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Skill Assessment Guidelines- Welfare Worker

ACWA conducts a skills assessment for applicants seeking to migrate to Australia as a welfare or community worker under the occupation Welfare Worker.

ACWA also provides migration points test advice for those seeking to determine whether they meet the Department of Immigration and Border Protection migration points test. For migration points test advice guidelines please click here.

Advice for applicants for particular regions and countries
Based upon our experience, the following cautions and concessions are offered to prospective applicants.

Many applicants from Asian and African countries are very experienced in working with communities, and some applicants have held very senior positions involving policy development, management of large programs, and/or research, but if they do not also have some experience, ability (or qualifications) in helping with individual problems as counselors or caseworkers, they are probably not suitable for ‘welfare work’ in Australia. In this case other categories on the Skilled Occupation List, such as ‘policy analyst’ or ‘social professionals’, might be more suitable. Applicants with experience of large programs management may be eligible for assessment as Welfare Centre Manager.

Some applicants, especially from North America, have qualifications and experience as a psychotherapist or counsellor. But unless there is evidence of ability to also work with communities and groups they are probably not suitable as welfare workers in Australia. Other categories on the Skilled Occupation List might be more suitable, for example, counsellors of different kinds.

Many applicants from Europe (such as Germany and the Netherlands) have qualifications or experience in ‘social pedagogy’ involving work which is educational in focus and dealing with people with disabilities or those in conflict with society. This does not usually correspond directly with welfare work as practiced in Australia, but many such workers do have enough in their coursework or work experience to be assessed as suitable for welfare work in Australia. Such applications may involve providing evidence of the content of courses and/or work experience. Applicants with experience of large programs management may be eligible for assessment as a Welfare Centre Manager.

Assessment guidelines for Welfare Worker - ANZSCO CODE 272613

ANZSCO Definition of Welfare Worker – 272613
Assists individuals, families and groups with social, emotional or financial difficulties to improve quality of life, by educating and supporting them and working towards change in their social environment.

Minimum requirements
There are three different pathways for applicants seeking assessment as a welfare worker. However all new applicants must, at a minimum:
  • Have a diploma level (AQF level 5) or higher qualification in community services, human services, human welfare or similar
  • Be able to demonstrate English language proficiency.
English language proficiency
Applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency by providing evidence of one or more of the following options:
  1. An IELTS score of level 7 in each band (general or academic) at any test session over a period of 12 months, within the three years prior to the submission of an application to ACWA.
  2. Fully educated (for at least 10 years in formal schooling) in a country or citizen of a country with English as the main or official language. This includes Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, United States of America, Canada and New Zealand (Countries approved for Department of Immigration and Border Protection English Language requirements).
  3. Completed study conducted in English at the level of bachelor degree or higher in one of the countries listed above.
  4. Completed at least two years full time (or part time equivalent) employment at the required skill level with English as the primary means of communication in one of the countries listed above. Please note most support worker roles only require a certificate level qualification and employment at this level will not be considered as evidence of English language proficiency at the required skill level.
The assessor may seek additional evidence to support or supplement any of the above categories.

Assessment Pathways
The two categories available to applicants are:
  • Category A (ACWA accredited qualification): This pathway can be used by applicants who have completed a diploma or higher ACWA accredited course, or a course completed overseas that is recognised by ACWA.
  • Category B (Other relevant qualification): This pathway can be used by applicants who have completed a diploma or higher non-ACWA accredited course in community services, human services, human welfare or similar and a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
  • Category C (Previously ‘suitable’ skills assessment holders): This pathway can be used by returning applicants who have previously obtained a ‘suitable’ skills assessment from ACWA (formerly AIWCW) for the purposes of applying for a visa under the DIBP’s General Skilled Migration program. Applicants whose certificate has expired within the last two years can apply for a new skills assessment via this pathway. If you wish to apply using Category C please follow the link for the relevant Returning applicant guidelines.

Category A – ACWA accredited qualification

Assessment Criteria
Graduates of an ACWA accredited diploma course or higher may be assessed under this category, providing all assessment criteria are met. Overseas qualified applicants may also use this pathway if their qualification is recognised by ACWA.

Category A assessment criteria are:

  1. Completion of ACWA accredited diploma course or higher or a course completed overseas that is recognised by ACWA and equivalent to an AQF level 5 diploma qualification or higher.
  2. English language proficiency

ACWA accredited course requirement 
An applicant is deemed to have graduated from an ACWA accredited course if the course was accredited by ACWA for the entire duration of the applicant’s study. All ACWA accredited course are listed on our course finder.

Recognised courses outside Australia
Applicants graduating from overseas courses recognised by ACWA can apply for a skills assessment under Category A. Recognised courses are deemed to be of equivalent standard to an ACWA accredited course at a minimum of a diploma level. Search the list of recognised overseas qualifications here.
             
