English Proficiency Test

You'll be required to show that you have met the English proficiency standards of both the assessing authority and the Australian government. Recognised English proficiency tests include: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE)*, IELTS Academic, PTE Academic, TOEFL iBT tests and the Skilled Migration Internship Program Accounting (SMIPA). There are advantages and disadvantages to each test: the SMIPA test, for instance, could make you eligible for additional points in your skilled visa application. 

Each of the tests has a component of reading, writing, listening and speaking and you will be required to achieve a minimum score in each component.

The Visa Application 

Once you've received a positive skills assessment of your accounting skills, you can apply for a skilled visa. To be eligible to apply for a skilled visa, you have to accrue a number of points, based on factors such as age, your qualifications, professional experience, and English proficiency. You may also be able gain additional points for your partner's skills, nomination by an Australian State or Territory, any professional year courses you have undertaken in Australia, among other things. 

You'll need to submit various documents with your visa application. The documents you will need to provide will depend on the accounting skill you have had assessed. You'll also need to submit an 'Expression of Interest' to let the Australian government know that you're interested in obtaining a skilled visa. Once you have submitted your EOI, the Australian government can invite you to apply for the visa. You then have 60 days from the date of the invitation to lodge your visa application. 

There's a lot involved in applying for a skilled migration visa. Gathering all the documents and information you need, while trying to plan for your new life in Australia, can be overwhelming. Pathway Lawyers & Migration Agents specialises in assisting our clients in gathering the necessary documents and ensuring that the various applications are submitted appropriately, with a view to obtaining your visa as quickly as possible.