Migration Skills Assessment (MSA) FAQs

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When preparing your application please ensure you refer to the program applicant guidelines and other related information for each of TRA's skills assessment programs.

​Is the MSA the right program for my occupation and country of passport?

You are eligible to apply for the MSA program if your nominated occupation is:

You must check with Home Affairs before submitting your application to ensure your visa pathway requires a skills assessment, and that TRA is correct assessing authority for your nominated occupation.

You are not eligible for the MSA program if you are:

  • an applicant from a specified country of passport and occupation, which requires a skills assessment under the Offshore Skills Assessment Program
  • applying in one of the following licensed occupations: Airconditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic, Electrician (General), Electrician (Special Class) and Plumber (General). Applicants for a skills assessment in one of these occupations require a skills assessment under the Offshore Skills Assessment Program.
  • applying for a 485 visa - please refer to the Job Ready Program on the TRA website; or
  • applying for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa - please refer to the TSS Skills Assessment Program on the TRA website.

Which occupation do I nominate?

​TRA cannot advise you on the right occupation for your application. You must nominate the occupation for which you wish to be assessed.

​When nominating your occupation, you should refer to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) occupations listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills Lists (MLTSSL) or the Short-term Skilled Occupations Lists (STSOL) available on the Home Affairs website.

A search of the ANZSCO occupation descriptions, located here, may help you decide the occupation you would like to be assessed against.

How do I lodge an application for the MSA Program?

All applications for the MSA Program must be submitted through the TRA Online Portal.

When accessing the Online Portal, you must use an MS Windows-based computer or laptop operating in Internet Explorer. The TRA system is not compatible with Microsoft Edge, macOS (Apple), Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari.

How will I know if TRA has registered my application?

Your application is registered once you have completed the online form, uploaded your documents and paid the fee. You will receive a receipt via email with your TRA reference number confirming submission. Please retain this receipt as proof of submission. You do not need to contact TRA to confirm receipt of your application.

How long will it take to process my MSA application?

MSA applications are generally are finalised within 120 days from your online submission. Please note that processing times may vary and are dependent on the volume of applications received and the complexity of the verification processes required. In some cases, the processing time is extended due to the time taken by external sources to respond to our request for verification.

Should there be any considerable delay in processing times which affects all applicants, TRA will post a news item on its website. Please note, TRA will not contact applicants individually to advise of processing delays.

I’ve been locked out of the Online Portal, what should I do now?

If you have forgotten your password for the TRA online portal, please follow these instructions. Go to the TRA Online Portal, select 'Click here if you have forgotten your password'. By answering the three security questions you selected when first registering your MSA application, you will be able to reset your password and log in using your username.

If you have been locked out of your online account, are unable to reset your password or have forgotten your username, please email traenquiries@dewr.gov.au. Please include your TRA reference number, username, date of birth and email address.

Please note TRA will contact you directly when your issue has been resolved. We cannot provide a timeframe as to when the account will be unlocked and re-set.

How do I reprint the payment receipt page for my details?How do I reprint the payment receipt page for my details?

Your receipt of payment is emailed to the email address you nominated in your MSA application, at the time you lodged your application. Please retain this email as proof of submission.

I need my application processed faster than the standard 120 days. What do I need to do?

The following evidence must be provided to TRA with any request to expedite an application:

1. A letter from the Department of Home Affairs and/or a State/Territory authority responsible for State Migration sponsorship, confirming:

a. approval of a 'nominated position', and

b. that the applicant is the nominee for that position, and

c. the expiry date for that offer.

This information must be emailed to TRA at traenquiries@dewr.gov.au, including your full name, date of birth, and TRA reference number.

Do I need an English language Test (such as IELTS)?

An English language test is not required for the MSA Program.

Can my occupational licence substitute a formal qualification?

No, an occupational licence cannot substitute a formal qualification.

I don't have a formal qualification. Will I get a successful skills assessment?

Your application will be unsuccessful if you do not have a relevant formal qualification for your nominated occupation.

You may consider undertaking a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process with an Australian Registered Training Organisation (RTO). Details about which RTOs can assess your skills and evidence against the relevant Australian qualification for your nominated occupation are listed on the Australian Government's website: www.training.gov.au. You can contact one of the RTOs listed directly.

Can my work experience substitute for a qualification?

No. TRA does not accept work experience as a substitute for a qualification.

Why does TRA need a transcript of the subjects I studied for my qualification?