Documents to be submitted with application   
  • Certified copy of qualification (or letter of completion) from an educational institution showing start date and actual date of when the applicant was deemed to have completed the requirements of the course
  • Certified copy of academic transcript of results
  • Certified copy of letter from your educational institution showing details of field placements (evidence of total 400 hours in two different placements)
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • Certified copy of biography page of passport
  • If application is submitted via an agent, a signed authorisation form
  • If applicable, certified copy of evidence of name change

If you are unsure about document certification you can find an explanation here.

Category B – Other relevant qualification (ORQ) and two years of relevant professional work experience

Assessment criteria
Applicants who have completed an other relevant qualification may be assessed as suitable under this category, providing additional assessment criteria are met.

Category B assessment criteria are:
  1. Completion of an ORQ (comparable to AQF level 5 diploma or higher).
  2. Minimum of two years of relevant full-time (or part-time equivalent) professional work experience at the required skill level.
  3. English language proficiency
The work experience requirement for applicants with an ORQ is in place in order to ensure an applicant is able to demonstrate practice at the required skill level. For example an applicant who has completed a Master in Sociology may not have covered counseling and casework in the qualification. However, the applicant may demonstrate the achievement of such competencies through relevant work experience.   

Definition of other relevant qualification
Other relevant qualification (ORQ) refers to a non-ACWA accredited course of study that is comparable to an AQF level 5 diploma or higher in community services, human services, human welfare (or similar), and qualifies an applicant to practice at the required skill level.

Definition of relevant professional work experience
Relevant professional experience (at the relevant skill level) is defined as work which involves the provision of direct service to clients at an individual, group, family or community level as well as influencing welfare structures and systems on a societal level. Relevant professional experience can be paid or voluntary, but volunteer work experience must be supervised by a suitably qualified professional. The relevant professional work experience must be at an appropriate skill level and must equal or equivalent to two years of full-time work.

Definition of skill level
An applicant claiming relevant professional work experience must be able to demonstrate that the work practice is at the relevant skill level. Certain jobs like personal care and support work may not be suitable as they may not require a tertiary qualified worker and may only require the worker to perform activities like accompanying clients, cooking, bathing, washing, providing recreational support etc. Examples of occupational titles that have previously been found to not meet the requirements are: disability support worker, recreation assistant, activity assistant, community support worker. However we can only determine that a certain work experience is relevant after we assess it as per the guidelines.

A welfare worker practicing at the required skill level will be regularly and systematically performing a number of key relevant job functions in the course of their work, including:
  • Intake assessment
  • Crisis intervention
  • Counselling and casework
  • Case management
  • Client services – including assessment, referral, counselling and support
  • Program planning and development
  • Family welfare and support work
  • Advocacy and support work
  • Community development work
  • Reflecting and improving upon professional practice
  • High level interpersonal communication
  • Group facilitation
  • Develop and implement intervention strategies
  • Address human rights and social advocacy
  • Influence public policy and legislation
  • Undertake research and conduct social analysis

Documents to be submitted with application 

  • Certified copy of qualification (or letter of completion) from an educational institution showing start date and actual date of when the applicant was deemed to have completed the requirements of the course
  • Certified copy of academic transcript of results
  • Current CV / resume including 2 referees with current contact details, one of which must have been a workplace supervisor
  • Position description for the most recent and relevant work experience
  • Letter from most recent and relevant employer showing details of the position including title, type, whether part-time or full time, and start and end dates
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • Certified copy of biography page of passport
  • If application is submitted via an agent, a signed authorisation form
  • If applicable, certified copy of evidence of name change

If you are unsure about document certification you can find an explanation here.

Application process

If you believe that you meet the eligibility requirements please submit your application for a skills assessment via the online application form.

Please read the guidelines very carefully before submitting an application so that you know what information and documents you need to provide. You will not be able to save an incomplete application and payment needs to be made at the time of submission.

Once we have received your completed application it will take approximately 8-10 weeks to be processed however, if more information is required it may take longer to process. Assessments will not be given by phone or email.

ACWA deals directly with applicants. ACWA will not discuss your application with other people (third parties) unless specifically authorised by you to do so. If you want someone such as a family member or other agent to deal with ACWA on your behalf, you will need to attach a letter signed by you, authorising this person (by name) to act as your agent. Regardless of whether or not an agent is appointed, the address used for correspondence will be that as nominated by the applicant form.

Fast-tracking assessments
If you would like to apply for your full skills assessment to be fast-tracked please contact the assessment team on (03) 9654 8287 after you have submitted your online application. This service is only available to applicants on a case by case basis and incurs a fee of $165 (GST inclusive) if paying within Australia or $150 if paying from overseas.

Application fees (please note fees are non-refundable)
Full skills assessment only (Category A or B ) = $650
Full skills assessment (Category C - Returning applicants) = $585
Migration points test advice, if paying within Australia = $165 (GST inclusive)
Migration points test advice, if paying from overseas = $150

Appeal policy and procedure
If you are assessed as being ‘not suitable’ for the nominated occupation and would like to appeal the decision please refer to the appeal form and ACWA appeal policy and procedure.


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