Labour Agreements

A Labour Agreement may be the solution for an Australian employer who seeks to hire a skilled overseas worker but does not meet the criteria for any standard sponsorship scheme or visa pathway.

What is a Labour Agreement and how do I get one?

A Labour Agreement is a formal arrangement between an employer and the Australian Government for the entry of a specified number of overseas workers via the temporary visa subclass 482 or 494 and/or the permanent visa subclass 186, some of which may involve employer or employee concessions.

Like Australia’s other skilled migration programs, the Labour Agreement stream is intended to supplement and complement the domestic workforce, not to replace or reduce opportunities for Australian workers who should be employed, trained and upskilled as the employer’s first choice. Labour Agreement requests must be based on a sustainable, evidence-based employer business model that is not wholly or overly reliant on overseas workers but demonstrates need to employ them because Australian workers with suitable qualifications, training and experience cannot be sourced through domestic recruitment attempts.

The Department of Home Affairs assesses Labour Agreement requests. Assessment is generally time-consuming and often involves complex negotiations. The Minister may intervene directly to approve or decline a request that is considered exceptional, sensitive, likely to attract media or stakeholder interest, that impacts the domestic economy or national interest, or that seeks additional concessions.

Once an Agreement is approved, the employer is responsible for nominating workers who meet the occupation criteria for an appropriate visa subclass under the terms and conditions of the Agreement.

Labour Agreement types

  1. Company Specific – specific to an individual company and their business circumstances.
  2. Minister of Religion – specific to an individual religious organisation and circumstances.
  3. Industry Templates – apply to the following industries where the Minister has already determined the eligibility criteria and available concessions: on-hire, advertising, meat processing, restaurant (fine dining), fishing, dairy, pork and horticulture.
  4. Designated Area Migration Agreement – for regional areas, negotiated by a state or territory government, or a statutory or regional authority.
  5. Global Talent Stream – to sponsor highly skilled and experienced workers as ‘job multipliers’ in established businesses or STEM (technology based) start-ups.
  6. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) subclass 494 visa – for skilled workers to live, work and study only in designated regional areas for 5 years.

Expert guidance on Labour Agreements

Led by renowned expert Alan Chanesman, PLAYFAIR®’s Labour Agreement specialists will help you explore this option with integrity and efficiency.

A leading commentator on the labour market and migration law, respected for his policy insight and pragmatism, Alan swiftly finds worker engagement solutions for our business clients.