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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 two different pathways for applicants seeking assessment as a welfare worker. However all applicants must, at a minimum:
  • Have a degree level 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 degree 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 degree or higher non-ACWA accredited course in community services, human services, human welfare or similar and a minimum of two years relevant work experience.
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Category A – ACWA accredited qualification

Assessment Criteria
Graduates of an ACWA accredited degree 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 degree course or higher or a course completed overseas that is recognised by ACWA and equivalent to an AQF degree level qualification.
  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 the following overseas recognised courses can apply for a skills assessment under Category A. The following recognised courses are deemed to be of equivalent standard to an ACWA accredited course at a minimum of a degree level.

Course
Region
Master of Social Work with a minimum of two years full time study with at least 400 hours of supervised fieldwork placements in two or more placements
India
Bachelor of Social Work with a minimum of three years full time study with at least 400 hours of supervised fieldwork placements in two or more placements
India
Bachelor of Social Work (or similar) studied full time over at least a three year period with at least 400 hours of supervised field education, and which is recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (previously General Social Care Council) in England or throughout the United Kingdom as a qualifying training for social work as evidenced by the issue of their Bachelor Qualification
United Kingdom
Bachelor of Social Work involving full time study with at least 400 hours of field education undertaken at the following institutes: Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Hong Kong, City University of Hong Kong (formerly City Polytechnic of Hong Kong), Hong Kong Polytechnic University (formerly Hong Kong Polytechnic)
Hong Kong
Bachelor of Social Work which includes at least 400 hours of field education from a recognised university in USA or Canada United States of America and Canada
             
Documents to be submitted with application   
  • Certified copy of degree (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
  • Evidence of English language proficiency
  • If application is submitted via an agent, a signed authorisation form
  • If applicable, certified copy of evidence of name change

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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 degree 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 the ACWA core competencies that may not be covered in the qualification. 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 degree or higher in community services, human services, human welfare (or similar), and qualifies an applicant to meet the ACWA core competencies.

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. It relates to the roles and framework of welfare work identified through the ACWA core competencies. 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.
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 degree (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, or which one 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
  • If application is submitted via an agent, a signed authorisation form
  • If applicable, certified copy of evidence of name change

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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 fee of $500 is payable 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. Within 8-10 working days you will receive an acknowledgement email with a reference number which you should quote in all correspondence with ACWA. Please do not make enquiries for a reference number until at least 14 days have elapsed from the time you actually posted your application. Assessments will not be given by phone or email.

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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