How to apply for a skills assessment with ACS?

Australian Computer Society (ACS) is the peak IT representative in Australia. ACS has been delegated the authority to assess prospective migrants with ICT background to ensure that they meet the required standards needed for employment in Australia.

Some of the occupations that require an ACS skill assessment include:

Eligibility Criteria

There are different criteria depending on the level of your educational background, as well as your work experience.

  1. Temporary Graduate

You have to complete an Australian Bachelor Degree or higher, and the degree must be an ICT major and closely related to your nominated occupation. You are not required to have worked in the field.

  1. Post Australian Study Skills Assessment

You must hold an Australian Bachelor Degree or higher. The Australian qualification must be an ICT major and closely related to your nominated occupation. You must also complete 1 year of relevant post-study work experience or complete the ACS Professional Year program.

  1. Skills
    1. If you have a Bachelor Degree or higher and the degree is closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT major, you must show 2 years of relevant work experience in the last 10 years or 4 years relevant work experience anytime in the past.
    2. If you have a Bachelor Degree or higher and the degree is not closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT major, you must show 4 years of relevant work experience anytime in the past.
    3. If you have a Bachelor Degree or higher and the degree is closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT minor, you must show 5 years of relevant work experience in the last 10 years or 6 of years relevant work experience anytime in the past.
    4. If you have a Bachelor Degree or higher and the degree is not closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT minor, you must show 6 years relevant work experience anytime in the past.
    5. If you have a Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree and the qualification is closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT major, you must show 5 years of relevant work experience in the last 10 years or 6 years relevant work experience anytime in the past.
    6. If you have a Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree and the qualification is not closely related to your occupation, and it is an ICT major, 6 years relevant work experience anytime in the past.
  2. RPL
    1. If you have a non-ICT Diploma or higher, you must have 6 years of relevant work experience plus a successful RPL application.
    2. If you do not have any tertiary qualification, you must have 8 years of relevant work experience plus a successful RPL application.

For RPL, you must demonstrate how you acquired your ICT knowledge. This involves submitting 2 project reports. The report must contain details on your career episode and must show ICT knowledge in a working situation.

ICT Major vs ICT Minor

If you have a Bachelor Degree or above, you must complete at least 33% of your studies in computing to be considered ICT Major. For Diploma, Advanced Diploma of Associated Degree, at least 50% of the classes must be in computing to be deemed an ICT Major. A Bachelor Degree or higher qualification is assessed as ICT minor when the computing content is at least 2/3 of the requirements for a major.

Work Experience

To be eligible, the employment has to meet the following criteria:

  • You must work at least 20 hours per week.
  • You must be remunerated for your work.
  • Your employment has to be post-qualification.

Thus, volunteering or research work that is entirely based on thesis will not be accepted as work experience.

The table below will summarise the criteria requirement.

What documents do you need to apply for an ACS skills assessment?

In addition to identity documents, you are required to provide documents to show your qualifications and work experience. ACS has strict criteria on the details to be included in the work reference letter (see sample here). The employment reference letter should include:

  • Start and finish date of the employment (DD/MM/YYYY)
  • Position title
  • Description of the duties
  • Breakdown of any earlier roles
  • Hours worked per week
  • The country where the employment was undertaken
  • Company letterhead and signed by an authorised person for the organisation.

You must also provide pay evidence to substantiate your claims. Payment evidence can include:

  • Official government tax records
  • Payslips with your name and your employer’s name
  • Bank statement with your name and your employer’s name
  • Employment linked insurance/superannuation
What happens if you cannot provide the relevant work reference letter?

Sometimes applicants are not able to provide work reference letter from their employer, which meets the above criteria. There is a range of reasons, but in most cases, it is because the company has ceased operation. In this case, ACS accepts statutory deceleration or an affidavit. However, you must explain why an employment reference letter cannot be provided.

Costs and Processing Times

It takes approximately 8 -10 weeks for the skills assessment to be completed. However, if ACS requires additional documents, it may take longer than the standard processing time.

Temporary Graduate $475
Post Australian Study Skills Assessment $500
Skills (general application) $500
RPL $550

Above are some of the critical information you will need to apply for a skills assessment with ACS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How many years of employment is required?

 An ACS Assessor will review your qualification(s) to determine which ICT units are considered closely related to your nominated occupation and once your qualification(s) have been assessed as outlined above, the assessor will then determine the amount of relevant work experience required to meet the suitability criteria.

Q. What evidence are we required to provide?

 For information on what we require to assess an employment period please see here.

Q. What if I don’t have all my documents ready, can I apply and then submit the later?

 If you do not have all of your documents ready to go, do not submit your application, this will be deemed as not decision ready and finalised as an unsuitable outcome.

Q. Which ANZSCO code should I nominate?

 The ACS are unable to advise you on which ANZSCO to nominate as this is something that must be determined by the applicant. The relevance of your experience and qualifications can only be determined at the time of formal assessment by an authorised assessor.

Q. I have applied under XXX for one of my clients. The assessor comes with an ANZSCO recommendation which is the same one that I have nominated for my client. Let us know if it was a mistake on your side?

 It’s highly unlikely. An assessor might suggest another ANZSCO code from the same group for some cases but not the exact ANZSCO code for new recommendation.

Q. For the 12-month work experience requirement after the completion of an Australian bachelor’s degree, would you accept two references? For example, 6 months from each employer within related ANZSCO (Analyst Programmer and Applications Developer)?

 Yes, multiple experiences are also acceptable. The total experience must satisfy our requirements (e.g. 12 months of closely related experience after the relevant Australian Bachelor or above degree for PAS- Post Australian Study application). Please note ACS cannot comment on ANZSCO alignment of the roles without seeing the detailed employment references.

Q. I was working for Company A and received a positive skills assessment for it on 1st Jan 2020I left Company A on 1st Jan 2021 and started working for Company B. During this time, my ACS result expired, and I intended to file a new application on 1st Jan 2023. I am unable to update the end date for employment of Company A as it was the current company during my previous ACS application. Should I just add supporting documents for company A till 1st Jan 2021 and leave the end date as is? Or should I add a new employment record and add Company A details from the time last time it was assessed till the last working date of Company A?

There is no need to add a new employment record for Company A. All you need to do is provide additional documents to support your claim for Company A until 1st Jan 2021, if employment with required documents is found satisfactory, ACS will amend the date as per the additional documents.

Q. I had a positive skill assessment for System Analyst from Company ABC. Then I did another skill assessment for the same role at the same company, and it was not successful for the second time. Could this be an error?

 This is a subjective question. There could be many reasons for not accepting the previously accepted experience. ACS Guideline and criteria changes could also result in changed outcome. Every time an applicant submits a new application, ACS will go through the entire assessment again and can have some observations based on new guidelines or any provided documents like a reference letter or pay evidence, this can also lead to the changed outcome.

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