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Old Apr 14th 2016, 2:13 am   #1
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Post Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Hello all,

I figured it was time I made a post about a Plumbers journey from the UK to Australia, after struggling for three years to find the correct information when it comes down to licences, gap training, skills assessment and visa points etc. Hopefully this can help other tradies too, but I am speaking mostly from a Plumbers point of view.

What is our background?

My partner is 26 years old and has worked as a Plumber in the UK for almost ten years, having also spent three years as a Supervisor too. He has City and Guilds qualifications including Level 2, NVQ Level 2, Level 3 and NVQ Level 3 certificates. I am just the wife, also known as head researcher We moved to Sydney in August 2015 on a temporary working visa so we could sample the life before committing to PR.

Process Overview

As a starting point, you will need to do the following if you are looking at getting a PR visa as a tradesman:

1. Check your occupation is on the Skilled Occupation List. From memory, the main trades on the list are Plumbers, Electricians, Mechanics, Welders, Fitters, Bricklayers, Carpenters and Joiners. See https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/...ions-lists/SOL for the full list.

2. Got an occupation on the list? Now see your visa options. The most preferable skilled migration visa is the Skilled Independent Subclass 189, as you do not need sponsorship from an employer or state, you can live and work anywhere in Australia and have all the entitlements of a resident. However, you will need 60 points straight off the back, which I will go into more detail further down. If you don't reach 60, you can look at sponsorship visas that will give you extra points e.g. state sponsorship is 5 points and regional sponsorship is 10 points. You can also opt for the English test which can give 10-20 points depending on your score. I will also go into more detail about the English test further down (a very sore subject which I think most will agree?!)

3. Once you have found your desired visa and know what points you have/need, the process beings... first stop is a skills assessment. More information is further down.

4. Rack up your points to reach 60 before submitting your Expression of Interest.

5. Submit your EOI, get an invitation, lodge your application along with medicals and police clearances and hopefully receive your grant. Then the fun REALLY begins! If you want more info about the general visa process, see other posts on this forum, I am just giving an overview.

6. Once you are in Australia, as a tradesman you will need a licence to legally work in your trade. As a Plumber in New South Wales, the minimum requirement is a Tradesperson Certificate, but you would have to work under some supervision. If you want to run your own jobs, be self employed or work as a supervisor, you will need an Individual Contractor Licence and/or Qualified Supervisor Certificate. For these, you need the Aussi qualifications - this is where gap training comes into it. If you come on a temporary visa and therefore haven't needed to do your skills assessment yet, it is a good idea to do this beforehand anyway as it will help with getting your licence and Australian qualifications. See more info below.


The Points System

As of April 2016, points are awarded as follows:

Age

18–24 years = 25 points

25–32 years =30 points

33–39 years =25 points

40–44 years = 15 points

45–49 years = 0 points

English language ability

Test results must be no older than three years immediately before the day on which the visa application was made.

Competent English = 0 points

Proficient English (band 7 on IELTS, 65 on PTE) =10 points

Superior English (band 8 on IELTS, 79 on PTE) = 20 points

Skilled employment

Only 20 points can be awarded for any combination of skilled employment in and outside Australia

Outside Australia: skilled employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation


In skilled employment for at least three but less than five years (of the past 10 years) = 5 points

In skilled employment for at least five but less than eight years (of the past 10 years) = 10 points

In skilled employment for at least eight and up to 10 years (of the past 10 years) = 15 points

In Australia: skilled employment in your nominated skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation


In skilled employment for at least one but less than three years (of the past 10 years) = 5 points

In skilled employment for at least three but less than five years (of the past 10 years) = 10 points

In skilled employment for at least five but less than eight years (of the past 10 years) = 15 points

In skilled employment for at least eight and up to 10 years (of the past 10 years) = 20 points

Qualifications

Doctorate from an Australian educational institution or other doctorate of a recognised standard = 20 points

At least a bachelor degree from an Australian educational institution or other degree of a recognised standard = 15 points

Diploma or trade qualification completed in Australia = 10 points

An award or qualification recognised by the assessing authority in the assessment of the skilled occupation = 10 points

Australian study requirement

One or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications awarded by an Australian educational institution and meet the Australian study requirement = 5 points

Other factors

Credentialled community language qualifications = 5 points

Study in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area (excluding distance education) = 5 points

Partner skill qualifications = 5 points

Professional year in Australia for at least 12 months in the four years before the day you were invited to apply = 5 points

Nomination/sponsorship (where required)

Nomination by state or territory government (visa subclass 190 only) = 5 points

Nomination by state or territory government or sponsorship by an eligible family member to reside and work in a specified/designated area (visa subclass 489 only) = 10 points


At present, my partner has 30 points for age, 10 points for qualification (NVQ recognised by VETASSESS in skills assessment) and 10 points for 5+ years skilled employment in the UK. First main advice is make sure you start counting employment from the date you were considered skilled, this is usually on qualification of your NVQ Level 2. We are applying for regional sponsorship for the remaining 10 points after choosing not to continue the IELTS/PTE English test.

