New Year, new Australian immigration changes: VETASSESS updates for 2010

VETASSESS' new requirements and
the cancellation of February's
practical have made 2010 eventful.

While the scheduled MODL review has yet to be announced, 2010 has still already been an eventful year for migration updates made by various departments and bodies that are set to have a lasting impact on the Australian immigration process.

Today, I'll look at changes made by one of the major skills assessing bodies for tradespeople, Vocational Education and Training Assessment Services (VETASSESS).

New requirements for VETASSESS applicants introduced

As of 1 January 2010, the requirements for VETASSESS applicants have changed. We've covered these in a previous blog, but I'll summarise the changes again here, as well as the recent details VETASSESS provided. 

All applicants to VETASSESS will now be divided into one of 4 groups, with each of these groups using different methods of meeting the requirements. It's best understood by clicking here to visit the VETASSESS page which specifically explains how to identify which group you fall into.

Depending on which group they fall into, applicants will now need to have the following in order to receive a positive skills assessment through VETASSESS:

  • A qualification that is in a 'highly relevant field of study' to your nominated occupation*; AND/OR
  • Between 1 year and 3 years (depending on occupation) of 'relevant employment' to your nominated occupation.

*Depending on your nominated occupation and which group you are in, you may be able to substitute the qualification that is in a 'highly relevant field of study' for between 2 years and 3 years of relevant employment.

As we noted before, this does set the bar higher for VETASSESS applicants, demanding that they be far more specific in demonstrating their experience and study as it directly correlates to their nominated occupation.

February VETASSESS practical assessment cancelled for the UK

Without warning, VETASSESS have cancelled the scheduled practical assessment for the UK that was set to take place in February. VETASSESS have said this is due to “programming difficulties”, which may well have centred around securing dates and placements at venues in the UK.

The next UK practical assessments are scheduled between the 2nd and 30th of June, and as always, dates are available on a 'first come, first served' basis. However, with February's cancellations, please bear in mind that June is set to be even busier than usual.

Alternatively, should you have an urgent need to have your practical before June (perhaps due to an impending critical birthday), it is vital that you research alternative options.

Such options include travelling to another country to take the VETASSESS practical there (provided the timing permits, as the earliest that international practicals are scheduled for is April), or choosing an alternative visa application such as the sponsored subclass 457 visa route or under the Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS).

Please note though, the ENS is a pathway that is only suitable for workers in certain occupations due to specific licensing requirements. Therefore, you should consider seeking consultation from a registered migration agent or Australian immigration lawyer before pursuing one of these pathways. 

As a caveat, we have seen that VETASSESS may be willing to offer a full refund to applicants who confirm that they wish to withdraw from the assessment process as a result of the practical being cancelled. Please contact them directly to discuss whether you are eligible for this option.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.