FAQs for Engineering Migrants to Australia

Engineers – Before asking your question or posting a comment please check this section to ensure your question has not already been answered.


Q 1.

How can I get more detailed information regarding the assessment process, application procedure and a sample of engineering CDR as a guide and reference?

A 1.

You need to read General Skilled Migration Information which is available online from the booklets section of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.Booklet 6: General Skilled Migration

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship web site has the Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) page. This page tells you the eligibility requirements for each occupation category.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website provides more detailed descriptions of typical tasks for your chosen occupation.

The Migration Skills Assessment Handbook  provides specific details on assessment requirements, competency demonstration reports (CDRs), and the format and length of the career episode reports (CERs). Read this from cover to cover before you start writing.

Go to the Qualifications Assessment   page on the tribus lingua blog for information on CDR writing.

Q 2.

Do you know any websites or other sources where overseas engineers will be able to improve their professional and informal English language?

A 2.

Attend activities run by engineering organisations. A good starting point is the Engineers Australia divisions, colleges and special interest group events. These are advertised on their web site. Most are open to the genral public. There are a also a wide range of specialist engineering organisatios such as the IChemE. You will find references to these organisations on the Engineers Australia  website.

The Australia Broadcasting Commission (the ABC) website provides a wide range of videos and podcasts you can download. Engineers Australia also has a range of podcasts available from their technical events

Project Australia – Land that Engineering Job in Australia provides further details and advice on internet searching techniques to find engineering organisations and finding general and technical video and podcasts.

Q 3.

I have done my undergraduate degree in Pakistan in 2005. Previously I completed my Associate Diploma (3years). I have more than 8 years work experience after completing my diploma. How do I choose the category of either professional engineer or engineering associate?

A 3.

If your undergraduate degree is equivalent to a 4 year Australian engineering degree, you should apply as a professional engineer. You will need to do a competency demonstration report (CDR) with 3 career episodes. If Engineers Australia do not accept your qualification or CDR as equivalent to a professional engineer they will advise you of the recognition level as an engineering technologist or engineering associate. The levels are explained in Section A.2 of the Migration Skills Assessment booklet available from the Engineers Australia website.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship web site has the Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) page. This page tells you the eligibility requirements for each occupation category.

Once you have selected your occupation code you need to go to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website to obtain a fuller description of typical tasks for your chosen occupation.

Q 4.

Please tell the ideal requirements of preparing a CDR in terms of number of words and/or pages per episode.

A 4.

The Migration Skills Assessment Handbook provides specific details on the format and length of the career episode reports. Read this from cover to cover before you start writing. Download the handbook from the Engineers Australia website.

As a guide, each CER should be made up of:

Introduction: 50 words
Background: 200 – 500 words
Personal engineering activity: 500 – 1000 words
Summary: 50 – 100 words

Q 5.

How should the continuing professional development be presented? What do they mean by testamur?

A 5.

The continuing professional development (CPD) is only a list of courses, training, professional engineering events and self learning activities you have done since completing your engineering undergraduate course. A three column table would be a simple way to present this information with the date, the activity and the number of hours of CPD you are claiming for each activity.

A testamur is a certificate or official letter which is official evidence of having completed a course or training. Your university degree is an example testamur.

Q 6.

My IELTS scores are L= 6 , R=6 , W=5.5 and speaking 6.5 ( Academic ) with an average of 6, can I apply for qualification assessment of not?

A 6.

An average is not good enough. You did not pass the test. You must have 6 or more in all categories. So you will have to repeat the test within two years of the original test and get 6 or more in the writing segment.

Q 7.

Do I need to submit my IELTS score while applying for skill assessment or can I arrange to report my score after applying for skill assessment. There are two types of IELTS tests (Academic and General ). Which one of these should I take?

A 7.

You must include an original English language test (IELTS) result with your application. You must arrange for this to be forwarded directly to Engineers Australia from the Test Centre.

Unless you are planning to go into teaching, you only need the general test.

Here is an extract from the IELTS handbook.

The Academic Module assesses whether a candidate is ready to study or train in the medium of English at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. Admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses should be based on the results of this module.

The General Training Module emphasises basic survival skills in a broad social and educational context. General Training is suitable for candidates who are going to English-speaking countries to complete their secondary education, to undertake work experience or training programmes not at degree level, or for immigration purposes to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The General Training Module is not offered at all test administrations.”

You can get more information from the IELTS website.

Q 8.

I am the secondary applicant to my wife’s visa application, I would like to know whether my skills need to be assessed or do I need to take any kind of licence in order to work in Australia?

A 8.

You will not need a licence to practice in Australia. In Queensland and in certain industries, such as the building industry, you will need to be registered if you are to take responsibility and approve designs.

It will greatly help your chances of getting a job if you have your qualifications assessed by Engineers Australia. Australian employers are worried about the quality of qualifications from some overseas countries. If you can show Engineers Australia accreditation, it removes that concern.

Q 9.

I have passed BE (Mechanical) in 1999. I have worked as a lecturer from since then in an engineering college. I will complete a masters degree in engineering in three months. Can I apply for general skill migration?

A 9.

University lecturers are not on the migration occupations in demand list (MODL) or any other lists. As you have no engineering experience you will struggle to convince assessors you are an engineer; they will see you as a lecturer. Even if you did manage to get a visa, how would you get a job in the current climate? Effectively you are an old graduate competing against Australians with good English.

Q 10.

If I applied for assessment as a professional engineer and they granted me a lower level, is it possible after arriving to Australia to change the category? I plan to obtain a master degree in a relevant field, would that count?

A 10.

If you migrate as a technologist you can be reassessed in Australia. It may not be necessary to do more study to obtain professional engineer accreditation. With better work experience you could write better career episode reports and obtain accreditation as a professional engineer. Do not pay to do more study without being certain of how it will help you.

Q 11.

I have a South African qualification. Will my qualification is recognised in Australia and in the U.S.A. as well?

A 11.

South Africa is a signatory to the Washington Accord, along with Australia, the USA and several other countries.

This means there is mutual recognition of approved engineering courses between these countries. By going to the Washington Accord website you will be able to check if your course is recognised as being at engineer level by the Washington Accord. You need to visit this site and look up your specific institute and course.

If your course is not recognised at professional engineer level, it may be recognised at associate professional level under the Sydney Accord. You can look this up from the Washington Accord  website. The USA is only a provisional signatory to the Sydney Accord.

Q 12.

I have completed my engineering degree in India and I don’t have any work experience. Can my engineering degree in be accredited in Australia?

A 12.

As your course will not qualify under the Washington Accord you will have to write a Competency Demonstration Report (CDR). Some of the career episodes for your CDR can be based on your university course. This could include projects during the course, summer projects and work experience units. In theory it is possible to be accredited without work experience; in practice it will be difficult.

Q 13.

I completed my undergraduate degree in India and am completing a dual degree at an Australian university. Can I be assessed n my Australian engineering qualification. I do not have any past experience related to my field.

A 13.

If your current studies give you an Australian undergraduate engineering qualification, this will be recognised.

For migration purpose your undergraduate qualification is assessed. You cannot use post graduate qualifications obtained in Australia (post grad. diplomas, masters, or PhDs) for qualifications assessment.

For accreditation of your overseas qualification (not Washington Accord ) you will need to prepare a Competency Demonstration Report (CDR), comprising three career episodes.

Q 14.

I have finished my two years master degree in SAP along with information technology. Is this course come on the MODL list? if yes, what are the other requirements for assessment?

A 14.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship web site has a Australian Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) page. This page tells you the eligibility requirements for each occupation.

You come under the ASCO classification 2231-79 Computer professional (nec). nec = not elsewhere classified. If you go to the occupations in demand list (MODL) you will see SAP programmers listed.

Go to the Australia Computer Society site to see the assessment criteria in the ACS Guidelines.

ACS can only determine MODL occupations from professional ICT experience.

So they will not consider you for SAP, based on your study alone. You need to have you qualifications assessed by ACS and have 4 years relevant experience.

Q 15.

I am graduate in Computer Science & Engineering. I have 2 years
of work experience and currently doing a job as a software engineer.
I want to apply for a PR visa in Australia.

A 15.

First thing you have to work out is what occupation classification you want to apply as, an engineer or a computing professional. Computing professionals are treated differently to engineers. There is a 4 year experience requirement for computing professionals with an ICT degree. There is no work experience required generally for engineers.

You do not meet the requirements for an computing professional. You can verify this from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

As a software engineer you will be considered a computing professional, in the not included elsewhere (nec) category rather than an engineer. Software engineers are not listed on Australia’s Skilled Occupation List (SOL)
Have a look through all the categories on the SOL list and select one that you qualify for (you may be able to choose one that best meets your needs for immigration purposes). Once you have selected an occupational category, go to the ‘How to have your skills recognised in Australia’ and see the requirements under skill level.

The Australian Computer Society assesses computing professionals. Have a look at a diagram at the back of their migration assessment handbook. This illustrates the overlap of engineering and computing professions.