Trades Skill Assessment – Major Update

Many people are surprised at just how difficult it is to obtain a positive skill assessment.

If you’ve been working as a self-employed plumber for the last few years then your assessment should be a breeze, right? WRONG!

You need to meet strict requirements regarding the level and timing of your qualification and nature of your work experience.

We’re contacted every week by people who have failed a trade skill assessment for one reason or another. Very often they’ve lodged the application themselves, without the guidance of an experienced migration agent and have fallen short of the strict requirements.

Some people get their trade recognised by the TRA (this is known as the ARTC) but this is NOT a skill assessment.

It’s a minefield when you’re doing it for the first time. It is also expensive, so if you’re going to do it then you need to do it right!


At the moment, Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is the country’s skills assessment service provider. However, the TRA outsource some assessments to Vetassess and Victoria University. This includes plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers and electricians from the UK, Ireland and South Africa, just to name a few.

It depends on your trade and passport country, but approximately 80% of the trades on the shortage list are currently assessed by TRA.

As of April 28th 2014, things will be changing, with more trades being assessed by Vetassess and Victoria University.

Lots of people find it hard to pass the TRA because they’re required to hold an NVQ2 in their chosen trade AND have three years of post-qualification experience. You can get around this by achieving an AFQIII qualification (this costs approximately $3,000), however, you still need to have six years of experience in total, with three years’ supervised and three years’ skilled.

If you have been self-employed for most of your trade then you are unlikely to pass the TRA.

Work Experience

For the TRA, your work experience must also include 12 months out of the last 36 months.

With Vetassess, you can achieve a positive skill assessment with a qualification and two years’ work experience or just five years of work experience. You must have been working in the profession for at least 12 out of the last 24 months.

Over at Vic Uni, they require three years of full time work experience and, like Vetassess, it must include 12 out of the last 24 months.

Processing Times

Applicants are often stunned at the length of time it takes to process a skill assessment. If you know that you need a positive result in order to apply for your visa then do not leave it until the last minute.

The assessment must be done before you lodge a visa application, so if you are nearing the end of a second Working Holiday Visa and think you can get your skills assessed in a week, think again!

The TRA processing time is at least 12 weeks, with Vetassess and Vic Uni taking 6 to 10 weeks.


As we said earlier, having your skills assessed doesn’t come cheap. You certainly won’t want to do it more than once!

TRA – $1,000 fee
Vetassess – $2,000 – $2,100 fee (depending on the occupation)
Vic Uni – $1,950 – $2,500 fee (depending on the occupation)

An experienced migration agent can assist you in preparing for your skill assessment and ensure that your documents are in order before proceeding. Imagine how frustrating it would be to lose $2,500 over what could be a minor mistake!


TRA have paper-based applications.

Vetassess and Victoria University have a two-step assessment, being a paper-based submission followed by a technical interview over Skype (or a practical assessment day if you’re in a licenced trade).

Victoria University applicants that are required to participate in a practical day are required to travel to Melbourne for it.

Contact True Blue Migration

If you’re looking for a migration agent to assist you with your visa application and everything that’s involved then contact the professionals at True Blue Migration today.

Get in touch now to find out how we can help you contact us