Claiming Points for Work Experience

When can employment be considered skilled

When assessing periods of skilled employment for the purpose of awarding points, the following will be taken into account:

If the skills assessing authority’s opinion would result in the applicant being awarded less points than the applicant claimed in their EOI, then the department would normally consider the information in ANZSCO and apply the more beneficial outcome in determining when the applicant was working at a skilled level.

While having regard to the opinion provided by skills assessing authorities, the department would also need to be satisfied with the bona fides of the supporting documents presented in making their decision to award points.

The regulations require only that an applicant is employed in a nominated skilled occupation for a particular period of time. The provision does not require the applicant to have skills of a particular standard during that period of employment. The department can consider whether the applicant is undertaking at least some of the duties prescribed for the position in ANZSCO, for example, if a client is claiming employment as a carpenter, the tasks they are undertaking are those of a carpenter.

Overseas and Australian e​mployment factors

The awarding of points for skilled employment factors recognises the benefits of extensive work experience in a nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation in providing for successful labour market outcomes. Relevant Australian and overseas skilled employment in the 10 year period immediately before the date the applicant was invited to apply for this visa can be considered for the purpose of awarding points.

The higher weighting of points able to be awarded for Australian skilled employment recognises the value that firsthand experience and understanding of the Australian work environment can have in assisting migrants to establish themselves in the Australian labour market and settle into life in Australia.

Periods of employment do not have to be continuous as it is the aggregated period of relevant employment experience that will be considered. Therefore, applicants can be eligible for points if their relevant skilled employment is interspersed by periods of non-related employment or other activities such as study.

For example,

if prior to applying for their points tested skilled migration visa an applicant whose nominated skilled occupation is Accountant works for 2 years as an Accountant, then undertakes postgraduate studies for 2 years, then works as an IT consultant for 2 years, then works as an Accountant for a further 3 years, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years employment experience as an Accountant (if the applicant’s relevant employment took place in the 10 years immediately before the time when the applicant was invited to apply for the visa).

Applicants may also be eligible for points for the employment factor if they have both Australian and overseas skilled employment experience.

For example,

if prior to applying for their points tested skilled migration visa an applicant whose nominated occupation is assessed as a registered nurse works overseas for 5 years as a registered nurse then works in Australia on a temporary employment visa for 3 years as a registered nurse, the applicant would be eligible for points based on their 5 years’ overseas employment as well as their 3 years’ Australian employment experience.

However, it is not possible for applicants to combine shorter periods of skilled employment gained while working in and outside Australia in order to meet one of the Australian or overseas skilled employment experience factors. For example, an applicant cannot claim 3 years’ Australian employment by adding together 6 months’ overseas employment experience and 30 months’ Australian employment experience.

The meaning of ‘employed’

Employed is defined to mean ‘engaged in an occupation for remuneration for at least 20 hours a week.’


For ‘remuneration’, the intention is that applicants have been engaged in the occupation on a paid basis. Mere emotional or psychological satisfaction or the acquisition of useful, but unpaid, professional experience is not considered ‘remuneration’ for points tested skilled migration purposes. A person receiving minimal living allowances or scholarships designed to cover expenses would not be considered to be remunerated.

Remunerated at least 20 hours a week

Working for at least 20 hours a week means 20 hours each week generally. However, where employment contracts provide for variable distribution of hours of work that extend beyond a week such as some shift workers, “fly in fly out” workers and seafarers, this can be taken into consideration in determining whether a person has worked ‘at least 20 hours per week.’

To evidence claims, applicants may be asked to provide detailed evidence of their terms of employment and salary payments.

Leave periods

As employment must be for remuneration, only periods of leave on full pay may be counted as time during which an applicant was employed. That means those periods of extended leave without pay (for example, maternity or paternity leave) might not be counted as a period of employment.

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