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May 2, 2023

Job Ready Program: the ultimate guide

What is the Job Ready Program?

The Job Ready Program is a government pathway for international students who have recently obtained a certification by studying in Australia at a CRICOS-registered institution. The JRP is only compatible for jobs for which Trades Recognition Australia (assessing authority) is competent. According to TRA, the JRP represents an opportunity to demonstrate one’s skills before accessing migration programs.’.

Job Ready Program Introduction

Individuals who study professional courses in Australia in order to obtain permanent residency must also obtain an official recognition that attests to the relevant work experience gained upon completion of their studies.

The Australian Government, through its specialized body, Trades Recognition Australia, has created a post-study process that serves to obtain a Skills Assessment in the shortest possible time. Skills Assessment is, in fact, an official recognition of one’s profession based on educational qualifications and experience.

Even those who have not studied in Australia can obtain a Skills Assessment, but the years of experience to be demonstrated after their studies are much more than those who use this official government program called the Job Ready Program.

All students who have recently obtained a certification by studying in Australia at a CRICOS-registered institution can participate, which is commonly referred to as a “CRICOS license” in technical jargon.

Of course, the Job Ready Program is only compatible for those professions for which Trades Recognition Australia is a competent assessing authority. For example, chefs are administered by TRA, so they can participate in the program, while engineers are not.

Here is the complete list of professions compatible with the TRA Job Ready Program:

  • Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic,
  • Automotive Electrician,
  • Baker, Boat Builder and Repairer,
  • Bricklayer,
  • Cabinetmaker,
  • Carpenter and Joiner,
  • Chef,
  • Cook,
  • Dental Technician,
  • Diesel Motor Mechanic,
  • Electronic Equipment Trades Worker,
  • Glazier,
  • Hairdresser,
  • Joiner,
  • Locksmith,
  • Metal Fabricator,
  • Motor Mechanic,
  • Nursery person,
  • Painting Trades Worker,
  • Panel Beater,
  • Pastry-cook,
  • Sheetmetal Trades Worker,
  • Solid Plasterer,
  • Wall and Floor Tiler,
  • Welder.

To quote the precise words of this government entity, the Job Ready Program represents an “opportunity to demonstrate one’s skills before accessing migration programs.”

This program consists of four distinct phases, which we will now see in detail one by one.

Here are both the official names of the four phases and the corresponding costs for each one to be paid to the entity:

  1. Preliminary phase: JRPRE – Job Ready Program Registration and Eligibility – $200
  2. Collection of post-study work experience: JRE – Job Ready Employment – $450
  3. Examination at the workplace: JRWA – Job Ready Workplace Assessment – $2,540
  4. Final bureaucratic phase: JRFA – Job Ready Final Assessment – $65

The total cost of the program is therefore $3,250.

According to the TRA guidelines, migration agents can only assist in the preliminary and final phases (JRPRE and JRFA), but not in the two central phases, during which the entity communicates directly with applicants and employers.

JRPRE: The preliminary phase of the Job Ready Program Registration and Eligibility

This phase generally runs parallel to the application for the 485 visa – Post Graduate.

It is important not to confuse the two programs: the Post Graduate visa is a post-study visa that grants additional time in Australia at the end of studies.

This phase is quite simple: the purpose is to verify the applicant’s identity, the presence of residency rights, and the validity of the passport. These are the requirements for this first phase:

  • Valid passport
  • Having or having had a Student Visa (Subclass 500) as a primary visa holder
  • Having completed and obtained a qualification related to the profession that is nominated for the JRP program

The average waiting time according to TRA is about 90 days.

Attention: when applying for the Post Graduate Subclass 485 visa, before being able to obtain approval, it is necessary to attach confirmation that this phase has been completed and verified. In fact, this phase is also called the Provisional Skills Assessment. It is possible (and indeed, in many cases, necessary) to apply for the Post Graduate visa before receiving the outcome of this phase, but the Department will accept the visa only once this phase is complete.

Job Ready Employment (JRE) – Collection of Post-Study Work Experience

This phase requires the applicant to gain post-qualification work experience for a total of 863 hours over a minimum period of six months. This experience must be paid and, above all, directly related to the nominated profession and the degree obtained. For example, a Certificate III + IV in Commercial Cookery requires evidence of experience as a chef.

To participate in this phase, the applicant must:

  • Have four months (or less) remaining on their Student Visa relating to the course they studied, or
  • Have a visa (or bridging visa) with full-time work rights that guarantees a minimum stay period in the future and full-time work rights of at least 12 months (such as the Post-Graduate Visa or the Covid Visa, but not the Student Visa or Training Visa).

