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Guest manrug

Solicitor applying for VISA 189. Skills assessment

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Guest manrug

I am practicing solicitor in England with over 5 years post qualification experience. I wish to apply for VISA 189 to emigrate to Australia. Can someone please clarify the following:

 

I am going to have my skills assessed by the law society either for Queensland or New South Wales. Reading this and other forums I will be required to sit 3/4 extra exams before I become qualified as a solicitor in an Australian state. My question is this do I have to be qualified as a solicitor to practice in Australia before I can apply for my VISA 189 OR can I apply once my qualifications and experience have been assessed by the law society, apply for emigration and if successful do my exams when I arrive in Australia to become fully qualified.

 

People from other trades must also face a similar situation for example electricians, teachers and other professions have to requalify in Australia, and are they given certain amount of time once they arrive in Australia?

 

Is it possible to take the Law society exams for any Australian state in London or by distance learning?

 

I will be grateful for any help.

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...My question is this do I have to be qualified as a solicitor to practice in Australia before I can apply for my VISA 189 OR ...

 

As a lawyer you will of course be able to read the applicable Migration Regulations from which you will note that what is required is a positive skills assessment. The legislation does not explicitly require you to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia before you can be granted a 189 visa, but does require you to have a positive skills assessment, amongst other things. So, really the question is whether you can get a positive skills assessment without having been admitted as a lawyer in Australia. You have mentioned that you intend to apply for a skills assessment from either Queensland or New South Wales. On the Legal Profession Admission Board of NSW website,it says:

 

Therefore, in order to obtain a "Skilled Migration Letter", a person will need to have overseas qualifications assessed in accordance with the Board's Rules and the Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas applicants for admission and then be admitted as a lawyer.

I think you are very unlikely to get a positive skills assessment from NSW without having been admitted as a lawyer in Australia, and I have heard that QLD is even more difficult than NSW, but the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board's advice on their website (quoted above) is not an accurate statement of the legislative requirements set out in the Migration Regulations. That said, it won't help you obtain a positive skills assessment from them, which is what you need. If you can obtain a positive skills assessment from a State Law Admission Authority in Australia based on your current qualifications and experience, then admission in Australia as a lawyer is not a prerequisite to applying for a 189 visa.

 

For the 189 visa, you will see from the regulations that there are criteria to be met at time of application and at time of grant. The regulations do not provide for meeting the criteria within a timeframe after grant.

 

In order to be admitted as an Australian lawyer, you will be required to complete some academic subjects and also some PLT (practical legal training) subjects. For the academic part, I am not aware of any possibility of sitting the exams in London and certainly not online (for the exams... though study online may be possible), but for the PLT part, I think the College of Law does have the option of sitting the PLT exams in the UK.

Edited by Killara

Australian Lawyer

Barrister-at-Law (Ireland)

Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1382825)

http://migration.lawyer

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Guest manrug

Hi Killara

 

Thank you you very much for your detailed and precise response. Looking back on expat sites, solicitors from the UK have struggled with this part. I will keep this thread up to date as I progress with my application.

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As a lawyer you will of course be able to read the applicable Migration Regulations from which you will note that what is required is a positive skills assessment. The legislation does not explicitly require you to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia before you can be granted a 189 visa, but does require you to have a positive skills assessment, amongst other things. So, really the question is whether you can get a positive skills assessment without having been admitted as a lawyer in Australia. You have mentioned that you intend to apply for a skills assessment from either Queensland or New South Wales. On the Legal Profession Admission Board of NSW website,it says:

 

Therefore, in order to obtain a "Skilled Migration Letter", a person will need to have overseas qualifications assessed in accordance with the Board's Rules and the Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas applicants for admission and then be admitted as a lawyer.

