A skills assessment is a way of providing evidence to the Department that your skills have been assessed as suitable for your nominated occupation. The standards by which a person is assessed as having suitable skills for a skilled occupation are set by the relevant assessing authority.
An assessing authority is a person or a body that is specified by legislative instrument to undertake skills assessments.
The question of whether a skills assessment is required for an Australian visa is a complex one and the answer will depend on your individual circumstances.
For some categories of visa such as the Skilled – Independent (Subclass 189) visa and the Skilled – Nominated (Subclass 190) visa, a skills assessment from the ‘relevant assessing authority’ for the nominated occupation is mandatory for all applicants.
In other categories of visa such as the Skilled – Regional (Provisional) (Subclass 489) visa, a skills assessment from the ‘relevant assessing authority’ is mandatory only for applicants applying under the First Provisional Visa stream.
The situation becomes more complex when there are different requirements within the one stream. For example, the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) which contains three streams, the Agreement stream, the Temporary Residence Transition stream and the Direct Entry stream. Only the latter (the Direct Entry stream), has a formal skills assessment requirement, however, within that stream there are exceptions and a formal skills assessment is only required for a selected number of trades and occupations and where the applicant did not obtain the necessary qualifications in Australia.
The Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa is another complex area when it comes to skills assessments due to the Department’s requirements under policy. In most cases a formal skills assessment may not be required but certain applicants must apply to either a registered training organisation approved by TRA (Trades Recognition Australia) or in certain limited cases VETASSESS.