As an engineer, how do I apply for an Australian skills visa?
There has never been a better time for engineers to come to Australia. Not only are the starting salaries great, you have the chance to bring your family or partner along and, in some cases, explore different fields of work.
If you have relevant work experience and qualifications as an engineer, you may be eligible to apply for an Australian Skilled Migration Visa. To apply for this visa, there are several steps you will need to take.
You’ll need to have your skills and qualifications as an engineer assessed by Engineers Australia. Before you apply for your skills assessment, you’ll need to check that you can meet the assessment requirements for your specific engineering skills (eg chemical engineering, structural engineering, civil engineering, etc). The main requirements are:
1. Educational Qualifications
Generally, you’ll need to prove that you have at least an undergraduate university level qualification in engineering. Engineers Australia has a special qualification assessment pathway for applicants who are publicly registered and recognised as engineers by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), in accordance with the Washington Accord and the Sydney Accord. It’s important that your registration as an engineer with ECSA matches the engineering skill you want assessed – if they don’t match, then you’ll have to complete a Competency Demonstration Report.
Under the Competency Demonstration Report pathway, you’ll need to provide a variety of documents that: substantiate your formal qualifications; provide information about your participation in Continuing Professional Development (CPD); and you’ll need to write about three career episodes in a kind of mini essay that outlines how you have applied your learned knowledge of engineering in practice.
2. Practical Experience
While recognition of your formal qualifications is technically enough for you to be positively assessed as an engineer, it is generally also important to have your practical experience assessed. If you have your practical experience assessed, you may be eligible for up to 15 additional points on your visa application (more on this later).
To substantiate your practical experience, you’ll be required to provide ‘primary’ documents from your employer that provide proof of the capacity in which you were employed. You’ll also need to provide ‘secondary’ documents from people other than your employer to show that you were employed for the period you say you were employed.
English Proficiency Test
You will need to prove that you meet the required English proficiency standards of both Engineers Australia and the Australian Government. Engineers Australia accept results from TOEFL iBT, IELTS General, IELTS Academic and PTE Academic. Each test requires a minimum score for successful applications, but if you receive high marks, you may be eligible for an additional 10 to 20 points in your visa application.
The Visa Application & Visa Points
Once you have had your qualifications and skills assessed, and have completed your English test, you’ll be ready to apply for a skilled visa. To be successful in your visa application, you will need to score at least 60 points. These points are based on factors including age, English proficiency, level of qualification, and skilled employment history.
There are a few ways to increase your points: if you score a minimum of 7 or 8 in each of the English test components, you’re eligible for an additional 10 to 20 visa points (but note that unfortunately an average of 7 or 8 doesn’t count). Similarly, you can gain up to 15 additional points for 3 to 10 years of skilled employment in your relevant occupation.
Extra points are also available for being accredited in a community language, or having a partner with a positive skills assessment.
Can I bring my family with me to Australia?
Yes! You can bring your legal partner and/or dependent children along as you share this new experience together.
How long will it take to get a visa?
Processing times usually sit within 7-8 months, provided you have submitted all of the correct information at the first instance.
It can be difficult to work out which pathway is best suited to match your qualifications and skills when you apply for your skills assessment with Engineers Australia. Once you have decided, it can be exhausting trying to gather all the necessary evidence while understanding the requirements. To take the stress out of what can be a long and complicated process if not handled correctly, engage Pathway Lawyers & Migration Agents to handle your skills assessment and visa application.