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Migration Expert Australia Explains TRA Changes Affecting Work Visa Applicants

Migration Expert Australia has clarified what Australian work visa applicants should be aware of when preparing their applications, as a result of new changes announced by Trade Recognition Australia (TRA) on January 1, 2010 on the TRA website:

All applicants under Subclasses 885, 886 and 487 with trade occupations assessed by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) will now be subject to a four-step “Job Ready Program” pathway. A brief overview of the four-step process is set out below:

Step 1 – Provisional Skills Assessment

The information provided by the TRA regarding this provisional skills assessment indicates that the actual processing has not changed from the guidelines in place before 1 January 2010.

However upon obtaining a positive skills assessment, applicants are not able to move forward with an application for permanent residence. Rather, they will be able to apply for a Skilled Graduate Temporary Visa, Subclass 485. This visa type will entitle them to an 18 month temporary visa which will permit them to build up the required period of work experience in order to seek permanent residence down the track.

Step 2 – Job Ready Employment

As the holder of the Subclass 485 visa, candidates will be required to accumulate at least 12 months of relevant skills and experience in the Australian workplace. In order to meet this requirement, there will be significant contributions on the part of Australian employers by way of Employer Registration, adoption of appropriate Employment Contracts and a Workplace Log.

Step 3 – Job Ready Workplace Assessment

Once a minimum period of job ready employment has been satisfied, candidates will be able to register for a Workplace Assessment to be conducted by a TRA approved assessor in the candidates’ workplace. The purpose of this assessment is a practical test of the candidates’ ability to perform the tasks/duties of their nominated occupation.

Step 4 – Job Ready Final Assessment

Upon completing all the previous steps of the Job Ready Program, candidates are then able to seek a final assessment from the TRA which can then be used for the purpose of obtaining permanent residence through the Skilled Independent or Skilled Sponsored (onshore) categories.

So what does all this mean in practice?

The initiative behind the Job Ready Program provides the potential for the Australian work visa category to better cater for skilled shortages in Australia by requiring applicants to demonstrate appropriate skill sets to qualify. By adopting this four-step process, it is likely that only genuine applicants will embark on the (now) lengthy pathway to obtaining permanent residence.

However the Job Ready Program has resulted in significant policy changes and it is likely to have a serious impact on the ability of current Subclass 485 visa holders to qualify, particularly if they have less than 12 months validity remaining on their visa. In addition to disadvantaging current Subclass 485 visa holders, there are several other grey areas which require clarification:

• Will skills assessments obtained from the TRA prior to 1 January 2010 still be valid for potential onshore skilled candidates to use? If yes, will there be a transitional validity period?
• When will full details, including processing times and costs, for each stage be released?
• What level of involvement will be required by the Australian employer in order to satisfy stages 2-4 of the Job Ready Program?
• Will holders of a Working Holiday Visa Subclass 417 still be able to qualify for the Subclass 487 visa as their visa is only valid for 12 months and therefore this may affect their ability to work through the four stages of the Job Ready Program;

The questions raised above are not an exhaustive list of matters which require further clarification.

As the policy changes have only recently been adopted, neither the TRA not DIAC has made detailed announcements as to how the above concerns will be handled. It seems like the next 18 months will be an interesting period for onshore skilled migrants hoping to use their trade qualifications to obtain residency!

Important Note:
The changes set out above do not apply to offshore skilled applicants nominating a trade occupation under the Skilled Independent Subclass 175, Skilled Sponsored Subclass 176 or Skilled Regional Sponsored Subclass 475. However please note that all applicants in these categories nominating a trade occupation will be required to demonstrate that they have been employed in their skilled occupation for at least 12 months in the 24 month period immediately prior to lodging the visa application.

For further information and advice on visas and travelling or migrating to Australia, contact Migration Expert by visiting

About Migration Expert:
Migration Expert is an online provider of visa and immigration advice and services. The Company has been operating since 2002 when it began its Australian visa services and has since helped people from all over the world apply for visas to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.


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