New Australian program to help immigrant engineers find jobs

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According to Australian-based private educational chain Navitas Workforce Solutions, only one in two overseas-trained engineers can get work in their field. In order to address this issue they have teamed up with Engineers Australia to create a new program focusing not only on aspects of technical training but also workplace culture, communication and job-finding skills for Australian immigrant engineers. Engineers Australia is a national group of more than 85,000 members working in all disciplines of the engineering industry.

Currently, only 50 percent of overseas-born engineers working in Australia are working in their field of expertise, compared to 63 percent of Australian-born engineers, according to Engineers Australia statistics. In 2010 there were around 9,000 foreign-born engineers in Australia, of which about 2,500 are on Australian temporary visas under the General Skilled Migration Program (GSM).

"The key issue people from overseas have is understanding the Australian workplace - what they might expect in the Australian workforce and how best to fit in," said Catherine Chaffey, general manager of Navitas Workforce Solutions.

The program will be available for up to 20 engineers every couple of months. The first course, which ran in Perth in January, had participants from China, Iraq, Pakistan, Columbia, India, the Philippines and the UK. The program is open to all qualified overseas-trained engineers with work rights in Australia including those with permanent residency.

Chaffey said Navitas would consider extending the program to engineers and other occupations elsewhere in Australia so long as there was local demand. She added that Navitas had delivered its professional year programs to over 3000 students, with over 70 percent employed in their fields within six months of completion.

If you would like to apply for an Australian visa and are a qualified engineer you can apply under Australia's GSM program. GSM is for professionals and other skilled migrants who have skills in particular occupations required in Australia and who are not sponsored by an employer. Australian Immigration uses a Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as part of their points system. In order to qualify for skilled migration to Australia, you must nominate an occupation from the SOL.

The following are occupations listed on the SOL for Engineers:

  • Engineering Manager
  • Electrical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • and more

In order to qualify for one of these occupations, applicants must have a level of skill commensurate with a bachelor degree or higher. In some instances relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification. Registration or licensing may also be required.

Before emigrating to Australia as a skilled migrant you need to have your skills assessed by the relevant assessment authority for your occupation. For this occupation you will need to be assessed by Engineers Australia. They assess professional qualifications in engineering for the purposes of skilled migration to Australia.

Once you have your positive assessment letter from Engineers Australia, you can apply for the skilled migration visa electronically and count your assessment points in the points test in order to qualify for the visa.

If you would like to apply for an Australian visa, can help. is a specialist visa consultancy with over twenty years of experience dealing with visa applications. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.