Australia/China: China joins engineering accord, easing migration path to Australia

China has become a full signatory of the Washington Accord, a development that will make it more straightforward for professional engineers with an accredited qualification in China to obtain a Migration Skills Assessment outcome through Engineers Australia.

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What does the change mean? The Washington Accord is an international agreement among the organisations responsible for accrediting engineering degree programs. For Australian migration purposes, obtaining a positive Migration Skills Assessment outcome is significantly easier for engineers from countries that are signatories to the Washington Accord or other specified international agreements. The change will ultimately make it easier for professional engineers who obtain an accredited engineering qualification in China to seek to apply for a number of different Australian visa subclasses.

  • Implementation time frame: China became a signatory on 2 June. Accreditation under the Washington Accord applies only for qualifications completed the year a country gains full signatory status and thereafter.
  • Visas/permits affected: The process will become easier for affected engineers to meet the relevant skills assessment criteria for a number of Australian visas, including several of the employer-sponsored and general-skilled migration visa categories.
  • Who is affected: Professional engineers who have obtained an accredited qualification in China and Australian employers looking to hire them.
  • Impact on processing times: The change makes it significantly easier to obtain a positive Migration Skills Assessment outcome, which should speed overall visa processing (subject to eligibility).
  • Business impact: Australian businesses should have an easier time identifying professional engineers holding an engineering degree qualification (obtained in mainland China) recognised as being comparable to an Australian bachelor-degree level qualification in engineering.

Background: China, represented by the Chinese Association for Science and Technology (CAST), joins Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States as a signatory of the Washington Accord.

In Australia, signatories to the accord (or to the related Sydney Accord or Dublin Accord) can obtain a positive Migration Skills Assessment outcome without having to compile a Competency Demonstration Report, an onerous process that involves providing documentary evidence of both core engineering knowledge and demonstrated application of skills in the nominated occupation.

BAL Analysis: While the accord only applies to engineers who complete the requisite qualifications this year or after, it is a welcome development for Australian employers and engineers holding a Chinese accredited engineering qualification. Irish employers may also be able to rely on the accord for purposes of supporting foreign engineering qualifications.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

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