Self-employment experience for a professional occupation Skills Assessment

Posted on 7/5/2021 by tharakap VETASSESS in Blog

By Neha Seigell

July 2021 - If you work as an independent contractor/freelancer or you are the sole proprietor of a business, you can take a skills assessment with us.

You may not have the same type of documents to submit as if you were an employee, but you can still satisfy the requirements with other documentary evidence.

What counts as self-employed?

There are different forms of self-employment, such as:

  • Owning your own business
  • Being a member of a partnership where you share the ownership of the business
  • Being a contractor or a freelancer.

What self-employment experience is accepted as skilled employment?

Self-employment experience is considered as ‘skilled employment’ if it meets the following:

  • It was undertaken after you met the entry level requirements for your nominated occupation, in other words after you qualified at the required educational level
  • It involved your primary/main duties being performed at the level of depth and complexity for the nominated occupation
  • It was paid full-time employment.

Documentary Evidence for self-employed people

If you are self-employed, here are a few points to consider about documentation requirements before you apply for a skills assessment:

1. Official Reference Letter

To support your self-employment claims, we require official evidence from authorised individuals. This could be a legal practitioner or a qualified accountant. The statement from the accountant or the legal practitioner must be on their official letterhead and clearly explain how long you have been continuously self-employed.

It must also include the exact employment dates in each role held, the nature of the business conducted, your primary responsibilities and the details of annual income earned.

A self-written testimonial on your company letterhead is not considered as official evidence.

If you are a member of a partnership, you can provide a statement of service from the partner/s in the company who share the ownership of the business. The reference must include the official company letterhead and clearly explain how long you have been continuously self-employed in the partnership.

It must also include the exact employment dates in each role held, the nature of the business conducted, your primary responsibilities and the details of annual income earned.

If you are a freelancer, in addition to the statement from the accountant or the legal practitioner, you can provide a statement of service from the client company that employed you for the project.

The reference must be on their official company letterhead and clearly explain how long you have been engaged in the project for, your primary role, exact employment dates in each role held, the nature of services provided, and details of income earned.

You can find out more information in our Self-employment Reference Template here

2. Business Registration for self-employed people

If your business is officially registered, you must provide business registration records. If you are a member of a partnership, you must provide a partnership deed. If you have a Taxation Registration document confirming your business, you can include this in your application.

3. Statutory Declaration to support claims

A statutory declaration listing your main duties may be provided to support your self-employment claims. A statutory declaration cannot be accepted instead of official evidence of your exact employment dates, position title(s) or as payment evidence.

In order for us to consider the contents of a Statutory Declaration for skills assessment purposes, the statutory declaration (or equivalent legal document) must be properly executed by the appropriate legal professional(s) in the country of origin. You may wish to seek legal advice as to how this is carried out in the country where you currently live.

You can find out more information about the Statutory Declaration Template here.

4. Supplementary Evidence to support claims

Your supplementary evidence may include contracts with clients or suppliers, client testimonials, and evidence of projects. The client testimonials must include the services your business provided and the exact employment period (start and end date) of this engagement.

5. Payment Evidence of self-employment

Only paid employment can be considered for a skills assessment. Payment evidence showing regular income from self-employment may include client invoices together with corresponding bank statements and/or official taxation records. Payment evidence must include your name and your client’s name.

Is an organisational chart required?

If you are nominating a managerial occupation or one of the following occupations: Management Consultant, Marketing Specialist, Internal Auditor and Program or Project Administrator, you must submit an organisational chart for your self-employment experience.

Ideally, the organisational chart should be on the letterhead of your company and outline your position, and those of your superiors and subordinates as well as all positions reporting to your direct subordinates. This can be issued by the partner/s in your company. If your business doesn’t have a structured hierarchy and reporting lines, you can provide a statutory declaration explaining the structure of your company and other relevant information.

Do I need to provide my working hours per week?

For skills assessment purposes, full-time work is paid employment performed for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Your official employment evidence should include your hours worked per week. However, we understand that this may vary depending on your business’ engagement with different clients. To address the variation in hours, we may seek further clarification from you or ask you to provide detailed evidence of the terms of work engagement and income payments.

Skills Assessment Support Services

For employment assessment, we require that the employment experience be highly relevant to the nominated occupation and at an appropriate skill level. This means that the major tasks undertaken in your everyday work should closely match the major tasks usually undertaken in that occupation in Australia. Management of your core business or general business operations in addition to some relevant tasks may not be considered as meeting the requirements for your nominated occupation.

Finally, we understand that types of self-employment vary. If you are unsure about any aspect of the skills assessment process, we can discuss your individual circumstances through our Skills Assessment Support Services.

We provide additional and tailored support via a 30-minute phone consultation for Document Checking and our Consultation Service. These individual services can support you in understanding the documentation requirements and the assessment criteria that apply to professional occupational classifications. They can help you to submit an assessment-ready application for an occupation that we assess.

You can find out more about this service here

Neha Seigell is the Assessment Quality and Compliance Team Leader at VETASSESS, and is responsible for maintaining quality review processes and procedures for skills assessments undertaken by VETASSESS for more than 300 professional occupations. As a qualified Quality Officer to conduct internal audits, Neha ensures that VETASSESS’ quality and business compliance systems follow internal and regulatory requirements as well as identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.


VETASSESS is Australia’s leading vocational education and training (VET) skills assessment provider for both migration and national skills recognition.