The contents of this article are correct as at 28 June 2013.
Under Australian migration law the Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the designated skills assessing body for ICT occupations. Applicants who do not hold an ICT qualification, or who do not hold an ICT bachelor degree or higher from Australia, must demonstrate a certain period of work experience in order to obtain a positive assessment in an ICT occupation from ACS. The amount of work experience required will depend on the qualification held, as follows:
- Australian bachelor degree or higher in ICT - Exempt.
- Bachelor degree or higher majoring in ICT subjects closely related to the nominated occupation - 2 years in the past 10 years, or 4 years at any time, whichever was completed earlier.
- Bachelor degree in ICT not closely related to the nominated occupation - 4 years at anytime.
- For ICT qualifications below a Bachelor degree, or a Bachelor degree with a minor in ICT - 5 years in the past 10 years, or 6 years at any time, whichever was completed earlier.
- No ICT qualification - 6 years at any time.
- No qualification - 8 years at any time.
The date a person satisfies the ACS criteria for a positive assessment is the date the ACS considers the applicant to have become “skilled”. If the required period of employment is completed before the person’s qualification then the date the person becomes skilled will be the date of completion of the qualification.
The date a person becomes skilled is critical, as only employment past this date will be considered by ACS to be skilled employment for the purposes of migration. Applicants relying on ACS to certify their work experience for the award of points under the General Skilled Migration Scheme will need to show that they have the relevant period of work experience after the date ACS has determined they became skilled. For example, an applicant who holds a bachelor degree with a major closely related to the nominated occupation will need to show that they have at least 2 years work experience to be considered skilled, plus they will need another 12 months work experience in Australia, or three years work experience offshore, in their nominated occupation, for ACS to certify that they should be awarded 5 points for work experience.
Applicants may be interested to note that the occupation classification system used by DIAC, ANZSCO, does not require ICT professionals to have the level of work experience expected by ACS. ANZSCO states that ICT professionals should have a bachelor degree or at least five years of work experience to be qualified to perform skilled work. DIAC policy directs case officers to refer to skills assessing bodies to determine whether work experience is performed at the requisite skill level only where ANZSCO does not provide adequate guidance in this regard.
It will be interesting to see whether DIAC will refuse to award points for work experience where ACS has not certified a person has been working at the requisite skill level, because they have yet to reach their “skilled date”, even though they satisfy ANZSCO criteria for working in the skilled occupation. The law does not appear to permit DIAC to refuse to award points on this basis, so it would certainly be worth appealing any such decision.
If you require assistance with an ACS skills assessment or in relation to ICT work experience, please feel free to contact us.