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Working in a closely related Skilled Occupation in Australia

The contents of this article are correct as at 8 December 2009

 

Background

An applicant is eligible to receive 10 points towards their points tested skilled migration application if they can show they have been employed in that skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation in Australia for a period totalling at least 12 months in the 48 months immediately before the day on which the application was made.

 

Common issues facing applicants

Many potential applicants working in Australia seem to encounter complications, which may prevent them from being entitled to receive the 10 points.

Recurring issues are:

  • Whether the applicant has worked lawfully in Australia. Some applicants do not pay tax or are not working consistently with their visa work conditions.
  • Whether the applicant has been employed in the skilled occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours per week. Employment for less than 20 hours will not be counted.
  • Whether the applicant has worked in a skilled occupation. A skilled occupation is one specified by the Minister in an instrument in writing. Skilled occupations are set out in the Skilled Occupations List (SOL). A common theme for some people is that they believe that they are performing the duties of a particular skilled occupation, while in actual fact, the work they are doing does not constitute work in a skilled occupation. For example a person may work under the title “Marketing Specialist” or “Marketing Officer”, but their actual duties are customer sales. Another example is where a person is called an “Accountant”, however their work is that of an Accounting clerk.
  • Whether the applicant has worked in a closely related skilled occupation, if they have not worked in their nominated skilled occupation.

 

Closely related skilled occupation

Policy suggests that a ‘closely related’ occupation would usually be a job in the same industry and in which the occupant exercises substantially the same skills and requires the same level qualifications as would be required in their nominated occupation.

It should be highlighted that the ‘closely related’ occupation must also be a skilled occupation found on the SOL.

For example, if an applicant completed a commerce degree majoring in accounting and on the strength of that qualification was employed and performed the duties of an internal auditor, that employment should be considered to be closely related to the nominated skilled occupation of Accountant. This is because they would be drawing on skills in the same subject matter at the same level in both occupations.

For a management role to be considered to be closely related to the nominated occupation, an applicant would need to demonstrate that the duties they performed required them to have skills and qualifications in that field. For example, an applicant who has been working as a Manager in an Engineering firm, who nominated Electrical Engineer as their skilled occupation would need to demonstrate that they drew upon their professional Engineering skills in that position.

Ultimately, each case will turn on its own facts and circumstances. It is strongly recommended that applicants seek professional advice on this question.

Getting this aspect wrong may lead to an unsuccessful application.

If you have questions as to whether you are working in a skilled occupation or closely related skilled occupation, please click Visa Lawyers Australia to contact us.