DHA Work Experience Point Changes Explained
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DHA Work Experience Point Changes Explained

The DHA Work Experience point calculations were changed at the beginning of the year with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announcing changes to the work experience points that can be claimed during your Australian Visa application process.

As a result of these changes, a forum member; ‘Frank’ asked a great question about the changes to Work Experience Points.

Frank asked if it was possible to claim this 2 years of work experience deducted by ACS in the skill assessment letter? He had the proper evidence to show DHA that he worked full time, paid and that he did skilled work. From Frank:

Is it possible to claim this 2 years of work experience deducted by ACS in the skill assessment letter? I have proper evidence to show DHA that I worked full time, paid and that I did skilled work.

It was an interesting question. Firstly, it’s August 2020 and the announcement (made in January apparently) was completely news to me. As such, I had to do a little research to dig into the background to franks question in an attempt to answer it.

It transpires that the source of this information was from a migration company called Iscah. I’ve been aware of Iscah for quite some time and they have a good pretty good reputation of sharing factual news and updates.

DHA Work Experience Point Changes

From Iscahs update:

DHA has changed the way that they will assess work experience points for some occupations. In the past, if a person was assessed by some skills assessment authorities (Vetassess, ACS (offshore) etc) the assessing body would determine a “deeming date”. Any work experience that was undertaken prior to this “deeming date” was unable to be counted as skilled for work points. DHA has now CHANGED this policy and instead will allow any work experience that takes place after obtaining the qualifications/work experience (as determined by ANZSCO) to count for points.

Importantly. Iscah also pointed out that “There is no web link as it is a change in policy and published in the DHA policy manual”

Well, that probably explains why this wasn’t common news and it didn’t appear on the feed of the publically facing government websites that I regularly track for posting updates here on Getting Down Under.

Where are the policies held?

So onto the search for said policy. It transpires that the Australian Immigration Department makes policy documents available via a platform called LEGENDcom. Yay! 😃 LEGENDcom is an electronic database of migration and citizenship legislation and policy documents. It is available on a subscription basis through ImmiAccount. It’s also not cheap! Boo! 😒

legendcom subscription
Current Legendcom subscription pricing as of August 2020

So alas, I needed to continue my search for more detailed (and cheaper) information but thankfully after a little more googling I was able to locate a screengrab posted by another MARA agent which detailed the DHA changes to work experience points as published in Legendcom. Note: You may not be able to read the text clearly below so we have summarised the text below.

DHA Work Experience Point Changes
DHA Work Experience Point Changes as explained in Legendcom

DHA Work Experience Points – New Policy

The following is the wording fro the updated Policy:

When assessing periods of skilled employment for the purpose of awarding points, the following must be taken into account:

  • the opinion of the relevant skills assessing authority on the period of skilled employment including the date on which they deemed the applicant skilled; and
  • the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) including any pre-requisite qualifications/work experience relevant to the claimed skilled employment; and
  • any other relevant information (such as employment records and references).

If the skills assessing authority’s opinion would result in the applicant being awarded less points than the applicant claimed in their EOI, then decision-makers should consider the information in ANZSCO and apply the more beneficial outcome in determining when the applicant was working at a skilled level.

In most cases, this will mean that all work after obtaining the ANZSCO skill level (usually a relevant diploma or degree or in some cases 3-5 years of work experience) will count as skilled work experience. If you do not have this skill level directly related to your occupation, you will not benefit from this new policy.

DHA Work Experience Point Changes – Example Scenarios

  1. If a person has an acceptable degree in Marketing and works the required 12 months for a vetassess skills assessment as a Marketing Specialist, DHA would not have previously counted this 12 months as skilled work. Now they will as ANZSCO says only an acceptable degree is needed to meet the Australian standards for that occupation.
  2. Similarly, if an overseas IT graduate works 5 years as an ICT Security Specialist. The ACS would use the first 2 years to meet their own skills assessment standards, leaving just 3 years counting as skilled for DHA points. Now the whole 5 years will count as skilled for points as ANZSCO requires just a relevant degree for that occupation.

Note that if you want to count work experience from your ACS assessment as an overseas qualified person your ACS assessment needs to confirm that your degree was a MAJOR in IT RELEVANT to your occupation and they only deducted 2 years work from your work history in most cases.

Note if you do not have the ANZSCO skill level for your nominated occupation, you are unable to benefit from this ANZSCO definition change in policy.

Did this help Frank?

Yes, it did. Based on my findings my feedback, back to frank was that it is pretty clear, that YES you can claim points but if the Case Officer does not think you were working at a skilled level during those years then they could consider that the experience you have submitted is as non-relevant and you technically overclaimed point.

I took this as a takeaway as there is a lot of non-committal language in the policy update such as “If the skills assessing authority’s opinion would result” and “then decision-makers should consider“. This might be just my historical background working with contracts, however, some of these observations could be a little subjective and open to interpretation.

My personal view was that it’s a bit of a gamble. As mentioned previously, as there won’t be any official announcement from DHA regarding this as its not a change in law but just a change in policy.

Given it’s a policy change, this can be left open to case office interpretation, having said that, if you have strong evidence to support your claim (as Frank did) then I’d be inclined to give it a go.

DHA Work Experience Point Changes – What’s your experience?

This will likely assist many people in claiming work experience to meet any state sponsorship requirements. As in the past, many states copied DHA policy and did not count work obtained prior to a deeming date.

For those who are in the process of applying, we hope the above information is helpful.

For those who have already applied, we’d love to get some feedback from those of you who were able to gain the additional work experience points as a result of the DHA Work Experience Changes.

If you were able to gain additional points, please share your experiences in the comments below.

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Written by Mark

As the founder of Getting Down Under, Mark is passionate about demystifying the process associated with a move to Australia. Having launched Getting Down Under in early January 2006 and made the move to Australia from the UK in the same year, Mark continues to share resources and support for those looking for assistance. If you have a question for Mark, please post in our Community Forums. Please note All information provided on Getting Down Under should be considered in conjunction with our disclaimer. Please seek professional advice if you have any doubts!

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