The Skills Assessment

For a Plumber, you do your skills assessment through VETASSESS. See Trade Occupation Migration Skills Assessment - VETASSESS. The first step is the training and employment check. Gather all your qualifications, employer references, payslips, P60's, resume, work photographs.. basically every piece of evidence you can think of to prove you can work in your trade. Get copies of everything, have them certified and put together into a formal portfolio. Our training check was processed very quickly compared to reading other peoples experiences (see my timeline), and we put this down to having an "easy to read" and organised portfolio. Just make sure it is in a logical order, everything is certified and you link your evidence to the units of competency for the Australian qualification. Units of competency that they compare to can be found at https://training.gov.au/Training/Det...7-33613be2f2ed
Make a cover page for each evidence, for example introduce your qualifications and bullet point the units of competency for the Certificate III in Plumbing that your NVQ's match... e.g. "working safely in the construction industry" from the Aussi qualification matches the "maintain a safe working environment when undertaking plumbing duties" on your NVQ units certificate. Make it easy for them!
Send it off and then you should receive a successful training and employment check if they think your skills and experience are equal to the Australian standard. Now time for the practical assessment.
My partner did his at Blackburn College, but I think most of them are held in London. At the time we worked ourselves up a bit thinking it would be difficult, but if you are a good Plumber and you have the knowledge then you will sail through. It involved doing basic tasks whilst an assessor watches you - it sounds daunting but it was very laid back and the assessors were easy going and helpful. They do want you to pass, so they will help you if you need it. If you want more information about what was involved, PM me.
If you pass the practical then you will receive an Offshore Technical Skills Record. This lists all the units of competency you are deemed as competent in when comparing to the Certificate III in Plumbing. It should also state your recognised qualification under "training qualification" which would entitle you to the 10 points for qualification.

The English Test

If you have already done some research into this you will notice that it is not a favorable topic for migrants. As an English native speaker, do not for one second think that you will pass with flying colours. It is just a money making scheme that people will keep paying into because they need the points. My partner first did the IELTS, along with British medical doctors that were on their 5th and 6th attempts. We were told "off the record" that the scoring and marking of the English test is fixed, as a way of controlling immigration. If all the skilled workers passed the test first time and left the country to start a new life, how many skilled workers would be left in the UK? Fixing the scores controls the balance of skilled workers in and out of the country. But hey, let's not start a debate.. that's my personal experience and my opinion which is what this forum is for. We have decided to go for regional sponsorship for the remaining 10 points so we do not waste any more time or money on the test. Please note, I know some people have had positive experiences with the English test but as other tradies will agree, using pen and paper and writing essays on a daily basis is pretty much non-existent for a manual worker such as a Plumber.

Licence and Gap Training

This is really the main motive behind me writing this post, as this is probably the most frustrating and complicating part - hopefully it will help another Plumber now because I could have really done with seeing a post like this three years ago! So let's just assume you have done your skills assessment and got your visa and you have arrived in Australia. The first and easiest thing to do is get your white card. This is similar to the CSCS card from the UK that allows you to enter a construction site. We went through Blue Dog Training as it was an online course which saved having to do to a test centre. It's basically a couple of hours worth of answering health and safety questions, looking at pictures and identifying the hazards etc. It doesn't matter which state you choose for the white card because they are all nationally recognised. We chose WA and have never had a problem with entering sites.

The next step is to apply for your provisional tradesperson certificate from NSW Fair Trading. See Builder_and_tradespeople_forms. The provisional will allow you to work as a Plumber under supervision whilst you complete gap training to work towards your full licence. You will need your OTSR from your skills assessment to be granted a provisional. Once granted now you can apply for jobs and legally work as a Plumber.

