Recent news on the radio about fake certificates used by an individual to gain Australian citizenship baffled me as recognised universities all over the world have registration numbers allocated to each valid certificate and as far as my knowledge goes, Department of Immigration and Citizenship checks the authenticity of the attested certificates attached with the application for Permanent Resident or Temporary Resident visas. Besides this method of affirming if the certificates are original, professionals are also required to obtain approval from their respective professional societies or bodies such as Australian Computer Society, Australian Medical Association etc. ensuring a thorough check of the genuineness of the individuals’ educational qualifications. So how such a major slip would occur is beyond my comprehension.
Having pointed out the formal procedures, I would like to seize the opportunity to raise the question if skills assessment is essential. Sometimes employers insist that their to be employees’ skills be assessed by National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition and sometimes it is recommended to do so if migrants intend to pursue further studies on their arrival just as achieving the proposed bands in the International English Language Testing System is much desired. In my opinion, skills assessment is absolutely essential as it would definitely come in handy when applying for substantive positions and for Statutory Declarations that government organisations demand from their prospective candidates.
As I desired to continue in the teaching profession when I migrated to Australia fifteen years ago, in order to validate my overseas qualifications, not only did I have to enroll at an esteemed university for Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education with English and English as an Additional Language as my specialisations but I was also expected to score A in Professional English Assessment for Teachers in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Had I obtained a B in any one of the component I would have to re-sit for the assessment in that particular component after paying a fees of $200. In 2005, the law stated that the assessment was mandatory for graduates who had overseas qualifications from non-English speaking countries and were aspiring to be teachers. Fortunately, this testing is no longer offered by the Institute of Languages. Consequently, skills assessment becomes inevitable. As school teachers did not have to have doctoral degrees to be in the teaching profession, I got my Master of Arts Degree in English Literature assessed (transcripts of all the subjects studied in four semesters with the marks obtained) by NOOSR and was proud to get a certificate from Department of Education and Training that stated that my post graduate degree was equivalent to an Australian Master’s Degree. I firmly believe that we gain rather than lose by getting our skills assessed. What do you think?