Skip to main content

The contents of this article are correct as at 12 August 2008 

Applicants for points tested skilled migration (visa subclasses 175, 176, 885, 886) may be eligible for 10 bonus points if they have worked in their nominated occupation, or a closely related skilled occupation, in Australia, for 12 months in the four years immediately before they apply. Points will only be awarded if the work experience meets the rigorous DIAC criteria set out below.

Located in Australia

The primary place of employment must be within Australia. If the role requires regular travel outside Australia a continuous link to Australia would need to be demonstrated.


The work must have been performed by the applicant for a financial benefit. It is expected that the applicant would have been paid the market rate for such employment, as befits someone working in a skilled occupation. The Department will not count unpaid professional experience, or work performed for a scholarship, living allowance or charity, as work which is eligible to attract the bonus points.

Hours worked and length of employment

The applicant must have worked for a minimum of 20 paid hours per week. 20 hours a week means 20 hours each week – not irregular periods that average out to 20 hours a week over a year.

The applicant must have been employed for a minimum of 20 hours per week for at least 12 months out of the 48 months immediately before lodgement of the visa application.

Experience in a skilled occupation

The applicant must have worked in the occupation they nominate on their skilled visa application, or a closely related occupation. Such work experience will only be recognised by the Department if the applicant meets the entry level requirements for performing that work.
For example, to be a Systems Designer, the entry level requirement is a Bachelor degree or higher, or at least 5 years relevant experience. If an applicant worked in a systems design role while completing their bachelor degree, and while studying a Masters degree in IT, DIAC will only count the work undertaken after the academic requirements of the bachelors degree are met for the purposes of attracting bonus points.

It is also a requirement that the duties and responsibilities of the work performed, be at the level of depth and complexity expected in Australia for that skilled occupation. For work experience to be counted the applicant should have performed the full range of duties which make it a skilled occupation.

Lawful work experience

Employment in Australia, which would otherwise attract bonus points, will not be counted unless the applicant held a visa with permission to work during that period and complied with the conditions of their visa.

Evidencing Australian work experience

In order to claim bonus points for Australian work experience, applicants should provide the following evidence:

  • Australian Tax Assessment Notices for the relevant period of work
  • Payslips
  • Contracts of employment
  • Detailed letters of reference on company letterhead
  • Superannuation records
  • Visa label showing permission to work for the relevant period

It is part of our service to assist clients with the preparation of such evidence. We can advise you on the types of evidence you need to for your visa application and can assist in the preparation of detailed letters of reference to ensure that they contain the information required by the Department to process an application and award bonus points. 

In a future article we will address the Department’s requirements for recognizing overseas work experience.