The next step is to arrange gap training in order to receive the Certificate III in Plumbing. Now read carefully... NSW Fair Trading say to "see TAFE NSW" on their website. When you email Fair Trading, they say to go through TAFE. Now cut a long story short, we followed their advice when we first arrived and booked a meeting to see the Head of Plumbing in a TAFE campus. He reviewed his OTSR, qualifications, references (we basically provided the same portfolio as we did for the training and employment check, so make sure you keep a copy of this). He was really impressed so we thought great, we can have this done in no time. Turns out it would cost nearly $10,000 and could take between 6-12 months. Baring in mind the whole four year apprenticeship only costs $12,000. It would also mean having to take a day off work each week to attend TAFE as they do not run night/weekend classes. We were really frustrated. Then along came a work colleague.. he completed his Certificate III through Qualify Me, who use an RTO called Train n Trade. It cost him $4000 and took six weeks. You can also add on the Certificate IV which is the requirement for a Contractors licence and Supervisors Certificate for a total of $8000 for both qualifications (would be $10,000 if done separately). I wanted to verify that this would be accepted by Fair Trading, as you would be issued a nationally accredited qualification by a registered training organisation just like TAFE.
This is where the confusion started. Over email, Fair Trading consistently said gap training HAD TO BE DONE WITH TAFE. I advised Qualify Me of this who were not happy at all, and spoke to Fair Trading on the phone. They said their advisors should not be recommending any RTO's to clients. I also rang them up myself saying I had completed the qualifications with Train n Trade via Qualify Me and asked is this was suitable to receive the licence - they said no problem and it didn't matter it was not completed with TAFE as long as the RTO was registered and current.
I have figured that when you state you are just looking into gap training, they go on and on about TAFE, maybe they have some sort of agreement to recommend the institution. However when you say you have already completed the training with another RTO, they are happy to grant the licence.

So we are in the process of doing the training with Qualify Me and so far no problems. They just request all your evidence for recognition of prior learning, which is again the same training and employment check you did for the skills assessment plus any evidence of current employment in Australia such as photos. You may need to work as a Plumber for a few months to get some Australian work experience evidence so they can recognise you for as many units of competency as possible. Basically, similar to the skills assessment they match all your skills and experiences against the competencies for the Australian qualifications. They tick off as much as they can, then wherever there are gaps, for example my partner has not done drainage in the UK, then he would attend evening classes to complete the gaps. This is much more flexible than TAFE. You can take as long or as little as you want and do not have to attend every class, so long as you complete the remaining units by gathering evidence.
I will update you once we have completed all the RPL and been issued with the qualifications.

So to sum up the licensing process, get your OTSR, white card and provisional licence and apply to any RTO that offers gap training in the Certificate III and/or IV in Plumbing. Complete RPL and any remaining gaps, be issued with the qualification then apply back to Fair Trading for your full licence. Please note, if you do the Certificate IV to get your contractors licence, you will need two years Australian plumbing experience too. So our plan is to apply for full tradesperson certificate using Certificate III, working for another 12 months as a Plumber and then upgrading to a contractors licence.


If you are a Plumber or another tradie feel free to ask questions and I will try to help based on our experiences. Even if you are not a tradie and require advice for the general migration process I am also happy to answer questions. If you have been through the process and wish to share your experiences with others, you can also post here too.

Thanks for listening and hope I can help
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 2:55 am   #2
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Thanks for posting.

I am sorry that your hubby is having trouble with the English test, I agree that sometimes people who do not use their literacy skills every day have trouble getting top marks, but that does not mean there is a conspiracy or deliberate marking down to slow emigration.

It is a literacy test and many people, including me, prepare for half an hour before, finish in a fraction of the allotted time and come out with full marks on the first attempt. I say this because I believe that there needs to be balance to the IELTS scare stories.

You say let's not debate, but if you don't want to start a debate well don't post your theories, you cannot expect to come out with such things and not be challenged.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 3:24 am   #3
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

That's great that you passed first time, like I say many people have positive experiences with the test, but it's not everyone's strength. Anyone can challenge me if they wish, but it is just an opinion. This post is more focused on the Plumbers process, more specifically the licensing and gap training requirements, the English test is not the priority in my post. Thanks.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 3:53 am   #4
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa-93 View Post
That's great that you passed first time, like I say many people have positive experiences with the test, but it's not everyone's strength. Anyone can challenge me if they wish, but it is just an opinion. This post is more focused on the Plumbers process, more specifically the licensing and gap training requirements, the English test is not the priority in my post. Thanks.
Not a plumber but still a tradie - passed IELTS academic on second attempt with all 9's (needed all 8's and got 7.5 for reading on first attempt which was admittedly straight after a night shift) but as you say, the English is not your focus.

Licensing and gap training should have come up on your research before moving but nevertheless, if you moved on a temporary work visa is your OH working on 457? He may be able to get points for Australian work experience if he has worked with employer for that which would increase points to 55 and open state sponsorship possibilities.

