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Permanent residency skills lists

Social work is a great career option for those seeking Australian permanent residency. It is currently included in the following two permanent residency skills lists:

  • The Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)

  • The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme List (RSMSL)

Book a free migration consultation today for help with your migration pathway.

“Social work is not only about helping people, but it is also about extending a hand of love, care and nurture to the one in need and be the reason of adding smile and happiness to other people.” Preeti V, Social Work Graduate

Book IELTS for Social Work

Social Work career pathways

Social workers are in high demand both within Australia and across the globe. Qualified social workers can pursue careers in many roles such as:

Due to the high demand for these skills, social workers can apply for any visa within the Australian Skilled Migration Program. Applicable visas include:

Anyone applying for permanent residency via a social work career will need to gain the appropriate qualifications, as well as receive a positive skills assessment from the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

Social Work: Employment outlook in Australia

The National Skills Commission (NSC) creates employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. From November 2021 to November 2026, the number of social workers is likely to reach 49,300 by 2026.

Earnings and hours

  • 64% of people employed as Social Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined.

  • Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job.

  • More than a third of workers regularly work overtime or extra hours (either paid or unpaid).

Sources: ABS, 2016 Census

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)


Social Workers

All Jobs Average

Full-Time Earnings



Source: ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021.


A majority of Social Workers work in the Health care and social assistance industry while some are also employed in industries like:

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)


Social Workers

All Jobs Average

























The regions with the largest share of workers are:

  • Melbourne - Inner

  • Melbourne - North East

  • Melbourne - West

  • Adelaide - South

  • Melbourne - Outer East

Source: ABS Census 2016

For more insights, please visit: Labour Market Insights

"From my personal experience, this course has made me discover my love for people, community and the disadvantaged. It has also helped me broaden my horizons and understand the theories behind human suffering. I am glad to have studied social work and feel that I am a more mature person who can contribute positively to the community. " Preeti V, Social Work Graduate

What is the AASW?

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the governing body of Australian social workers. While there is no legal registration requirement for social workers in Australia, AASW membership is required for many social work jobs. AASW membership requires applicants to have completed an AASW approved degree, or to have received a positive assessment of any qualifications received overseas.

What is involved in an AASW skills assessment for migration purposes?

In order to receive a positive skills assessment from the AASW for migration purposes, the AASW must be able to verify:

  • The applicant has met the higher education provider requirements

  • The applicant has or is eligible to graduate with a Bachelor of Social Work or a Master of Social Work

  • The applicant meets the AASW English language requirements

What are the AASW English language requirements?

The AASW asserts that proficient English language skills are essential for safe, effective and respectful social work practice in Australia. In order to meet the AAWS English language requirements, applications must undertake the IELTS academic test. IELTS is the only test accepted by the AASW.

Applicants must achieve the following minimum IELTS scores through a maximum of two sittings in any six month period:

  • A minimum overall score of 7.0

  • A minimum score of 7.0 in each of the four components, with no component scoring below 6.5

There is one exemption available for the IELTS requirement. An applicant will not need to undertake the IELTS if they can demonstrate:

  • Their entire secondary education was taught, assessed and completed in English (in a nominated country)

  • They have completed and passed three years or equivalent of full-time tertiary study

  • This tertiary study was at a bachelor degree level or higher

  • This tertiary study was also taught and assessed in English (in a nominated country)

If you are considering applying for permanent residency via a social work career pathway, you can book your academic test here.

What qualifications are needed to become a social worker?

Aside from the AASW membership required for many social work roles, there are some tertiary qualifications required to undertake social work in Australia.

Bachelor of Social Work

A Bachelor of Social Work is the minimum requirement to work as a social worker in Australia. This four year degree provides students with the skills and experience needed for employment in social work and human services fields.

Master of Social Work

While not essential for many social work roles, a Master of Social Work is ideal for students planning to work with children or vulnerable adults. This two year course builds on the knowledge gained during the Bachelor of Social Work. This course also provides a pathway for students with a bachelor degree in another field to enter the social work profession without completing a Bachelor of Social Work.

Where to study social work

If you’re planning to study social work in Australia, there are several universities offering courses recognised by the AASW. It’s important to do your own research to ensure the university you choose is suitable for you. The following are some recommended social work courses:

How to prepare for IELTS?

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Achieving a great IELTS score takes time and planning. You can’t just book and take your test in a matter of days – no matter how strong your English skills are. Successful test takers create a schedule to help them study everything they need to know before they sit an IELTS test. They make time to practise all four English skills – ListeningReadingWriting and Speaking – as they know that each one is different.

If they have trouble with a topic, they attend a FREE Masterclass with an IELTS expert who can teach them how to improve. And, when they’re almost ready to take IELTS, they will complete as many practice tests as they can find. 

So, when there are hundreds of resources to help you study, where do you begin? Click here to access your go-to guide to IELTS preparation. All of our most important materials – both free and paid – are listed here, divided by category.

Start preparing now

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. It’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. If you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.