The Skilled Migrant – Determining Deemed Qualified Date

September 1, 2017
Iain MacLeod

Under the new Skilled Migrant rules that were formally released this week but which I have had a copy of for some time, applicants now face a somewhat complicated issue when claiming points for work experience under the Skilled Migrant Category.

The Government has now introduced what is effectively a “deemed qualified date”. I suspect many people, including Immigration Officers, are going to have a lot of trouble working out when that date occurred. Under the new rules, anyone trying this application process themselves has to become familiar with the Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) reference material. This “book” is a list of all the occupations known to these two Government departments and provide task lists for them.

Only work experience that is Skill Level 1, 2 or 3 as recorded in ANZSCO will now qualify for work experience points (with some exceptions but I won’t go there).

You will be required to identify the occupation that most closely matches your claimed period of work experience.

Once you have done that you’ll notice that ANZSCO records that a particular qualification such as a degree or diploma or certificate is required to be deemed qualified or (usually) some period of work experience may substitute for that qualification. More higher-level/skilled work experience tends to require a Bachelor Degree or higher, or five years of work experience can substitute for it.

Where the applicant does not have the listed relevant qualification, they must deduct five years of their Skill Level 1, 2 or 3 work experience from their overall work experience claim.

Where an applicant has both the relevant degree and more than the minimum years of relevant work experience, the rule book is meant to say they get to choose which they want to use to be deemed qualified.

In a situation where an applicant completed school, went to university, obtained a degree for example and then began their career, it’s relatively simple, i.e. you would be deemed qualified and would claim you were based on when you got your degree.

If you have no degree you must deduct a few years of skilled work experience from your claim.

If you fished school, went to work and then say completed a degree when you were older, it becomes far more problematic.

Take for example, a 38 year old who completed a Bachelor of Commerce in 2012 but had been working as a Marketing Manager since they were aged 27.

They have 9 years of work at Skill Level 1, 2 or 3 as a Marketing Manager and let’s also assume they have a job in New Zealand as a Marketing Manager.

They must therefore decide whether they use the Bachelor Degree as the deemed qualified date and only the five years of post-qualification work experience since 2012 or they deduct five years of work experience from the 9 years that they have, leaving 4 years of work experience for which points can be awarded.

This gives two very different outcomes and could be the difference between success or failure. If the applicant went with option 1, their points look like the following:

Age 30

Degree 50

Work experience 50

Job offer 50

Total 180

If they went with the second option, then their points are:

Age 30

Degree 50

Work experience 20

Job offer 40

Total 140

Another complication that has been introduced into the process is that the degree must be deemed “relevant” to the occupation listed in ANZSCO. So what happens if, for example, in the example above, the applicant’s Bachelor of Commerce was in Economics but they have worked as a Marketing Manager? Is that going to be deemed to be relevant by an Immigration Officer or not?

The rule book now suggests that Immigration Officers should look at the “major” in determining the answer. But how much of a degree is a major and how much is a minor? And what happens if, for example, one-third of the subjects were marketing-related, one-third perhaps accounting and one-third economics? How will Immigration Officers determine whether that is relevant or not relevant to working as a Marketing Manager?

One suspects, inconsistently.

What has been delivered to us in terms of the Skilled Migrant Category is a level of complexity we have never seen before. Applicants are going to have to be able to justify against ANZSCO job descriptions why their employment is deemed to be Skill Level 1, 2 or 3 and then to demonstrate by way of evidence that the work periods they have claimed points for are a very close match to it. I will make a very bold but easy prediction right now – rejection rates for those selected from the Pool and decline rates for those who file Resident Visa applications will go through the roof.

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