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Deciding on an appropriate skilled occupation to nominate for the purposes of General Skilled Migration can be very straightforward in some cases and more difficult in others. A person who has educational qualifications, skills and experience in translating would normally select ‘Translator’ as their skilled occupation. However, a person who has educational qualifications, skills and experience in pharmacy may not necessarily be able to nominate ‘Retail Pharmacist’, ‘Hospital Pharmacist’ or ‘Industrial Pharmacist’ as their skilled occupation. In most cases, a person will have a background that can potentially overlap two or even more different areas, making the decision process relating to selecting a skilled occupation difficult and confusing.

Some important considerations when deciding on what skilled occupation to nominate

  • Do you meet all the criteria specified by the relevant skills assessing authority for the occupation, including any work experience requirements that must be satisfied? For example, if you have educational qualifications, skills and experience in a particular field but you decided to change your career path in the last few years you may not be eligible to obtain a positive skills assessment if you do not have recent relevant work experience.
  • If there is a work experience component that must be satisfied in order to obtain a positive skills assessment, have you performed most of the tasks specified in ANZSCO and/or published by the relevant skills assessing authority at the required skill level for the occupation or is some of your experience at a less skilled level or in an area that is not relevant.
  • What are the educational requirements of the relevant skills assessing authority for the nominated occupation and do you need to hold a formal qualification? If you hold overseas qualifications, the comparability of the qualification to qualifications under the AQF framework (Australian Qualifications Framework) will be relevant, thus a bachelor degree awarded by an overseas institution may not necessarily equate to an Australian bachelor degree.
  • Do you need to rely on skilled work experience to claim points for the Points Test or do you only need to meet the requirements of the skills assessing authority. In the case of the former, is the work experience closely related?
  • If you potentially meet the eligibility requirements for skills assessment for more than one skilled occupation, is there a benefit in selecting one occupation over another (such as availability for nomination by a State or Territory government, additional work experience requirements or a higher English language threshold set by a State or Territory government, a higher points cut off score or an occupation ceiling that is close to being reached). There are a whole raft of considerations and it is important to remember to take into account the entire process.
  • If you have previously worked or studied in Australia, will this have a bearing on whether or not you can rely on the work experience or the study?

Some key points to remember

  • Once you have received an invitation to apply for a visa through SkillSelect it is not possible to change your nominated occupation (unless you recommence the process before applying for the visa).
  • If cost is not a factor and you are under tight time constraints (for example due to loss of points for ‘Age’), then it may (depending on the skills assessing authority) be possible to apply for skills assessment in relation to more than one occupation, noting that only one occupation can be nominated for visa purposes. It may be useful to seek professional advice from a registered migration agent in these circumstances as to the cost-benefit.
  • Skills assessment results have an expiry so timing is relevant.
  • Sometimes it is possible that a person cannot nominate a skilled occupation. There can be many reasons for this but to give one example the skills assessing authority may require work experience and the tasks performed in your work experience to date are not at the skilled level.

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