How to work as an Electrician in Australia?

For a lot of overseas qualified Electricians or other trades workers, it is very confusing to find what you need to do to work in your occupation in Australia. Therefore we have outlined the steps you need to take to apply for a visa and work in Australia.

Do I need Australian licensing to work in the trade?

To be able to work in many different trades in Australia, you are required to hold a license for the occupation.

Unfortunately there is not one single licensing body for all trades. This is due to the fact that licensing requirements vary throughout the different States of Australia.

Generally speaking any electrical work MUST be done by a licensed electrician.

It is common for many foreign trained electricians to work as a trade assistant for a construction or electrical company, however you are not allowed to undertake any electrical work if you are not licensed.

A trade assistant assists a qualified tradesman and is not qualified in the role.


Already in Australia?

If you are already in Australia on a student or working holiday visa, then you can apply for a license to work here.

The first step towards applying to work in Australia is that you apply for an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR).

What is the process to gain licensing?

Obtaining a full license in Australia can take a considerable amount of time. Below is a brief outline of the steps required to gain licensing for someone who is qualified in their trade in their home country. Please note the licensing requirement can vary in each state of Australia.

Apply to have an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR).

An OTSR is done through a registered training organisation. There are numerous organisations eligible to provide an offshore technical skills record around Australia.

During an OTSR, the applicant must demonstrate that they have the technical skills required to work in the occupation in Australia. They do this by checking your previous education and experience with the technical competencies that are gained through an Australian qualification.

Apply for a Provisional License

Once you have completed an OTSR you can apply to the licensing body in your state for a provisional license.

A provisional license allows you to work in your trade under the supervision of a licensed tradesman. During your provisional license you will need to undertake additional training in order to be provided with the Australian qualification to work in your occupation.

You would need to apply for your license in the State or Territory that you intend to work in. Below are the links to the electrical authorites in each state:









Undertake additional training and work experience in your occupation

Whilst on a provisional license the holder must work supervised in Australia and undertake gap training, or Australian specific training. For example you will need to undertake a training course in Australian safety standards.

When you obtain your OTSR you are generally given a list of short courses or training that you must undertake in order to obtain this license, and a time frame in which you must complete this training (usually 12 months).

Obtain the Australian Qualification

Provided you have completed the required gap training and the required supervised employment, you can then apply to obtain an Australian qualification for your trade. This is done through the RTO. This is the same qualification that someone who completed an apprenticeship, or undertook the education in Australia obtained.

Applicants are required to have an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) III Qualification or equivalent to work in most trades. Some common Australian trade qualifications include:

• Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
• Certificate III in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning
• Certificate III in Carpentry
• Certificate III in Joinery
• Certificate III in Painting and Decorating
• Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying

Apply for a full license.

Once you have obtained your Australian qualification and the relevant gap training, you can then apply for your full license in the state you would like to work. Please note having a full license to work in Australia does not guarantee you a work visa. You will still require an employer to sponsor your visa or apply through general skilled migration.

Provisional Licensing vs Full license?

A provisional license is often granted after you have completed your OTSR. On a provisional license you must work under the supervision of a licensed tradesman. However you can undertake gap training in order to obtain your full license.

On a full license, you can work unsupervised as an Electrician in Australia.

Most common visas to work as an Electrician in Australia?

What visas require a skills assessment.

For most countries, only general skilled migration visas require a skills assessment. However certain countries require a skills assessment before they can obtain an employer sponsored (TSS, 186 or 187) visa.

What visa requires licensing?
• To apply for general skilled migration (189 or 190) licensing is usually not required for the visa to be granted.
• For employer sponsored visas (457, 187 or 186) licensing is usually required, however visas are often granted without a license in place. The applicant cannot start working in the role without a valid license.
• Students or Working Holiday Makers do not require a license for the visa, however may obtain a provisional license or work as a trade assistant to a qualified tradesman in Australia.
Graduate Visa - Pathway To Aus

General Skilled Migration

General Skilled Migration (189 or 190) is a permanent visa in Australia that does not require an employer to sponsor.

Graduate Visa - Pathway To Aus

Employer Sponsored Visa

Employer Sponsored (TSS, 186 or 187) visa allows the visa holder to work in their trade for the company in Australia. It may lead to PR after 2 years.


International students

Unfortunately international students cannot undertake an apprenticeship in Australia. However there are many international colleges that offer courses that allow you to become a qualified trades person in Australia. Most of these courses include at least 360 hours of work experience with a qualified trade person.

Partial qualification outside of Australia

If you have completed a partial qualification from outside Australia, you may be able to apply for partial credit transfer so you get credit for some components of an Australian qualification. A City and Guilds level 2 from the UK, may be considered comparable to an AQF level 3 under certain circumstances. This is judged on a case by case basis depending on the content of the course studied.


In case of questions, feel free to reach out to one of our experienced Registered Migration Agents.

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How to work as an Electrician in Australia was last modified: August 11th, 2021 by Nick Yock