Once TRA confirms that the preliminary JRPRE phase has been approved, the applicant is provided with access to a menu in their TRA portal, which allows them to start uploading proof of the experience gained, i.e., six months of employment (at least 863 hours of work within six months). A maximum of three months before applying for the JRE phase can be counted (but note that previous experience is possible only if it was with the same employer with whom the JRE phase was registered).

The documents required are:

  • Payslips (note that they must all be in a single PDF file)
  • An Employer Verification Report (EVR) for each employer named in the Job Ready Program. This report is a simple form with specific information regarding the work being carried out. Each profession has its Employer Verification Report, and they can all be found here: https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/employment-verification-report. The form is only five pages long, and the manager/supervisor can complete it very intuitively.
  • A copy of the current visa and/or associated bridging visa
  • It is necessary to update TRA each time a change of employer occurs.
  • Attention: there cannot be more than five different employers during the 863 hours in six months.

Although 863 hours are required to complete Phase 2, a total of 1725 hours (exactly twice as many) must be accumulated over the 12 months and four phases. Let’s look at some important clauses:

  • It is not possible to include periods of paid or unpaid leave.
  • Part-time experience can only be counted pro-rata.
  • If the 1725 hours are accrued before the 12 months, it must still be demonstrated that work has continued until the 12 months are reached.

To be considered valid, the work must:

    • be registered with TRA through an Employer Verification Report;
    • not have already been used to obtain other skills assessments from TRA or any other body;
    • be directly related to the profession for which the applicant is seeking a skills assessment;
    • have an arrangement between the applicant and the employer – not necessarily a contract, but at least payslips and payment of superannuation.
    • Casual employment is acceptable as long as it is legal.

It is possible to use work classified as sub-contractor (i.e., using one’s own ABN) provided that:

  • It can be shown that the type of work corresponds to the same type of work performed as an employee;
  • The 863 hours can be completed with a single contractor;
  • The contractor agrees to sign the Employment Verification Form.

At times, the applicant will be required to provide TRA with a document called the “SPR.” The term is an acronym for Skills Progress Report and constitutes a self-assessment report that the applicant completes to demonstrate progress with skills. The applicant must submit an SPR every time:

  • The relationship with the same employer has extended beyond six months from the start of the JRE;
  • The employment relationship with an employer ends before starting a new one;
  • Requested by TRA via email. Each Skill Progress Report is different for each profession and can be found here: https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/skills-progress-report

This self-assessment is also short (5 pages, with boxes to tick) and is completed and signed by the applicant, although it must be counter-signed by the manager/supervisor, who can add comments.

Proof of work experience: Payslips must always include:

  • Employee’s name
  • Employer’s name
  • Employer’s ABN
  • Number of hours worked
  • Hour rates
  • Gross pay
  • Dates of work performance If requested by TRA, bank statements must also be kept and shared for possible double-checking.

If work is classified as sub-contractor using the ABN, the invoice must include:

  • Own ABN number
  • Dates of work performance
  • Number of hours billed for each job
  • Total number of hours billed
  • Name of the business to which the invoice is sent
  • ABN of the business to which the invoice is sent

Job Ready Workplace Assessment (JRWA)

In this phase, a Trades Recognition Australia official personally verifies the applicant’s skills in the workplace. To access this phase and book the practical exam, Phase 2 (JRE) must be completed and confirmed. Once the request is approved, TRA selects an assessor and contacts the applicant and supervisor to arrange a suitable date and time, and confirms the location of the exam.

The applicant will be able to know in advance:

  • What tools they will need for the test
  • What specifically will be asked of them during the test The exam is generally short. If one or more parts of the exam are unsuccessful, it is possible to repeat only the parts that the examiner deemed insufficient.

Job Ready Final Assessment (JRFA)

The name of the final phase generally raises doubts as it implies that there is an exam, but in reality, this phase is a simple collection of documents, in particular, the evidence that, from the beginning of the program:

  • All previous phases (JRPRE, JRE, and JRFA) have been completed.
  • A total of 1725 hours of work has been completed in no less than one year (this total also includes the 825 hours required for phase 2, JRE).

Therefore, the following documents must be uploaded:

  • Payslips
  • Employer Verification Report
  • Skills Progress Report (self-assessment)

Once the application is completed, a positive Skills Assessment is received in about 45 days, which can be used for:

  • Independent Visas (Skilled Visa)
  • 186 Direct Entry Visa
  • Regional Skilled Visas


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