Social Workers is one of the occupations that are in great demand in Australia and worldwide.
According to Health Direct of Australia, Social workers are allied health professionals who help people who are in crisis and need support.
The target clients of social workers are elder people, disabilities or people who have suffered from family violence…
Social workers will provide counselling, supporting information, and referral to other services to address the issue.
This is a highly skilled occupation in Australia, and it is currently in very high demand.
Social Work is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) of Australia.
Being listed in MLTSSL can be beneficial for migrants who are seeking for employer sponsorship program which will give them a pathway to Permanent Residency.
This article only discusses the options in the Skilled migration program including 189, 190, and 491 visas.
There are many more occupations that are popular to get Australian PR by Skilled Migration program.
Qualification for practicing as Social Worker
To be qualified as a social worker in Australia, you must complete at least Bachelor course in Social work.
There is no registration required to work as a social worker.
This is recommended to be working as a social worker and getting Australian Skilled Visa (PR).
Most courses in social work provide internship programs during the last year which is very helpful for Skill Assessment and securing job in the future.
Bachelor of Social Work in Australia usually takes 4 years to complete while a master’s degree only takes 2 years.
Please be advised that the pre-requisite for Social work course could be complicated.
You may need to seek professional advice to see if you are eligible for the course entry requirement.
Skilled Migration program - Get PR as Social Worker
There are 3 main streams under skilled migration program which we will talk about later and how social workers can secure one of the three to get their Australian Permanent Residency.
189 Visa – Skilled Independent Visa Pathway
This is a points test based permanent residency visa which requires applicants to calculate their points through the Expression of Interest system.
The minimum 65 points must be met to be eligible to lodge EOI for 189 Visa.
In the recent invitation round, Social Workers with minimum of 65 points received invitations from the Department of Home Affairs to apply for the 189 visas.
190 Visa State Nominated – Permanent Residency
190 Visa is state nominated visa which only happens when applicants are invited by a state or territory to apply.
Each state or territory has its own occupation list and nomination requirements.
Please refer to each state’s website for their criteria.
491 Skilled Regional Visa Pathway – 5-year temporary visa
The state nomination requirement also applies to 491 skilled regional visa applications; however, the other requirements are much easier for 491 visas comparing with 190 visa criteria.
Especially some occupations are not required to have work experience to be nominated 491 visas.
You also have a permanent residency pathway through 191 Visa after meeting certain requirements.
The benefits of 491 visa is that you will have Medicare card even though you have yet a permanent resident.
In the current 2022-2023 financial year, Social Worker is on every single state/territory’s occupation list.
Social Worker as mentioned, is a very demanding occupation in Australia.
Social Work graduates may easily find ways to get Australian PR through a skilled migration program.
Let’s look at an overview of the state and territory’s nomination requirements.
NSW State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
Social Worker is on the Visa 190 occupation list of New South Wales. Applicants need to have been living in NSW for at least 6 months.
NSW just get rid of their minimum points requirement.
This, in our opinion does not make much difference unless there is no applicant with points over 65 or 70 like the last minimum points for social workers.
VIC State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
VIC is open to all occupations this Financial Year. Applicants who meet the standard criteria can apply.
The more experienced you are and the higher points you have, the you are more likely to get an invitation.
SA State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
As always, SA’s state nomination policy is steady and friendly, especially to its international graduates. - if you have been working as a Social Worker in SA in the last 3 months, you will be eligible for a 190.
However, there are more streams for social workers from interstates or offshore to be invited.
Please refer to Move to SA website for more information.
WA State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
WA reduced its entry criteria this financial year. It got rid of the Job Offer and English requirements for its graduates.
WA is becoming one of the most attractive states for the Skilled Migration program in Australia.
ACT State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
Social Workers remain on its Critical Occupation List. However, the 190 Matrix points are relatively high.
TAS State Nomination requirement for Social Workers
The new Attribute system is introduced this year. Extra attribute points can be claimed for Social Workers.
Skill Assessment for Social Workers
The Social Workers’ skill assessment authority is AASW. There are five Criteria that must all be met for a positive assessment for migration and employment purposes:
Criterion 1: The qualification must be a specific qualification major in social work.
Criterion 2: The qualification must be regarded as a professional social work qualification in the country of training.
Criterion 3: The learning outcomes of the professional social work qualification is comparable to the learning outcomes that graduates of AASW-accredited social work qualifications must demonstrate.
Criterion 4: At least 980 hours of field education in at least two placements and with two contrasting practice foci, with a requirement that one placement must be in direct practice.
Criterion 5: English language with only IELTS accepted at 7.0 each band
To most applicants, demonstrating the high-level English skill the biggest challenge in this process.
If you are struggling to get the required English level, then you may be assessed as other occupations, including:
- Community Worker 411711
- Welfare Center Manager 134214
- Disabilities Services Officer 411712
- Family Support Worker 411713
- Residential Care officer 411715
- Youth Worker 411716
The above occupations are assessed by ACWA, which offers an English waiver.
However, those occupations are not included in the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skilled List which may give you fewer PR options.