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How to get work as an electrician in Australia

    The electrical trade is one of the toughest professions to get into in Australia. The process is very stringent and could take over two years in some cases. 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 don’t want to risk it due to the nature of the profession.  We have tried to explain the steps required to apply for a visa and work in Australia to make it easier for you. The requirements for obtaining an electrical licence may vary depending on the state or territory where you wish to work.


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

    To work in many different trades in Australia, you must first obtain a licence. Regrettably, there is no single licensing organisation for all the trades. This is because licensing regulations vary across Australian states. In general, all electrical work MUST be performed by a licensed electrician. Many foreign-trained electricians work as trade assistants for construction or electrical companies; moreover, you are only permitted to perform electrical work if you are licensed. A trade assistant assists a qualified tradesman to perform certain tasks that require specific skill sets.

    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 qualifications in the electrical industry from outside of Australia, you must complete an electrical apprenticeship before you can even apply for an electrical licence.

    Electrical Training


    If you are a student who is not an Australian and want to pursue a career in electrical, you should finish the relevant electrical certification. Certification 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, later on, you can also enrol in a diploma course in electrical and instrumentation. Certification will not only make potential employers more confident in your knowledge and skills, but it will also be an essential factor in acquiring your licence.


    If you did not complete your training in your respective country then you can enrol in an apprenticeship after finishing a pre-apprenticeship course. Pre-apprenticeship training is an excellent opportunity to put all that you’ve learned into practice and decide whether you want to pursue this vocation further in Australia. You will be supervised 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 a type of entry-level licence. Please keep in mind that in Australia, licensing and registration are state-based obligations and certain states have their unique criteria for determining licence outcomes.

    Why an OTSR instead of a Certificate III vocational qualification?

    As someone who has not done his education in Australia, your technical ability to carry out necessary duties will be checked by the VETASSESS practical assessment. However, since you are not familiar with crucial industry-specific information like codes of practice, Australian standards, and occupational health and safety regulations, an OTSR will be awarded to you instead of an  Australian Cert III qualification. Before you are awarded a Certificate III from a college in Australia, you must complete gap training and work under the supervision of another tradesman

    Electrical Apprenticeship

    Getting Your Skills Evaluated

    If you obtained your electrical work experience outside of Australia or New Zealand then 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 of the state 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. An OTSR can be obtained in the following licenced occupations:

    • Mechanic for air conditioning and refrigeration
    • Electrician (General and Special Class)

    The OTSR documents the technical skills demonstrated by the applicable Australian VET certification for the specific trade. To obtain an Australian VET certificate for that occupation, you must also complete the Australian context gap training and specified hours of supervised work in a specific trade.

    Step 2: Apply for a provisional licence.

    When you obtain an OTSR, you qualify to apply for a provisional licence. As a result, after completion of gap training, you will be permitted to work under supervision.

    A provisional licence can then be sought from state and territory licensing officials. You will also need to meet the non-skill requirements for the specific trade.

    Electrical Job

    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 in which you wish to work. After obtaining their Supervised Worker’s License, the applicant must take Australian Context Gap Training. It is a brief course designed to give training and assessment to meet the Australian standards and skill components required to get a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician.

    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.

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

     Step 5: Obtain an Australian occupational licence.

    For a full licence, you may need a Certificate III Australian VET qualification. The name and course terminology may differ depending on the state or territory in which you intend to work. Please remember that obtaining a licence does not always entitle you to work as an electrical contractor. A contractor’s licence typically necessitates further training and experience.

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

    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’ll be more than happy to assist you. Cheers!!!

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