Saturday, September 28, 2019

Australian Residency for Tutors

Beach and surfing is an integral part of life in Australia. Image by Fabricio Macedo FGMsp from Pixabay.

I bumped into a friend one day, and our conversation led to her plans of moving to Australia. She is married, with two kids, and has mostly worked as online English tutor. She has a degree from the University of the Philippines where she majored in Educational Communication. While our conversation did not really went verbatim as below, let me narrate it here just the same for the benefit of those who, like her, are planning to apply for an Australian residency DIY.

Q. So what was the first thing you did in relation to your plans of moving to Australia?

A. As people have advised me, particularly in online fora, the first step is always the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). The SOL lists the eligible skilled occupations which would allow an individual to qualify for an Australian working visa provided that all other requirements are met.


The SOL is updated regularly, so it is best to check it regularly too. You can find the SOL in the Home Affairs website, In the case of my friend, she was looking for a teaching role which aligns with her experience. Fortunately for her, there is the Private Tutors and Teachers NEC (NEC means not elsewhere classified, it is a catch-all occupation within the tutoring and teaching role) with ANZCO Code 249299. Searching the Home Affairs SOL search tool showed this result:

ANZCO Code 249299 Private Tutors and Teachers NEC

From the search, occupation 249299 will qualify one for different visas: Subclasses 190, 407, 489, 482, and 187. I am familiar with these options (I did my permanent residency visa DIY too), so I asked her next:

Q. With these visa options, what will you choose?

A. Residency visa in Australia is points tested. Subclass 190 will be tough, 407 is not appropriate, 482 and 187 require employer nomination. This seems to leave me with no other option but Subclass 489. But..

Yes, there is a but and it is not bad. The Australian Government has decided to close Subclass 489 (invited pathway) to new applications from 15 November 2019. That was fast, I thought.


The Subclass 491 will be replacing Subclass 489. Home Affairs has published a new instrument (LIN 19/051) which provides guidance on the changes to Subclass 489 and the SOL.

Click here to download LIN 19/051

Click here to download the Explanatory Note for LIN 19/051

This is good news to my friend. Her nominated occupation, Private Tutors and Teachers NEC  (ANZCO Code 249299) remains part of the Short Term SOL (STSOL) in the new Subclass 491. The best part is, a new occupation, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ANZCO Code 249311) has been added in the STSOL! This is in Item 90, Section 9, Page 14 of LIN 19/051.

Q. So what will you do now? Will you nominate ANZCO 249299 or ANZCO 249311?

A. This gets a little confusing. The best thing to do, I guess, is to check which of these two will suit my skills, experience and qualifications best. I need to try to improve my chances of getting the visa.


According to the ANZCO information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics website, TEACHERS OF ENGLISH TO SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES teach classes in English to students whose first language is a language other than English.

Tasks Include:
  • assessing the extent of language difficulties in students for whom English is a second language teaching students individually and in small groups out of the regular classroom, and assisting students within normal classroom settings 
  • teaching students English language skills using a variety of methods including lecture and visual demonstration 
  • providing assistance to other classroom teachers by designing special teaching programs for students with English language difficulties 
  • designing and producing teaching materials and adapting existing materials 
  • preparing course outlines and goals assigning lessons, correcting homework, and preparing and grading exams 
  • analysing, recording and reporting progress to regular classroom teachers, parents and students

According to my friend, the ANZCO description of the tasks where a classroom setting is expected could disqualify her. It is a risk to nominate ANZCO 249311.

On the other hand, PRIVATE TUTORS AND TEACHERS teach students in the practice, theory and performance of subjects, such as art, dance, drama and music, in private training establishments.

Tasks Include:
  • planning programs of study for individual students and groups 
  • preparing and presenting material on the theory of the subject area 
  • instructing and demonstrating practical aspects of the subject area 
  • assigning problems and exercises relative to students' training needs and talents 
  • assessing students and offering advice, criticism and encouragement 
  • revising curricula, course content, course materials and methods of instruction 
  • preparing students for examinations, performance and assessments 
  • keeping abreast of developments in the subject area by attending professional conferences, seminars and courses, reading current literature, and talking with colleagues 
  • may arrange visits and tours to professional exhibitions and performances 
  • may organise for exhibitions or performances of students' work
ANZCO 249299 is really the right occupation to nominate, my friend concluded. It aligns well with her experience as online tutor.

