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Frequently Asked Questions

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 Immigration and Border Protection 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 Immigration and Border Protection 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 Immigration and Border Protection 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.

Am I eligible to apply for a Skilled Employment Assessment?

To be eligible for a Skilled Employment Assessment, you must be able to provide evidence for
  • at least 1 year of post qualifying social work experience conducted in Australia or
  • at least 3 years of post-qualifying social work experience conducted internationally (outside Australia)

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 Immigration and Border Protection 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?

Please complete Application form 6 - Application for skills assessment renewal accessible. The application fee is AUD $75 (paying outside Australia) and AUD $82.50 if paying within Australia.

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. Please see section 6 of the application form for further information.

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 thefore not recognised as a social worker. This person would not receive a positive assessment from the AASW based on that qualification alone.

I will complete my social work studies next year. Can I apply for an assessment while I am studying?

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:

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.

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, Justice of the Peace; Commissioner for Declarations; Commissioner for Affidavits; solicitors; registered medical practitioners; pharmacists, bank managers; postal managers and Australian Public Service Officers with 5 or more years' service.

Outside of Australia the following people are authorised to certify documents: Justice of the Peace, Notary Public, Australian Consular Officer or Australian Diplomatic Officer (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 English language proficiency with a minimum score of 7.0 or higher in each component (listening, reading, writing and speaking) of the Academic IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test, in one sitting.

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.

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 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 page 1 of the application form 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 practice 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).

What is a statutory declaration?

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 overseas qualifications and overseas residents information, 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.

How are assessments undertaken?

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. Read more information about the assessment process.

What is the current time period to assess an application of my international social work qualifications?

The assessment time period is determined by demands on the service. Currently the wait period from the lodgement of a complete application is approximately 16-18 weeks.

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. If you disagree with the assessment outcomes made by the AASW, please contact us to discuss your assessment. If you are still dissatisfied with the decision, please email the Senior Manager Professional Standards to discuss the process for requesting a reassessment.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers