The Skilled Migration Internship Program: Accounting (SMIPA) is a professional year program approved by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) (formerly known as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship), available to overseas students who have an Australian accounting degree qualification as a result of at least two years' study in Australia.

SMIPA involves: 

  • a minimum of 44 weeks' training, including a 12-week internship placement with a relevant host company
  • professional development and practical hands-on learning, with an emphasis on workplace preparation: Culture, ethics and expectations
  • recognition as a pathway for 485 graduate visa holders seeking permanent residency under general skilled migration (GSM)

Successful completion of SMIPA may attract additional points under the general skilled migration points test.

SMIPA was developed by CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants, and is delivered by registered providers who have been approved by all three professional accounting bodies.

The professional accounting bodies do not have a financial interest, direct or indirect, in SMIPA and do not gain any financial benefit from SMIPA. Enrolment in any of the accounting bodies’ professional programs is independent of an individual’s participation in SMIPA or any other DIBP-approved pathways to permanent residency.

SMIPA aims to achieve learning outcomes that would enhance the ability of a graduate to:

  • work within Australian legislative requirements applicable to workplaces and operations
  • work safely and participate in occupational safety, health and environment processes
  • work effectively within the organisation's requirements, including those for equal employment opportunity and diversity
  • communicate effectively in the workplace
  • participate in a team
  • provide effective client service
  • apply occupation-specific knowledge and skills to professional work situations
  • implement strategies to manage their personal career development

Who is eligible?

SMIPA is an option for overseas students who have obtained an Australian accounting degree qualification as a result of at least two years' study in Australia and hold a 485 graduate visa.

Graduates of Australian accounting degree programs have the option to complete SMIPA and gain an assessment that can be used to apply for GSM. The professional accounting bodies wish to reassure graduates of Australian accounting degree programs that they still have an opportunity to increase their English language proficiency or to complete this recognised professional year program.

From 1 July, 2010, graduates of Australian accounting degree programs who receive an assessment showing that you:

  • have a formal qualification assessed as being at least comparable to an Australian Bachelor degree
  • have completed of at least nine out of the 12 core knowledge areas at tertiary level, inclusive of the compulsory core knowledge areas relevant to your nominated Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) code
  • have an IELTS Academic or General Test Report Form (TRF) to show you have a band score of at least six on each of the four components – speaking, reading, listening and writing
  • will be able to use your assessment to apply for a 485 graduate visa. You will be able to use the 485 graduate visa period to either gain an IELTS Academic band score of at least seven or to complete SMIPA

CPA Australia will update assessments when we receive documentation showing that you have an IELTS Academic TRF Number to show you have a band score of at least seven on each of the four components – speaking, reading, listening and writing, or completed SMIPA.

For further information on the migration points test, see the DIBP website.

Neither the Professional Accounting Bodies or SMIPA are associated in any way with the AIFA Professional Year Program for Bookkeepers.

Does CPA Australia provide the SMIPA?

No. The SMIPA is overseen by the three professional accounting bodies. The program is delivered by registered providers who have been jointly approved by the three bodies. 

Does CPA Australia know what changes will occur to the GSM criteria? 

As soon as CPA Australia is advised of any changes to the General Skilled Migration (GSM) criteria or the skill assessment criteria, announcements are available. We are unable to offer any guidance as to how the GSM criteria will change in advance to the changes being announced. For the most up-to-date news, we recommend visiting the DIBP. 

Approved SMIPA providers