I think you are very unlikely to get a positive skills assessment from NSW without having been admitted as a lawyer in Australia, and I have heard that QLD is even more difficult than NSW, but the NSW Legal Profession Admission Board's advice on their website (quoted above) is not an accurate statement of the legislative requirements set out in the Migration Regulations. That said, it won't help you obtain a positive skills assessment from them, which is what you need. If you can obtain a positive skills assessment from a State Law Admission Authority in Australia based on your current qualifications and experience, then admission in Australia as a lawyer is not a prerequisite to applying for a 189 visa.

 

For the 189 visa, you will see from the regulations that there are criteria to be met at time of application and at time of grant. The regulations do not provide for meeting the criteria within a timeframe after grant.

 

In order to be admitted as an Australian lawyer, you will be required to complete some academic subjects and also some PLT (practical legal training) subjects. For the academic part, I am not aware of any possibility of sitting the exams in London and certainly not online (for the exams... though study online may be possible), but for the PLT part, I think the College of Law does have the option of sitting the PLT exams in the UK.

 

Really good post @Killara , interesting to read about requirements for NSW and QLD; do you by any chance know what the situation is for WA?


"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page"

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Anyone thinking of moving to Australia as a solicitor should make some in depth enquiries of recruitment agencies and the various law societies to check out the actual level of demand for any lawyers - let alone foreign trained ones. You could also look on http://www.seek.com.au which has pretty much all of the vacancies.

 

There are a lot of lawyers looking for work in Australia and thousands of graduates in the pipeline. Many of the large firms here have merged with, or have a relationship with, international firms who are looking to circulate their staff through the Australian offices.

 

It would be good if some people who have made the move could share their stories so that people have an idea of whether their move to Australia will be at the cost of their career - and whether some states are better than others.

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I am practicing solicitor in England with over 5 years post qualification experience. I wish to apply for VISA 189 to emigrate to Australia. Can someone please clarify the following:

 

I am going to have my skills assessed by the law society either for Queensland or New South Wales. Reading this and other forums I will be required to sit 3/4 extra exams before I become qualified as a solicitor in an Australian state. My question is this do I have to be qualified as a solicitor to practice in Australia before I can apply for my VISA 189 OR can I apply once my qualifications and experience have been assessed by the law society, apply for emigration and if successful do my exams when I arrive in Australia to become fully qualified.

 

People from other trades must also face a similar situation for example electricians, teachers and other professions have to requalify in Australia, and are they given certain amount of time once they arrive in Australia?

 

Is it possible to take the Law society exams for any Australian state in London or by distance learning?

 

I will be grateful for any help.

Immigration authorities have indicated to the Board that the assessment that they will find satisfactory is one that says '(applicants name)' has been admitted as a Lawyer in NSW and, in the opinion of the Board, has suitable skills for a legal practitioner. Therefore, in order to obtain a "Skilled Migration Letter", a person will need to have overseas qualifications assessed in accordance with the Board's Rules and the Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas applicants for admission and then be admitted as a lawyer.

To apply for a Skilled Migration Letter after you have been admitted as a lawyer you should

 

 

 

If you are applying for a sub class 485 Visa you can apply for a provisional skills assessment. To lodge this application you should

 

 

 


Westly Russell Registered Migration Agent 0316072 www.pinoyau.com

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Guest guest73691

I am an England & Wales qualified lawyer and I’ve been working for the past 2 years for a law firm in Sydney. I am in the process of completing the studies I was told I needed to undertake (both at uni and COL). A couple of migration agents I have spoken to would have the same view as Killara i.e. that it is unlikely that the LPAB will given a positive skills assessment in NSW for lawyers who are not admitted NSW. However, it would be awesome if this is not the case!

 

If you did get PR, the job market for lawyers does seem to have slowed down a bit (at least in my area), but it depends on what type of firm you would want to work for and the area of law you specialise in. The main legal markets in Australia would probably be Sydney and Melbourne, with Perth being the focus for energy & resources type work (which I understand has slowed down a lot). If you want to work for a big/top tier firm, then you are probably best off focussing on Sydney and Melbourne.

