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How to get work as an electrician in Australia as a foreigner

    The electrical trade is one of the most challenging professions to get into in Australia. The process is very stringent and could sometimes take over two years. For years, many Electricians have come to Australia but haven’t been able to work as fully qualified Electricians, mainly because of the lack of information about this topic.

    The second reason is that the licensing bodies want to avoid risking it due to the hazardous nature of the profession. Further in the blog, we will discuss how to apply for a visa and work in Australia. The requirements for obtaining an electrical licence may vary depending on the state or territory where you wish to work.

    Electrician looking for work in Australia

    Do I need to be licensed in Australia to work in any of the vocational trades?

    In Australia, to work as a foreign-trained electrician, you must first obtain a license. Unfortunately, there isn’t one licensing organisation for all the trades. Instead, there are numerous bodies for various vocations. This is because licensing regulations vary across Australian states. It’s important to note that all electrical work MUST be performed by a licensed electrician. Many foreign-trained electricians start by working for construction or electrical companies for one year with an electrical permit under the supervision of an Australian Electrician. If you haven’t acquired an electrical permit, you will need to work as a trade assistant to an Electrician.

    If you have already arrived in Australia

    You can apply for an electrical work permit in Australia if you are already in Australia on a working holiday or a student visa.
    The first step is to get an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR) to apply for a job in Australia.
    Supposing you do not have any electrical industry qualifications from outside Australia, you must complete an electrical apprenticeship before you apply for an electrical licence.

    Two electricians doing team work

    Certifications

    If you are a student who is not an Australian and wants to pursue a career in electrical, you should get an apprenticeship and enrol in Cert 3 in Electrotechnology. Doing this will enable you to acquire all the fundamental skills required to begin employment. If you’re starting, earning your Certificate III in Electrotechnology as an Electrician is a good idea. To pursue a higher-paying position, you can also enrol in a diploma course in electrical and instrumentation at a later stage. Your apprenticeship is an essential factor in acquiring your Electrical licence.

    Apprenticeship

    If you haven’t completed your training in your respective country, you can enrol in an apprenticeship after finishing a pre-apprenticeship course. Pre-apprenticeship training is an excellent opportunity to put everything you’ve learned into practice and decide whether you want to pursue this vocation further in Australia. You will work under supervision while you learn the trade during your apprenticeship.

    If you are a Qualified Offshore Electrician, you need to get OTSR:

    What is an OTSR exactly?

    A nationally recognised document called an OTSR (Offshore Technical Skills Record) entitles the holder to apply for a provisional licence. Many Australian state and territory regulatory authorities have decided to recognise the OTSR as an entry-level licence. Please remember that in Australia, licensing and registration are state-based obligations, and certain states have unique criteria for determining licence outcomes.

    Why an OTSR instead of a Certificate III vocational qualification?

    The VETASSESS will assess your foreign technical skills through a practical and theory exam. However, since you are unfamiliar with Australian industry-specific information like codes of practice, Australian standards, and occupational health and safety regulations, an OTSR (Offshore Technical Skills Record) will be awarded instead of an Australian Cert III qualification. Before you are granted a Certificate III from a college in Australia, you must complete gap training and work under the supervision of another Australian Electrician.

    Electrician doing his job

    Getting Your Skills Evaluated

    Suppose you obtained your electrical work experience outside of Australia or New Zealand. In that case, your qualifications must be assessed by Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) or a recognised Registered Training Provider before the state agency awards you a licence to work in Australia.

    Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is an organisation that provides skills assessment services focusing on evaluations for people who have acquired trade skills abroad or in Australia, as well as assessment for immigration and skills recognition.

    Please check out the process of the recognised assessment and regulatory authority where you are looking for an opportunity.

    The OTSR Process (Offshore Technical Skills Record)

    In this process, the applicant must show during an OTSR that they possess the technical skills required to perform the job in Australia. This can be accomplished by comparing your previous education and experience to the technical competencies obtained through an Australian qualification.

    Step 1. Obtain an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR)

    If you complete a skills assessment, you will be issued an OTSR. 

    To receive the OTSR letter from Trades Recognition Australia (TRA), the individual must complete a skills assessment in three consecutive stages mentioned in the VETASSES.

    Firstly, they must complete a self-assessment to determine if they possess the necessary skills.

    They will then need a paper-based assessment to assess their qualifications and workplace-based evidence. They can proceed to the next stage if the evidence meets the requirements.

    Finally, they must complete a practical assessment and a technical interview conducted by an approved Australian electrician and assessor. The assessment will encompass various tests to demonstrate their competence as a safe electrical professional, while the interview will focus on work-related electrical questions.

    Step 2: Apply for a provisional licence.

    After meeting the requirements of VETASSess/TRA, you will obtain an OTSR letter. This qualifies you to apply for a provisional Supervised Worker’s Licence under the respective licencing authority of the state or territory where you want to work. You will also need to meet the non-skill requirements for the specific trade. This licence is only valid for all electrical installation work under the supervision of a licenced electrician for a specified time in that state or territory, typically one year.

    While you are enrolled in the gap training, you will be permitted to work under the supervision of another Australian electrician. 

    Please remember that the applicant can only immediately apply for a provisional electrical license with their overseas licence to the state once they have obtained the OTSR.

    Step 3: Participate in Australian context gap training.

    Formal training is required to obtain Australian-specific information for your occupation.

    The gap training process is unique for every licenced occupation and the state or territory where you wish to work. After obtaining their Supervised Worker’s Licence, the applicant must take Australian Context Gap Training. It is a brief course designed to train an overseas electrician to meet Australian standards and obtain a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.

