If your organisation is considering sponsoring an overseas national on a TSS (subclass 482) or an Employer Nominated (subclass 186) visa their occupation will need to be on one of the Department of Home Affairs Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL).
In some cases, if the occupation is not in the list, organisations can make an application to the Australian government for a Labour Agreement.
What Is A Labour Agreement?
A Labour Agreement is an agreement between an organisation and the Commonwealth of Australia to facilitate the sponsorship of overseas workers where there is no existing availability under the standard visa programs.
Organisations will need to satisfactorily demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs that there is a genuine labour shortage of the particular occupation, and the organisation has an overall commitment to employing Australian workers rather than sponsoring overseas workers.
In other cases, if an organisation is considering employing a large amount of international workers and the TSS (subclass 482) visa programme is not suitable, a Labour Agreement can be negotiated between the Department of Home Affairs, and the employer or the employers peak industry body.
Ethos Migration Lawyers is well equipped to assist organisations whom are looking at establishing a Labour Agreement with the Commonwealth.
What Kinds Of Labour Agreement Are Available?
This is an agreement between an individual organisation and the Australian government and is assessed on a case by case basis by the Department.
When the Department identifies an ongoing labour shortage in a particular industry the Department can implement what is known as an ‘Industry Labour Agreement’ that businesses can apply for.
Designated Area Migration Agreement’s (DAMA) allows specified areas experiencing skill shortages to recruit international workers. State and Territory governments and Planning Commissions are the entities that apply for this agreement to enable skilled migrants to apply under.
This is a new category that was implemented by the Government and has now been made permanent. It enables businesses to sponsor workers for very niche and highly skilled positions.
Project Agreements are designed for project-based companies that have a genuine skills shortage during the construction phase of a resource or infrastructure program.
Companies with projects endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) under the China-Australia Investment Facilitation Agreement can also request a project agreement.
This type of Labour Agreement is negotiated by a project company through a ‘Deed of Arrangement’, and then individual Labour Agreements are established directly with employers.
How Can A Labour Agreement Help A Company?
If a company is requiring a skill set only held by overseas workers, for an occupation that is not on a suitable occupation list a Labour Agreement can facilitate this process.
Alternatively, if an industry has identified a shortage or gap in the local skilled labour market, a large scale number of overseas workers may be required to assist the business.
What Are The Requirements Of A Labour Agreement?
- The business must demonstrate that it has been lawfully operating in Australia for at least the last 12 months and has the financial capacity to support the proposed workers;
- A genuine skills or labour shortage must be demonstrated;
- Employer’s are required to make employment, education, training and career advancement commitments for Australians;
- Businesses will need to consult with relevant industry stakeholders such as unions, agencies and industry associations before a labour agreement can be sought;
- The Labour Agreement must be in the best interests of Australia, its economy and its people.
Labour Agreements Frequently Asked Questions
Labour Agreements are assessed on a case by case basis and can take the Department of Home Affairs up to six months to complete their assessment and process the Labour Agreement.
Business who have an approved Labour Agreement can sponsor skilled workers when the standard temporary and permanent visa programs are not suitable, or the designated occupation is not on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
Generally, a Labour Agreement will be in effect for a period of five years.
Depending on the particulars of the Labour Agreement, most approvals give employers the ability to sponsor workers for either up to two or four years and may provide pathways to permanent residency for workers.
Currently there is a Dairy Industry Labour Agreement with the occupation of ‘senior dairy cattle farm worker’ which allows for a sponsorship up to four years with the option for permanent residency.
Labour Agreements are very complex in nature and require a substantial amount of information, evidence, and in most cases a strong business case.
Whilst it is not a requirement to be represented on behalf of a request for a Labour Agreement, due to the complexity and amount of work involved, most organisations engage professional representation to ensure the highest chances of success.
No. If you have successfully obtained a Labour Agreement from the Department of Home Affairs you do not need to become a ‘Standard Business Sponsor’.
No, the training benchmark requirement has been replaced by the Skilling Australians Fund Levy (SAF).
Depending on the terms of your labour agreement, you will be able to sponsor a specified number of overseas workers based on the terms that have been agreed in your Labour Agreement.