It should also be noted that requirements vary from state to state in how gap training requirements are fulfilled.

Also, it was my understanding that licensed trades need skills assessment now for 457 but could be wrong.

It may be worth checking out the plumbers section of the forum, where there are a few plumbers posting - Plumbers - British Expats
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 4:16 am   #5
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

No we are both on 417 visas. Only been working as a Plumber in Australia for ten months before temp visa expires so can't claim for Australian work experience. Yes I've only talked about requirements from NSW, I acknowledge they vary in each state but can't advise on any others.

Thanks
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 4:33 am   #6
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

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Originally Posted by Lisa-93 View Post
No we are both on 417 visas. Only been working as a Plumber in Australia for ten months before temp visa expires so can't claim for Australian work experience. Yes I've only talked about requirements from NSW, I acknowledge they vary in each state but can't advise on any others.

Thanks
Still a very good post for everyone in general and plumbers specifically

What area are you hoping to end up in?

Edit - for others reading the Vetassess option is only open to some countries, and I think Vetassess is only one of the companies doing recognised trade assessments. The others would be Victoria University and Future Skills I think.

Last edited by old.sparkles; Apr 14th 2016 at 4:36 am.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 4:41 am   #7
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Thanks We are looking at Northern Inland at the moment.. maybe Tamworth? Any recommendations?
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 4:47 am   #8
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

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Thanks We are looking at Northern Inland at the moment.. maybe Tamworth? Any recommendations?
Sorry, no. Only visit to NSW has been a brief one to Sydney.

It may be worth asking in the main forum section though. There are a few posters living in other areas of NSW, both north and south I think
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 4:52 am   #9
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Great thanks!
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 7:09 am   #10
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Hi Lisa-93.

My husband is also a time served career plumber & gasfitter . 5 years + to advanced level equivalent to degree level. 30 years under his belt when we emigrated.
He is now also a craftsman plumber and gasfitter in New Zealand. Not without a lot of stress, money . Being made to feel inferior & all that guff.

My husband is also quite high end dyslexic so an IELTS test would be a complete nightmare for him even though he loves words & reading . Nothing wrong with his IQ either . Top ten percent.
Using pen ,paper and math is an everyday occurrence for a plumber in NZ. They need to check rules, regs and codes for starters. Read building plans and more. His method is to memorise. Spend time and take a whole lot of care. We use multi-sensorial methods to help .

I believe the IELTS tests are to ensure that migrants coming in are able to communicate efficiently & to be able to be a part of a community as a whole. Not marginalised by lack of language.

This is not a bad thing but for people like my husband , whose first & only language is English it would be prohibitive.

So I get the need for the IELTS test but I deplore those that don't seem to understand that some people struggle with their own language & may not be the best at this. Not everyone is.

Wonderful helpful post BTW so thanks for putting it up.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 10:30 am   #11
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Bevs, I trust that comment was not directed at me? Because I have said that I understand that not everybody can pass IELTS easily. But to claim that most will struggle with it and there is a conspiracy in which people are being deliberately failed to generate money and keep immigration numbers down, (things OP claimed) is scaremongering. I have seen a lot of people on here over the years that are terrified of taking IELTS because they keep reading these horror stories.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 12:23 pm   #12
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

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But to claim that most will struggle with it and there is a conspiracy in which people are being deliberately failed to generate money and keep immigration numbers down, (things OP claimed) is scaremongering.
I agree. The theory that IELTS is rigged to keep immigration numbers down is preposterous. There are many reasons someone takes IELTS not related to immigration: to apply for study overseas, or employment for example.
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 9:40 pm   #13
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Thanks for your post Bevs, my partner is also dyslexic, so it's best we just go down another route for points. I am going to repost this again without the English test component because I think everyone's responses are going to be about that and not about what I originally posted for. But thanks for your views
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Old Apr 14th 2016, 11:54 pm   #14
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa-93 View Post
Thanks for your post Bevs, my partner is also dyslexic, so it's best we just go down another route for points. I am going to repost this again without the English test component because I think everyone's responses are going to be about that and not about what I originally posted for. But thanks for your views
If your husband has been diagnosed dyslexic you may be able to get some concessions - have a chat with the testing organisation.


You will probably find the thread goes back to plumbing at some point as the thread title is specific to that.
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Old Apr 15th 2016, 12:18 am   #15
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Default Re: Are you a Plumber wanting to move to Australia? Read me for advice!

Thanks for the post!
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