 

It will be in your favour that you have a few years PQE, as you wouldn’t be competing with graduate lawyers. I know a lot of foreign lawyers working over here (working mainly on 457 visas), so it does happen. However, I think it probably comes down to (i) whether there is a particular demand for lawyers in your area of practice, and (ii) whether your CV stands out enough against other candidates who are locally qualified. My (locally admitted) colleagues get called much more frequently by recruiters than I do. Our CVs and experience are very similar, but I cannot call myself a lawyer here as yet. I am no expert, but I imagine that training and/or post-qualification work experience at a well-known UK / international firm would help you, as would working in an area which is not extremely jurisdiction specific e.g. commercial law, corporate law, finance & banking.

 

If you did struggle with finding legal work, the alternative would be to try and get other work while you cross-qualify (or study on a full time basis).

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Really good post @Killara , interesting to read about requirements for NSW and QLD; do you by any chance know what the situation is for WA?

 

Sorry @louisella, I don't know whether WA would be any better than NSW.

It usually makes most sense to apply to the State where you intend to practise. However, once admitted in one State or Territory in Australia, you can apply for a practising certificate from any of the States or Territories. (Previously it was necessary to be admitted in each State in which you wished to practise. That is no longer the case.)

 

As regards to the job market that others have raised doubts about, it is true that the market is very competitive with probably an over supply of local law graduates. An overseas lawyer with no experience could struggle to find employment as a lawyer in the capital cities but should have reasonable prospects in more regional areas. An overseas lawyer with a few years experience in any practice area should be able to find employment in the capital cities as the experience in practise will give them an advantage over local graduates with no experience.


Australian Lawyer

Barrister-at-Law (Ireland)

Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1382825)

http://migration.lawyer

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I recently lodged an application for a subclass 190 visa as a solicitor which was subsequently granted so perhaps my experience could be of some assistance although there are significant differences. To be granted a 189/190 you need to have have an occupation listed on SOL and as others have mentioned this requires a positive assessment from the state legal admission board which means admission as a solicitor of the supreme court of NSW. As I qualified in NZ I was able to simply fill in some paperwork and pay the $350 for admission due to a reciprocal agreement under the Trans-tasman Act 1995 to gain a positive skills assessment. I would not have been able to apply on the basis on my NZ admission only. Therefore you would need to be admitted before being able to apply for a skills assessment. Perhaps you should investigate which state has the most lenient academic requirements and then get admitted there. Because the 189, as opposed to the 190, is an independent not a sponsored visa then you wouldn't be required to live in a specific state as I am (NSW)

 

Also I sat some of my 'PLT' exams (profs) for NZ admission in Sydney with the COL so it can be done if they have a branch in the UK.

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...as others have mentioned this requires a positive assessment from the state legal admission board which means admission as a solicitor of the supreme court of NSW.... Therefore you would need to be admitted before being able to apply for a skills assessment...

 

"A positive skills assessment from a state legal admission board" does not mean admission as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW.

The criteria for the grant of a subclass 189 or 190 visa is governed by the Migration Act 1958 and the Migration Regulations 1994, not by the Legal Profession Admission Board of NSW, or any of the State Law Admission Authorities (SLAA) for that matter. The SLAAs are however the relevant assessment authority for the legal profession occupations, and that of course makes perfect sense.

 

It is possible, for some applicants, to obtain a positive skills assessment from a State Law Admission Authority, without having been admitted as a Lawyer in Australia... except, as we have all pointed out, it is very unlikely that the Legal Profession Admission Board of NSW would provide a positive skills assessment without the applicant first having been admitted as a Lawyer in NSW.

 

An overseas legal practitioner can apply to a SLAA for an assessment of their qualifications and experience. DIBP will treat that assessment as a skills assessment (hence not necessary to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia to obtain a skills assessment). An experienced overseas legal practitioner may be able to obtain a positive skills assessment without having first been admitted as a lawyer in Australia. I have experience of this.

 

 

Perhaps you should investigate which state has the most lenient academic requirements and then get admitted there.

