As a teacher, how do I apply for an Australian skills visa?
In Australia, teachers, especially secondary school teachers, are some of the most highly sought-after skilled professionals. If you’re a teacher, you should consider applying for an Australian skills visa, which will allow you to live and work in Australia, and receive all the benefits of an Australian permanent resident. But before you can apply for your visa, you’ll have to have your teaching qualifications and skills assessed.
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) conducts migration skills assessments for teachers. AITSL has several assessment criteria:
1. Educational Qualifications
Your South African educational qualification must be assessed to be equivalent to at least an Australian Bachelor degree. Depending on what type of schooling you teach (eg early childhood, primary, secondary, special needs, etc), you may be required to show that a certain portion of your qualification was focussed on that type of schooling.
For example, secondary school teachers need to have completed the equivalent of a four-year Australian Bachelor degree, including at least one year focussed on secondary teaching. Special needs teachers, on the other hand, must show they have studied initial teacher education full time for at least one year at University level, and must show that they have undertaken at least another year of full time study of special needs education, with an award equivalent to an Australian Bachelor degree.
No matter what type of schooling you teach, you’ll be required to show that your qualification required you to complete at least 45 days of assessed supervised teaching practice relevant to the type of schooling you teach. This supervised teaching practice generally must have been assessed and completed as part of your qualification – you’ll have to provide evidence from your university or tertiary institution that confirms that you undertook that supervised practice.
2. English Proficiency
As a teacher, you’ll need to prove to AITSL that you have excellent English language ability. You must take the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) English test – AITSL won’t accept any other tests such as the Pearsons test.
Your IELTS score must be at least 7 for both reading and writing, and at least 8 for both speaking and listening.
I have my assessment result, what should I do now?
Once you have successfully completed the assessment process, you can start your application for an Australian skills visa. To successfully apply for the visa, you’ll need 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.
Some types of teachers will be eligible for an ‘independent’ visa, which means that you won’t require sponsorship from an Australian State or Territory. Some types of teachers do, however, require State sponsorship.
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.