Refugee Council of Australia
Woman holding ladder in shop

Not Working: Experiences of refugees and migrants with Jobactive

Recognition of prior skills

Recognition of prior qualifications and experience

Some refugees and migrants, especially those who have experienced protracted displacement, may not have had the opportunity to attain qualifications. However, many others were well established in their careers and occupations before coming to Australia.

Despite their skills, most find that the process of having their overseas qualifications recognised within Australia is often lengthy and costly. Currently, there is no one agency or organisation responsible for assessing all overseas qualifications in Australia. Rather, recognition of previous skills differs by State and industry, with overseas qualifications assessed by different authorities across Australia.

Every state and territory, except for NSW, has an Overseas Qualification Unit that assesses overseas qualifications in general terms or provides advice on how to get overseas qualification recognised. However, community feedback reports that the process is complex, costly and time consuming, effectively excluding people from using their skills as illustrated in figure 1 below.

Graph showing skill level before and after migration
Centre for Policy Development, Settling Better

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