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Skill Assessments for Australian Visa Applications

Skills assessments come in all forms, shapes and sizes.  There are also a number of reasons we have skills assessment procedures in place.

Firstly, there are different skills assessing authorities for different occupations and each authority applies its own assessment criteria and that may be very different to criteria applied to a visa application.  This may create somewhat of a paradoxical situation whereby a person meets criteria relating to obtaining a positive skills assessment, yet their skills and experience may not meet relevant criteria for grant of the visa.

Here is a practical example, VETASSESS group A occupations in some instances require a relevant degree plus one-year work experience.  What if an applicant only has one year of relevant work experience and the purpose of the application is to meet Direct Entry requirements for a 186 visa?

This article will discuss three types of skills assessments, VETASSESS, CPA and TRA.


Having your skills assessed is a requirement for skilled migration to Australia under points tested, employer sponsored, graduate migrant and temporary graduate visas. The skills assessment services offered at VETASSESS will help an applicant to fulfill the requirements relating to skilled migration.

Broadly speaking, occupations are classified as either general professional occupations or trade occupations. Before starting the application, process determine whether the occupation is considered general or trade. For further reading on general professional and trade occupations, follow the links below or use our simple tool to find out whether your occupation is general professional or trade.

Professional occupation assessment involves:

  • Assessment of qualification
  • Assessment of employment

Trade occupation assessment may involve:

  • Technical Assessment
  • Interview
  • Practical component


Visa applications in Australia may require assessment for the nominated occupation by a relevant assessing authority. As a designated assessing authority, CPA Australia provides skills assessment services for the Department of Home Affairs to determine if an applicant meets the educational standards for the following occupations:

  • Accountant (general) – 221111
  • External auditor – 221213
  • Finance manager – 132211
  • Management accountant – 221112
  • Taxation accountant – 221113

CPA Australia can assess for:

  • Full skills assessment: Points tested and employer sponsored visas
  • Provisional assessment: Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) Graduate Work stream
  • Skilled employment assessment: Optional – requires 'Suitable' outcome for full skills assessment.
  • CPA Australia does not award or provide advice on points for visa applications.
  • Processing times are generally under 10 working days (for fully documented and decision ready applications)

It is important to remember that certain subjects are mandatory for a qualification to be considered as relevant.  A quick guide on this can be found here:


Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is a skills assessment service provider specialising in assessments for people with trade skills gained overseas or in Australia, for the purpose of migration and skills recognition.

As part of skills assessment process, TRA offers three distinct types of skills assessments.

1. Job Ready Program

The Job Ready Program (JRP) is for international student graduates who hold an Australian qualification issued by a CRICOS registered training organisation based on studies in Australia.

It is a four-step employment-based skills assessment program that provides your client with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have skills and job readiness are relevant to their nominated occupation, in an Australian workplace before they apply for migration in Australia.

Step 1 - Provisional Skills Assessment (PSA)

Step 2 - Job Ready Employment (JRE)

Step 3 - Job Ready Workplace Assessment (JRWA)

Step 4 - Job Ready Final Assessment (JRFA)


2. TSS Assessment

The TSS Skills Assessment Program is an assessment pathway for applicants applying for a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, who:

  • work in a nominated occupation and hold a passport from a nominated country or Special Administrative Region (SAR);
  • are required by the Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) to have a skills assessment for temporary migration.
  • A skills assessment determines if an applicant has the skills and experience necessary to work in Australia at the trade level for the occupation.


3. Migration Skills Assessment

The Migration Skills Assessment Program (MSA) is for applicants applying for a permanent skilled migration visa in occupations and countries not covered by Registered Training Organisations (RTO) approved by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA).

It is a paper based skills assessment of an applicant qualification/s and employment history to determine comparability with Australian standards for a skilled worker in their nominated occupation.

The MSA program is for migration purposes only. A successful MSA outcome does not result in the awarding of an Australian qualification and cannot be used for employment, licensing or qualification recognition purposes. If an applicant wishes to be assessed for an Australian qualification, they can choose to apply for a skills assessment through the Offshore Skills Assessment Program (OSAP). To be eligible, your client need to be applying in a OSAP nominated occupation and should be able to travel to Australia or an OSAP nominated country for a skills assessment by a TRA-approved RTO

Why do we have skills assessments in place? 

Reasons include:

  • Home Affairs are not experts – certain occupations require assessment by an independent body
  • To verify Skills, employment experience, qualification
  • To advise on suitability for Migration Purpose
  • To prevent any integrity issues

Consequences of having a skills assessment refused or submitting incorrect assessment can be catastrophic for a visa application.  Accordingly, it is paramount the get the process right from the first time.

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