Builders and Construction Workers: Trades Recognition Australia (TRA)

If you intend to apply for migration to Australia under one of the General Skilled Migration categories, you must have a nominated occupation which is on the Skilled Occupations List at the time you apply. In order to make a valid application, you must have obtained a skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority for your nominated occupation.

The TRA provides national recognition in building and construction trades for permanent residents in Australia and skill assessment in most trades for people applying to migrate to Australia.

The TRA is part of the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business. The Trades Recognition operates nationally, with its central office in Canberra and offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Criteria (also see 'recognition as a tradesperson' below)

An applicant will be considered against all trades classifications under the Tradesmen's Rights Regulation Act 1946 (TRRA trades), and against other trades classifications assessed by TRA under regulations to the Migration Act 1958 on behalf of the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (non-TRA trades).

Assessments in these trades are against specified criteria including:

  • Acceptable formal training outside Australia.

This entails a pass mark in a formal trade test conducted by a government-approved body of that country, and a Trade Certificate or Diploma must be supplied. This test must be preceded by a formal apprenticeship not shorter than 3 years. The applicant must be able to evidence than an apprenticeship contract existed between him and an employer. A copy of the Apprenticeship Contract must be supplied.

The applicant must have been working in the trade for a period of not less than 3 years AFTER completion of the apprenticeship. (A total of 6 years combined.)

If the tradesperson intends to act as Main Applicant for Skilled Migration, he or she must have been in paid employment in the trade (or closely related occupation) for at least 12 out of the last 18 months prior to applying for the visa. He or she must have undertaken the full range of work normally performed by a tradesperson in Australia, and be capable of performing that work in Australia.

This is determined by the:

  • Breadth and depth of knowledge;
  • Range of skills;
  • Variability of operating environment; and
  • Level of autonomy required to perform the set of tasks.

These are defined in the TRA criteria manual approved by the Central Trades Committees under the TRR Act.

Generic Duties of a Builder or Construction Worker in Australia

The full range of the duties of a tradesperson in Australia are considered to include the following:

  • Read common working instructions and technical drawings;
  • Independently plan the method and order of progressing a job;
  • Take measurements and readings using measuring instruments of appropriate accuracy;
  • Mark out, lay out and set up work;
  • Select appropriate techniques, materials, tools, machines and/or equipment;
  • Check and/or test their work in relation to the relevant standards; and
  • Carry out these tasks in a safe and timely manner.

In addition, an applicant's employment experience is considered against the specific duties of individual trades classifications.

Each application is assessed by a Skills Assessor who is a qualified tradesperson and a qualified workplace assessor under the Australian Recognition Framework (ARF). Assessors have access to subject matter, including TRA Criteria Manuals, overseas mission reports and industry competency standards which have been specifically developed for the training and/or assessment of trained tradespeople.

Working on construction sites in Australia

Workers on construction sites are required by law to successfully complete ‘Safety Induction Courses’ before they can work legally on site.

On completion of these one day courses they are issued with certificates, commonly known as ‘Green Cards’ (New South Wales and Western Australia), ‘Blue Cards’ (Queensland) and ‘Red Cards’ (Victoria).

Health and safety induction training completed by construction workers in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland is mutually recognised in those states.


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