Received EXCELLENT news today: A South African university qualified engineer who studied at a reputable institution in English, does not have to do the Migration Skills Assessment!!! Furthermore, as the degree was done in English, Engineers Australia does not require you to do the IELTS! (I now just have to ascertain whether or not the Immigration Department still requires the IELTS for visa purposes.) What you have to do is sign up for Engineers Australia membership and they will issue the necessary letter for immigration purposes confirming that a skills assessment is not required. (There is an alternative route that can be taken by doing the Washington Accord assessment for $250 but you still then have to join Engineers Australia.)
So ... no onerous assessments, no problem getting professional membership, no problem getting your immigration letter re your skills ... now just have to get to the bottom of the visa requirements.
Here's a reply from Engineers Australia that may be of interest to others:
I asked them: 'Would a South African electrical engineer need to do the migration skills assessment in order to work as an electrical engineer in Australia?'
They replied (and very promptly I might add) saying:
'Generally a person will not need to be assessed to work as an engineer.
This is a matter however for each Australian State and Territory and you will need to contact the relevant State/Territory in which you intend to work.
Migration Skills Assessment details are attached in the event that you intend to apply for skilled migration.'
Now to hunt down the State/Territory and pose the relevant question!
Must say I am surprised by their answer as the visa form clearly says that if you haven't worked in Australia in that capacity for a certain period and you are not an executive who will be earning more than $165 000 pa, you must have your skills assessed.