TRA compares qualifications issued overseas to the relevant Australian qualification for the nominated occupation when determining relevance. To do this, TRA requires the academic transcript for that qualification to be provided in the application.

If you do not have a copy of your qualification and transcript we suggest that you contact the institution that issued your award and ask them to provide you with either a copy of your transcript, or other official certified documentation stating your name, the qualification and the date awarded, an overview of the content of the program and the competencies/subjects you completed.

I am self-employed, can I apply?

Yes, applicants who are self-employed and can meet the program requirements specified in the Migration Skills Assessment Applicant Guidelines are eligible for the MSA Program.

What evidence do I need of my employment?

Employer Template

You will need to provide a completed Employer Template for each period of employment you wish to claim. Further details regarding the Employer Template are listed in Section 2 of the MSA Applicant Guidelines.

Pay Evidence

TRA requires sufficient evidence of paid employment to verify that your employment was full-time (or equivalent part-time) and at the required skill level for your occupation in Australia. The employment pay evidence you are required to submit will vary depending on your employment type. A full list of employment pay evidence is listed at Section 2 of the MSA Applicant Guidelines.

How many payslips do I need to provide?

For employment completed outside of Australia, TRA will require three payslips for each year of employment you are claiming. Each payslip must cite the names of the employer and employee. Comprehensive information regarding evidence requirements can be found in the MSA Applicant Guidelines.

For employment completed in Australia you need to include a PAYG Payment Summary, Notice of Assessment and a superannuation document citing the names of the employer and the applicant for each year of employment you are claiming. If you wish to claim employment for the current financial year, you must provide three pay slips from the current financial year citing the name of the employee and employer.

I don't have evidence of paid employment. Can I still apply?

You are required to include documentary pay evidence so TRA can verify the employment claims in your application. If you do not have verifiable documentary pay evidence for each period of employment you are claiming, then that period of employment will not be accepted. If you have been paid in cash, you will not be eligible to apply as you will not have the documentary evidence required by the MSA Program.

What if I have only worked part-time?

Evidence of employment undertaken on a part-time basis will be considered and counted towards the employment requirement on a pro-rata basis. TRA considers full-time employment in Australia as 38 hours per week, unless a particular industrial award specifies otherwise. For example, if hours worked are 20 hours per week it would take an applicant two years to meet the equivalent of one year full-time employment. 

If I re-apply for a new MSA application, do I need to resubmit documents I have already provided to TRA?

Yes, to lodge an application through the TRA Online Portal, you will be required to resubmit all required documents to TRA. Instructions on how to do so can be found on the MSA “How to apply” page. 

I have received my MSA outcome letter and need feedback. What do I need to do?

To request feedback on your MSA application, please email traenquiries@dewr.gov.au with your personal information including your TRA number. Please note responses to feedback requests can take up to ten working days. 

How do I apply for a Migration Skills Assessment Review?

If you have applied for a Migration Skills Assessment (MSA) and were unsuccessful, you may choose to seek a review of your assessment outcome through the TRA Online Portal. You have 90 days from the date of your assessment to apply for a review.

Lodgement and payment for the review can be made using your Online Portal account. An additional link titled TRA Review of MSA Outcome (MSR) will be activated in your Online Portal account to make this payment.

A review will consider information submitted in your original application and any additional evidence provided in the review application to support your claims.

If you choose to submit a new MSA application instead of a review, you should note the following information:

  • You are required to register as a new user on the TRA Online Portal, which will establish a new username and password for you. This will generate a new TRA Reference Number.
  • The new application must be 'decision ready' for assessment. You must include all the required supporting evidence in relation to the new application. It is your responsibility to ensure that your application is correct, accurate and complete before you submit it to TRA.

Before submitting your application, you should check your eligibility by reading the information about the MSA Program.

How do I request a copy of my MSA outcome letter?

You must request a replacement outcome letter in writing. TRA requires verification of your identity when requesting a copy of an outcome letter. Your request must include your full name, TRA reference number, date of birth, current postal address and email address. TRA may also require you to provide a signature or other photo identification if unable to verify your identity. 

Are academic qualifications such as Bachelors and Masters Degrees considered sufficient as part of the evidence requirements for the MSA Program?

As an evidence based skills assessment, TRA must be able to determine that the qualification you claim in your application provides you with the necessary skills to allow you to undertake employment in a trade or trade related occupation in Australia.

Generally, academic qualifications such as bachelor degrees do not contain adequate practical content directly related to the nominated occupation to demonstrate that these qualifications provide the required skills to undertake that occupation in Australia in a trade or trade-related field.