Frequently Asked Questions
I would like to discuss the application I am preparing with someone at AASW.
Can you advise me if my qualification will be approved?
Due to the complexity of assessments, it is not possible to determine the outcome until a complete assessment of qualifications and relevant supporting documentation has been undertaken.
How long does it take to process my application?
Given the complexity of assessing applications, the times given below are an approximation.
- Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) with New Zealand – three weeks
- Migration applications for new graduates who have completed study at an accredited AASW social work course – three to four weeks
- Temporary Graduate Visa (TGV) application – three to four weeks
- International Qualifications Assessments (IQA) and Skilled Employment (SE) applications – approx 12 - 15 weeks
- Skilled Employment (SE) applications – three-four weeks
- Renewal of previous migration assessments – two weeks
- Duplication of previous assessments for and/or eligibility for AASW membership for employment purposes – two weeks
Can I check the status of my application?
We do not provide progress updates as this takes time away from our assessments.
Is social work a registered profession in Australia?
Social work is not currently a registered profession in Australia. The profession is self-regulated by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Most employers of social workers in Australia require evidence of eligibility for membership of the AASW. As an overseas-educated social worker, you will need to apply to the AASW for a qualification assessment for employment purposes. If eligible, this will provide you with an assessment notice confirming that your overseas qualification has been recognised as comparable to the Australian social work qualification and that you are eligible for AASW membership. You will need to show this assessment notice to employers prior to employment in Australia. An assessment for employment purposes is separate to a qualification assessment for migration purposes but both assessments use the same application form.
What is the difference between a qualification assessment for migration purposes and one for employment purposes (AASW membership eligibility)?
The assessment criteria are the same but the assessment notices are used differently. A qualification assessment for migration purposes is provided to the Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs as part of your visa application to live and work in Australia. A qualification assessment for employment purposes (that is, a statement of AASW membership eligibility) is provided to employers when you are applying for or commencing work in Australia. If you are seeking to migrate AND work in Australia, we encourage you to apply for both assessments at the same time for the one fee. Just tick the box for both assessments on the application form.
What is a Skilled Employment Assessment?
The Department of Home Affairs may award additional points for a relevant skilled employment history. A Skilled Employment Assessment is an additional optional assessment you can apply for as part of your qualification assessment for migration purposes. The AASW can assess your post-qualifying social work employment (i.e. skilled employment) and provide advice to the Department of Home Affairs on whether your claims of work experience equate to work at the appropriately skilled level of a social worker in Australia. If you have overseas qualifications, please refer to page 7 of application form 1 for more information. If you have AASW accredited social work qualifications, please refer to page 2 of application form 2 for more information.
How much does assessment cost?
Our fee schedule lists our assessment costs.
I'm on a working holiday visa and have the legal right to work in Australia. Which form should I use?
You need to apply for a qualification assessment for employment purposes (i.e. for AASW membership eligibility). It is completely your choice but if you are on a working holiday visa we recommend ticking both the migration and employment purposes box on our application form.This will provide you with a migration assessment notice (at no extra cost or time), which you can provide to the Australian Department of Home Affairs at a later date, should you wish to stay in Australia for a longer period of time, or if you wish to apply for a different visa type. Download the assessment application form
My assessment for migration purposes has expired. What should I do?
I have already submitted by application but now I need to submit additional documents so that my application is complete. Can I do that?
You can submit additional documentation. An additional Fee applies. See the Fees Schedule.
If I am registered with the relevant authority in my country of training or employment, am I automatically eligible for membership of the AASW?
In short, no. The AASW must still conduct an assessment of your qualification/s and individual circumstances for comparability to Australian standards for employment (AASW membership eligibility) and/or migration purposes. If you have completed a recognised New Zealand social work qualification, are currently fully registered with the NZSWRB and are eligible to hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC), you can apply under the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA). Applicants who apply under this Agreement are still required to meet the English Language Requirements as per the AASW's English Language Policy.
I trained a number of years ago and completed a two-year non graduate Diploma, which was the social work educational requirement at the time. Will I be eligible?
The AASW can assess qualifications you have completed which are lower than degree level, however you must submit further supporting documentation to provide evidence of how your initial social work qualifying program (in combination with any further relevant studies and paid professional work experience) meets the AASW requirements. This evidence must be verified by a referee. You will need to complete section 6 of Application Form 1.
I have a qualification in one of the following areas (or similar): Social Care; Applied Social Studies; Sociology; Psychology, and I do a lot of the same work as a social worker? Can I be assessed by the AASW and would I receive a positive assessment?
The AASW can only assess your qualification/s as eligible if you have been specifically trained in social work and you are eligible for membership or registration in your country of training (where such a body exists). For example, a person with a qualification in Social Care from the Republic of Ireland is not able to register in Ireland and is therefore not recognised as a social worker. This person would not receive a positive assessment from the AASW based on that qualification alone.
I do not have qualifications in social work. Can I still apply?
No. You will not be able to apply to the AASW, however, you may wish to consult one of the following professional associations if relevant:
Australian Psychological Society
Australian Community Workers Association
I will complete my social work studies next year. Can I apply for an assessment while I am studying?
No. The AASW can only conduct an assessment of your qualifications once you have completed and passed all the course requirements of your social work qualification. The AASW requires evidence of completion before the application process can commence. You can provide a certified graduation certificate as evidence of completion; or a certified letter from your university/educational institution to confirm the completion of all course requirements. Please submit this letter along with the academic transcript and course outline.
I am an international graduate of an Australian AASW accredited course in social work. Which form should I use and what documentation should I attach?
Overseas residents who have completed an AASW accredited social work qualification can apply for:
- Assessment of AASW accredited social work qualifications for migration purposes - use Application Form 2.
- Assessment of AASW accredited social work qualifications for the purposes of a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) - use Application Form 3.
Information about the documentation you will need to submit is detailed in the application forms. A fee applies for these assessments. Please refer to our fee schedule.
Processing times for Application Form 2 and Application From 3 can take up to 3 weeks.
What does Certified Copy mean?
A certified copy is a copy of an original document such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate or proof of identity that has been signed (or stamped) as being a true copy of an original by an authorised person or agency. In Australia, such authorised persons include: Magistrates, Justices of the Peace; Commissioners for Declarations; Commissioners for Affidavits; solicitors; registered medical practitioners; pharmacists, bank managers; postal managers and Australian Public Service Officers with 5 or more years' service. For a more comprehensive list of occupations that can certifey documents, please visit: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-support/applying-online-or-on-paper/on-paper/certified-copy
Outside of Australia the following people are authorised to certify documents: Justices of the Peace, Notaries Public, Australian Consular Officers or Australian Diplomatic Officers (within the meaning of the Consular Fees Act 1955) and employees of the Commonwealth or the Australian Trade Commission who work outside of Australia.
Each copy of a document must be certified separately and must clearly show:
- the words 'certified true copy of the original';
- the signature of the certifying officer; and
- the name and address or provider/registration number (where appropriate) of the certifying officer legibly printed below the signature (the AASW may need to contact the certifying officer so please ensure the contact details are clear).
- certification must occur on the front of the page of the document.
Please send the original certified copy, not a photocopy of the certified copy. Please do not send originals of documents.
What are the AASW's English Language Requirements and are there any exemptions?
All applicants must demonstrate evidence of English language proficiency in the International English Testing System (IELTS) Academic Test through one or two test sittings in a six (6) month period, provided that:
- a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in either one or two settings and
- a minimum score of 7.0 is achieved in each of the four components (listening, reading, writing and speaking) in a maximum of two sittings in a six-month period, and no component score is below 6.5. Where a component score falls below 6.5, the test would not be acceptable.
The AASW may grant an exemption from the requirements where you can provide evidence that you have:
- Completed all secondary education, that was taught and assessed in English, in Australia; Canada; New Zealand, Republic of Ireland; South Africa; United Kingdom; or United States of America, AND
- Successfully completed (with a pass grade or higher) the equivalent of three years or more of full time tertiary study (at Bachelor degree level or higher), that was taught and assessed in English, in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States of America.
You can evidence this by submitting one of the following:
- Certified copy of your secondary education results verifying it was successfully completed, taught and assessed in English OR
- Certified letter from your secondary school or the relevant department of education in the country of study which states that your secondary education was successfully completed, taught and assessed in the English language OR
- If you fail to obtain either of the above documents and are able to show that you have attempted to obtain these, you can then provide a Statutory Declaration stating all of your secondary education details from Year 7-12 inclusive.
The AASW reserves the right to ask applicants to take the Academic IELTS test examination if there is uncertainty about their level of English language proficiency. Read more about English language proficiency requirements.
I am having difficulty obtaining evidence of secondary education. What should I do?
Evidence of secondary education can be verified by:
- Submission of a certified copy of secondary education results, or
- Letter from your Secondary School or the relevant Department of Education, or
- Statutory Declaration verifying that secondary education was successfully completed, having been taught and assessed in English.
I have a three year degree in social work. Will I be eligible?