 

It is not correct to say that any State or Territory in Australia has more lenient academic requirements than others. All States and Territories have adopted what have become known as the "Priestley 11" as the academic requirements for admission.

For overseas legal practitioners (other than NZ applicants that is), each SLAA has adopted the "Uniform Principles for Assessing Qualifications of Overseas Applicants for Admission to the Australian Legal Profession" (the "Uniform Principles"). Each SLAA will assess an overseas applicant (other than a NZ applicant) for admission using the Uniform Principles.

Human factors comes in to it then, and despite each SLAA applying the Uniform Principles in conducting their assessments, assessments from the different SLAAs are not necessarily, em, uniform.

The point though, is that you will be told by each SLAA that the academic requirements are the same for each State and Territory.

Edited by Killara

Australian Lawyer

Barrister-at-Law (Ireland)

Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1382825)

http://migration.lawyer

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An overseas legal practitioner can apply to a SLAA for an assessment of their qualifications and experience. DIBP will treat that assessment as a skills assessment (hence not necessary to be admitted as a lawyer in Australia to obtain a skills assessment). An experienced overseas legal practitioner may be able to obtain a positive skills assessment without having first been admitted as a lawyer in Australia. I have experience of this.

 

 

 

OP note the word MAY here. Whilst you MAY receive a positive assessment you might also consider the odds of this occurring and if you do by chance receive a subclass 189 PR visa on this basis then unless you are planning on a new career as say a used car salesmen and give up 5 years of legal experience then you would not be able to practice. If you did wish to practice then you will of course go through the same procedure as initially outlined which in fact makes the above advice of limited value. You should above all consider the practicalities of your situation rather than rely on the above advice for guidance.

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OP note the word MAY here. Whilst you MAY receive a positive assessment you might also consider the odds of this occurring and if you do by chance receive a subclass 189 PR visa on this basis then unless you are planning on a new career as say a used car salesmen and give up 5 years of legal experience then you would not be able to practice. If you did wish to practice then you will of course go through the same procedure as initially outlined which in fact makes the above advice of limited value.

 

OP specifically asked whether it is possible to be granted the 189 visa first and then qualify as a lawyer in Australia. A lot of people would like to get the PR granted first. I certainly was glad to get PR first. Also, OP will need a visa to come to Australia to qualify in the first place. OP might like to be able to work in Australia while completing the academic requirements for admission. A PR visa would be of great use in that regard. Mike seems to forget that just because New Zealanders can come to Australia and have the right to stay as long as they want and have full work rights in Australia, that this does not apply to other nationalities.

 

You should above all consider the practicalities of your situation rather than rely on the above advice for guidance.

Practicalities such as having a visa to come to Australia in the first place perhaps? Practicalities such as being able to work in Australia while completing the academic requirements for admission? Unfortunately mike hasn't any idea about practicalities facing non-AU non-NZ citizens.

 

When making such important decisions such as migrating to a new country, it is very important that professional advice be obtained. In considering migration matters, I would of course strongly recommend to ensure that any advice that you do get is from a registered migration agent.

Edited by Killara

Australian Lawyer

Barrister-at-Law (Ireland)

Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1382825)

http://migration.lawyer

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OP if you wish to PM then feel free to do so and I can talk a little more about the experience I went though. I have worked in the migration industry but no longer do so and therefore don't have a need to trawl for business on this forum. You probably don't need a RMA given your level of experience and would save yourself 1000's. The one hurdle you do face is a positive skills assessment which is a simple matter.

 

If you have a legal role at the moment then it would not be wise, as advised above to quit, go to a foreign country to complete admission requirement and then hope to get a job. The opportunity cost would be substantial and Australia can be a very expensive place to live.

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Guest manrug

Thanks for everyone who is participating in the dialogue, I appreciate it is big hurdle to gain a positive assessment, I have accepted if there are additional exams to take and I will sit them. I have been fortunate to have worked for some good law firms in the UK. Still I don't for moment under estimate the challenge of moving to a different country with a competitive jobs market.