Q. Okay, so now that you are sure of the ANZCO occupation to nominate, what is the next step?

A. I will need a VETASSESS assessment. VETASSESS is the body or agency which is given the authority to provide suitability assessment for a nominated occupation, in this case ANZCO 249299. Other occupations will have a different assessing authority, mind you.


According to VETASSES, my friend's nominated occupation is classified as General Professional Occupation. To apply for assessment, one should create an account with VETASSESS at But before that, it would be prudent to have all the details and supporting papers first, as my friend did.

Q. How did you prepare for the VETASSESS assessment?

A. I downloaded the paper application form so I get an idea of what information will be required. I know, I will not be applying on paper. I will apply online. The paper form is downloadable at

Based on this form, these are the information needed, in addition to personal data:

  • Employment Details with List of Main Tasks and Duties
  • Professional License or Registration
  • Membership of Professional Body
  • Qualifications

The form also contains a required documents checklist which is reproduced below:

The additional evidence required for the Philippines based on the Explanatory Note (which then refers to Appendix A) is that if the applicant has passed the Professional Regulation Commission's Licensure Examinations, providing documentary evidence will POSITIVELY impact the application.

Q. The way I see it, it is crucial that you get a statement from your employer. But wait, aren't you an independent contractor?

A. Yes, I am an independent contractor. I have worked for the online ESL tutoring sites. I can, however, provide proof of having been an ESL tutor. 


My friend focused on the requirements from VETASSESS. Specifically, the Explanatory Note in the paper application form advised that:

Because of labor laws in the Philippines, employers are wary of using employment as a term. My friend is an independent contractor, so she asked for a Statement of Service (Work Reference) from her employer and prepared copies of her payslips. The statement of service is guided by Appendix B reproduced below:

Essentially, in addition to the above details, my friend asked for a document which reads like this:

"To Whom It May Concern:

This is to certify that xxx has independently contracted with This Company as private tutor from xx-Month-20xx to present. Her salary is Phpxx.xx (In Words) per hour. Due to our business model, we do not have full-time or part-time tutors as such, but all hours of work of our tutors are logged to enable correct payment of wages. The hours of work of xxx is indicated in detail in Appendix A.

As tutor, xxx is responsible for the following tasks:
  • planning programs of study of the English language for each student 
  • preparing and presenting material on English as a language 
  • instructing and demonstrating English communications 
  • assigning problems and exercises relative to the learning progression of each student 
  • assessing students and offering advice, criticism and encouragement 
  • revising curricula, course content, course materials and methods of instruction
  • preparing students for examinations, performance and assessments 
Her full duties and responsibilities are part of the contract between This Company and each independent contracting tutors. Attached is a copy of the said contract as Appendix B.

xxx also has an online profile as tutor which is available as part of our promotional strategy. Kindly refer to http:/url.of.her.profile.

This certification is issued upon request of xxx for whatever legal purpose it may serve."

The letter is dated and signed according to the guidance shown above. The statement of tasks may look familiar, and it should, because it is very much similar to the task listing in the ANSCO occupation at the Australian Bureau of Statistics website first mentioned above.

Q. So, how much is the assessment fee?

A. The assessment fee is published in the website, For my nominated occupation, the fee is AUD880.00. Lodging online is cheaper compared to the paper-based and it is faster too. I do not need documents to be certified, all I have to do is scan them in high resolution and in colour. It is also interesting to note that lodging offshore is cheaper still, because there is no GST, that's similar to VAT in the Philippines.


After obtaining a positive assessment from VETASSESS, the next step is to submit an expression of interest in SkillSelect at the Home Affairs website. The Subclass 489 guidance at (there is no page for Subclass 491 yet I suppose) provides a timeline as follows:

The waiting game begins.