    To enrol in this program, the applicant needs to have an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR) for a UEE30811 Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (or a successor). 

    They must also possess a provisional/restricted licence issued by the regulatory authority overseeing electrical work and worker licensing in the area where the training will occur. 

    Additionally, they should be employed as an electrical worker or have access to a work environment that simulates actual workplace conditions. 

    Furthermore, they must possess an HLTAID001 CPR certificate that is valid within the past twelve months and be able to provide proof of validity.

    Step 4: Obtain an Australian Vocational Education and Training Qualification

    You must obtain an Australian VET qualification and extra training and work experience in your field. You may need a Certificate III Australian VET qualification to get a full licence. 

    While on a provisional licence, the bearer must operate in Australia under the supervision and complete gap training or Australian-specific training. For instance, Australia requires that you pass a safety training course.

    The name and course terminology may differ depending on the state or territory where you intend to work. 

    Details of the Australian Context Gap Training course are as follows:

    Course Duration: 12 months self-paced Online/Blended

    Total Fees: $6500

     Step 5: Obtain an Australian occupational licence.

    Upon successful completion of the Gap training, as well as completing 12 months of supervised work as an Electrical Worker, the individual can apply for an Electrical license in their state or territory

    Typically, you will be required to submit the following credentials:

    1. Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR) Certificate

    2. Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician(Gap training)

    3. Low voltage rescue training

    4. Identification documents e.g. attested copy of your passport

    5. Additionally, applicants must be capable of providing evidence of wiring and installation work. for 12 months 

    We advise you to check and confirm the requirements and eligibility criteria of the required licences with the relevant state or territorial licensing authority.

    Please remember that obtaining a licence does not entitle you to work as an electrical contractor. A contractor’s licence typically requires further training and experience. You can work as an electrician but only conduct an electrical business once you obtain an electrical contractor’s license. This can be achieved by enrolling into the QTP course.

    The steps are explained in a simplified flowchart below:

    Overseas Qualified Electrician

    Overseas Qualified Electric…

    New Overseas Student

    New Overseas Student
    Electrical ApprenticeshipCertificate III in Elect…



    Obtain Unrestricted 

    Australian Electrical License 

    for the relevant state

    Obtain Unrestricted…

    Foreign Qualifications assessed by VETASSESS

    Foreign Qualifications a…

    Self-Assessment of Skillsets

    Self-Assessment of Skill…

    Paper-Assessment 

    of Qualifications & Work-based Evidence

    Paper-Assessment…

    Practical 

    Assessment – Technical & Competency based

    Practical…

    Apply for a Provisional Supervised 

    Worker′s Licence 

    Apply for a Provisional…

    Enrol into 

    Australian Context Gap Training + 12 months electrical work experience

    Enrol into…

    OTSR Letter for UEE30811 Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

    OTSR Letter for UEE30811…

    Certificate HLTAID001 CPR Certificate with currency in last 

    12 months

    Certificate HLTAID001 CP…

    Gap training at AUSINET

    Gap training at AUSINET

    Successful completion of 

    year 9 or 10

    Successful completion of…

    Apply to Electrical safety office if you are in QLD

    Apply to Electrical safe…

    Obtain Provisional electrical work permit

    Obtain Provisional elect…

    Apply for OTSR 

    with VETASSESS

    Apply for OTSR…
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    We hope this information makes it easier for you to find opportunities in Australia. If you have any queries, please let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to assist you. Cheers!!

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    14 responses to “How to get work as an electrician in Australia as a foreigner”

    1. Onimim Wariboko Avatar
      Onimim Wariboko

      Hello,
      I am a foreigner with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, MSc in Instrumentation and Control and a Certificate Of Competency as an Electro-Technical Officer.

      I am interested in migrating to Australia. I would like to know how I can become a licensed Electrical Engineering Technician in Australia.

      Please kindly let me know how to go about it and how my years of experience in Electrical, Instrumentation and Control, can be useful.

      1. Ausinet M Avatar

        Hi, Since you are an engineer you will need to contact Engineers Australia. We look into Electricians and technicians.

    2. Stanley Hoenyeame Avatar
      Stanley Hoenyeame

      I have obtained higher national Diploma in electrical/electronic engineering in Ghana and I want to leave and work in Australia please help me with the steps to follow. Thank you

    3. Md Almas Avatar

      I am senior electrician I have Bangladesh government electric licence

    4. Tshewang Tashi Avatar
      Tshewang Tashi

      How to become a electrician in Australia with overseas experience

    5. Philip.Fai.Thomas Avatar
      Philip.Fai.Thomas

      Hi,I’m an qualified electrical technician with trades certificate III and interested to work overseas.

      1. Ausinet M Avatar

        Hi Philip! If by overseas you mean you are currently not a resident of Australia. Then, you need to first contact TRA to get your qualification recognised:
        https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/help/contact-us

    6. Ben Csendes Avatar
      Ben Csendes

      Hi
      I am working as a qualified electrician and electrical tester in the United Kingdom
      What is the correct way to get my qualifications recognised in Australia?

      1. Ausinet M Avatar

        Hi Ben! If you are currently not a resident of Australia. Then, you need to first contact TRA to get your qualification recognised:
        https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/help/contact-us

    7. Manzoor Ahmed Avatar
      Manzoor Ahmed

      I’m a general electrician in construction line I have experience in general electrician I want job in Australia

      1. Ausinet M Avatar

        Hi Manzoor! We only provide electrical training. We do not provide jobs. If you are currently not a resident of Australia. Then, you need to first contact TRA to get your qualifications recognised:
        https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/help/contact-us

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