If you have completed all of the required units of study including field work placements, and if all other criteria have been met, the AASW can assess your three year degree. If the three year degree does not sufficiently meet the AASW learning outcomes as detailed in the application forms, then we may ask you to submit further information regarding your relevant studies or paid post-qualifying social work experience. Please see Application Form 1 for further information.
I have an undergraduate degree and a two year Masters in Social Work. Will I be eligible?
Applicants with an undergraduate degree and an accredited post-graduate social work qualifying degree should submit the required documentation for both periods of study. All applicants need to demonstrate that their Masters was a qualifying Masters not a Masters Advanced which is not a social work qualifying/entry to practise course.
Can the AASW tell me if a particular degree from the program or school to which I am applying has been previously assessed by the AASW?
The AASW does not base current assessments on outcomes of previous applications. We assess each application independently to determine if the program of study completed by the individual applicant is comparable to the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).
What if I am unable to provide all of the required documentation?
If you are unable to obtain all required documentation, please contact the AASW's assessment officer. If you can evidence that all reasonable attempts to provide the required documentation have been made, a Statutory Declaration may be accepted by the AASW in lieu of providing relevant documentation. Please see the frequently asked question relating to Statutory Declarations for more information.
Can I include voluntary work in meeting the Fieldwork placement requirements of 980 hours?
No. Only fieldwork placement that is completed and acknowledged as part of your international social work qualification can be considered against Criteria 4 (fieldwork placement requirement).
A statutory declaration is a written statement that allows a person to declare something to be true. If you intentionally make a false statement in a declaration, you can be charged with an offence. Please refer to the jurisdiction in your country as to the requirements for preparing a statutory declaration. If living in Australia, read this information about statutory declarations.
I'm ready to start my assessment, what should I do?
Please review the relevant application form in detail, and complete the application form relevant to the type of assessment you require.
Can I lodge my qualification assessment application before I arrive in Australia?
Yes. The AASW recommends you lodge your application as early as possible to ensure you receive a timely outcome.
Can I email my application and documentation to the AASW?
No. Applications must be sent via postal mail because AASW requires hard copies of original certified documents.
What documents do I need to supply for assessment of my overseas social work qualification?
Please see the relevant application form for details regarding required information. Different information may be required depending on which application you are submitting and your personal circumstances. A checklist is indicated in the relevant application form listing the documents required to be included in your application.
How are assessments undertaken?
Assessments are made according to the five IQA criteria, which must all be met. International social work qualifications are assessed against the learning outcomes defined in the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards. The AASW can assess the content of combinations of qualifications which you may have, such as certificates, diplomas, undergraduate and post-graduate qualifications in social work. The AASW can also take into account any post-qualifying social work experience you have and further relevant study you have completed, providing you can demonstrate how your study and work experience meet the AASW requirements. Applications must be complete (with completed application form and all required supporting documentation) before an assessment can be made.
What are the possible outcomes of an assessment and can I appeal the decision if the outcome is negative?
The possible outcomes of an assessment of your international social work qualifications include:
- Positive assessment (meeting the AASW requirements for migration or employment (AASW membership eligibility) purposes
- Recommendation to complete additional program of study in order to meet AASW assessment requirements
- Recommendation to seek advanced standing for entry into an AASW accredited social work course in order to meet the requirements.
Information about the above outcomes is provided in each individual assessment.
My assessment was not positive. Can I lodge an Appeal or lodge additional documentation?
If, after a decision has been issued, an applicant wishes to lodge further documentation, a new revised application may be lodged. A new Assessment fee applies. See the Fees Schedule.
Applicants may receive as assessment outcome letter which provides information on the deficits in meeting the Criteria. Recommendations may be made on how to meet the Criteria in the future. These applicants can then lodge a new revised application for re-assessment if the recommendations have been achieved within the timeframe prescribed in the outcome letter. A new Assessment fee may apply. See the Fees Schedule.
Unsuccessful applicants can lodge an Appeal, for the same application and documentation to be reconsidered, by a different assessor. An Appeal Fee applies. See the Fees Schedule.
Am I able to apply for a refund after I have lodged my application?
The AASW general policy regarding fees is that they are non-refundable and a note to this effect is posted on our website and described as follows. “GST stands for Goods and Services Tax, and is applicable to any goods and services transaction made within Australia. Fees are non-refundable and must be paid in Australian dollars. Credit card details must be entered/written in the space provided on the application form OR a cheque/money order payable to the Australian Association of Social Workers must accompany your application form. See the Fees Schedule.