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Sorry @louisella, I don't know whether WA would be any better than NSW.

It usually makes most sense to apply to the State where you intend to practise. However, once admitted in one State or Territory in Australia, you can apply for a practising certificate from any of the States or Territories. (Previously it was necessary to be admitted in each State in which you wished to practise. That is no longer the case.)

 

As regards to the job market that others have raised doubts about, it is true that the market is very competitive with probably an over supply of local law graduates. An overseas lawyer with no experience could struggle to find employment as a lawyer in the capital cities but should have reasonable prospects in more regional areas. An overseas lawyer with a few years experience in any practice area should be able to find employment in the capital cities as the experience in practise will give them an advantage over local graduates with no experience.

 

Hi @Killara , thanks for the reply, apologies for the late thanks but I've only just noticed this was posted!

Thanks for the update re being admitted to different states, I wasn't aware that had changed


"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page"

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With regards to being admitted as a Solicitor in NSW i can tell you that you have to apply with the LPAB first for an assessment. I have gone through the same assessments being an overseas practitioner being admitted to NSW. I then took the course which the LPAB itself offered and they gave me 6 subjects to do. From experience and talking to others in our class, the other practitioners from the UK had to do about 5-6 subjects which would be equivalent to 2 semesters because the LPAB will not let you do more than 3 subjects per semester. From my own study experience, and assuming you do the LPAB course, you need to have a good set of notes and i reckon if you wanted to, you can stay where you are, get the notes you need, do the assignments which are submitted online and then just fly to NSW for the exams. This is what i did except that i already lived in Sydney (but never attended classes due to work and family commitments). You should apply for a skills assessment with the LPAB and see what they would need you to do. If you need further advice PM me.

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Hi,

 

 

My name is Mohsen and I have an urgent enquiry regarding my skill assessment. I only saw your comments on PomslnOz Forum which was precisely accurate and I could get some ideas about my skill assessment. (It is absolutely vague for law students how to apply for skill assessment!)

 

 

I have done my LLB in 2012 and received skill assessment from Council of legal education in Victoria (please see the attached).Previously , I have not had the required points to apply for 189 however at this stage I can achieved 60 points which is the minimum requirement.

 

 

My specific question is that whether I need to get admitted as a Solicitor in order to apply for 189 or the attached skill assessment letter is sufficient.

 

 

I desperately need your opinion as it is critical for me to lodge my application asap.

 

 

My skill assessment is in September 2012 but as far as I know it is valid up to 3 years so I still have time to apply.

 

 

I really appreciated if you can answer my question.

 

 

 

 

Regards

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Hi all, it is so amazing to read all the that about the process. Can someone post the procedure for applying for skills assessment with Council of legal education in Victoria, please?

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If you type into google council of legal education Victoria skills assessment you get taken to the correct info on the top link. Sorry can't post link from phone. All the info should be on the website. I have also found the advisors in QLD in similar organization very helpful for clarifying anything tricky. I anticipate that you would have similar experience in Victoria.

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Thank you so much for that. I should have posted the question in a more clear way. I am from a civil law country, which I am sure that I have to do the essential 11 subjects. My question is when applying for skills assessment, will the assessment letter mention that I can apply for PR (subclass 189) and after that have access to study those subjects in one of the approved universities? or the assessment letter is only an illustration that I need to apply for university, get a student visa and after completion of the subjects apply for a PR?

 

That is confusing because I am intending to do my master degree in USA and thinking that investing in admission in a second jurisdiction is far more better than having a mere degree.

 

Please, I need an experienced opinion on that because that would change my career path and my life as well.

 

Thank you

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...My question is when applying for skills assessment, will the assessment letter mention that I can apply for PR (subclass 189) and ....

 

No, it will not mention anything about whether you are eligible or not to apply for PR or for any other visa.

The Council does not give advice about eligibility for visas.

http://www.lawadmissions.vic.gov.au/home/overseas+applicants/information+for+overseas+practitioners/migration+matters/


Australian Lawyer

Barrister-at-Law (Ireland)

Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1382825)

http://migration.lawyer

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Thank you Killara. So for the purpose of migration, how can I get a positive skills assessment in order to apply for sub 189?

 

This is the confusing part, Do I need only an assessment letter that only mention I need to sit the 11 subjects to apply for EOI only? Or I should study them first to be suitable for migration ?

 

If someone can clarify this to me, that would be great.

 

Thanks

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Hi, to be blunt about it, as mentioned above you need to do all the required core subjects (details are available online - I think everyone has to study constitutional law at an Australian university ) and then do your 2 year training contract. Once you have the academics right and the training and you are ready to be admitted / have been admitted in Australia you should get a positive skills assessment. Before this point you will get a letter saying you need to study x y z. You can't apply for your visa until everything is done. It is a really tough route to migration unfortunately. If you are at the beginning of this process and haven't commenced your degree you are looking at 5 years before applying. Really sorry this isn't a more positive response. You could always consider a student visa.

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Following on from this thread, can I ask if any qualified solicitors who have gone on to apply for skilled migration, have obtained a positive skills assessment from a Legal Practice Board in any state? If so, what does a positive skills assessment actually look like?

 

Having looked at the LPBWA's site, it indicates that once an applicant has had their skills assessed, completed any additional study requirements and obtained an eligibility certificate stating they are eligible to apply for admission, this will amount to a positive skills assessment (ie you don't need to have actually applied for admission). I also picked up that you can obtain an eligibility certificate once you've had your skills assessed and are in the process of completing the additional study requirements but you don't have to have completed them to apply for the certificate. Has anyone had experience of this?

 

I'm wondering whether there are any qualified solicitors who applied for their skills to be assessed, were told they needed to study x, y and z, enrolled on the x, y and z courses, applied for an eligibility certificate and received one saying (presumably something like) 'subject to passing x, y and z, the applicant is eligible for admission' and whether this eligibility certificate was then accepted as a positive skills assessment?

 

I suppose at the heart of this query is my original question about what does a positive skills assessment look like? My understanding from the LPBWA site is that it isn't going to say 'this is a positive skills assessment', so does that mean it's open to interpretation?

 

I hope there's someone out there who's had their skills assessed and gone on to obtain a positive skills assessment who can shed some light :)

 

Thanks for any help.

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Hi Killara

 

This is a specific enquiry but may help other solicitors looking to migrate on a 189 visa ...

 

Please could you elaborate where you say that you have experience of an experienced overseas legal practitioner being able to obtain a positive skills assessment without being admitted in Australia.

 

I've had my skills assessed and my assessment statement sets out I'm required to study 2 x PLT subjects (Professional Skills and Trust & Office Accounting) and 1 x academic subject (Constitutional law) to be eligible for admission. My first question is, can this be construed as a positive skills assessment as it's only 3 subjects?

 

If not, I'm currently studying and I had hoped that if and hopefully when I pass the 3 subjects, I'll be able to apply for a certificate of eligibility and I thought that this might stand as a positive skills assessment. It would however be a revelation which would instantly lower my blood pressure if I found out I could lodge my EOI (65 points) once I've either passed my last exam or got the eligibility letter, rather than waiting to be admitted. The reason is, my last exam is due to be passed in July and there is an admission ceremony I could just make on 01/08/16 but I will be 45 on 24/09/16, so this will leave only 6 weeks to wait and hope I am invited to apply before my birthday. If I don't get invited, all the investment of time and money is completely wasted as I lose points for age on my birthday which I can't make up another way.

 

If I can lodge the EOI in July, after passing my last exam, it's still tight, but I will have bought myself another month for the EOI to be processed, as well as saving the cost of attending the admission ceremony which could all be for nothing.

 

Your comments would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks

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