Labour Agreements

Labour Agreements provide significant benefits to employers

Labour Agreements are individually negotiated agreements between the Department of Home Affairs (‘DHA’) and an employer.

While more time consuming and complex than standard Business Sponsorship Agreements, Labour Agreements provide significant benefits to employers, such as granting access to skills that are not included on the 457 visa list, reduced levels of English, work experience or other concessions based on a business case. Hammond Taylor can assist businesses and other organisations to negotiate agreements with the Department of Home Affairs to access Labour Agreements.

Overview of recent changes

The Federal government’s announcement of the 457 visa abolition in April 2017 (replaced by the TSS subclass 482 visa in March 2018) was the beginning of a fundamental rearrangement of government priorities for employer sponsored migration. These changes reach far beyond the 457 visa to impact all areas of employer sponsored migration including permanent residency, training and research and development visas.

The 457 visa program and related employer sponsored permanent residency had officially been the government’s first priority for skilled migration since 2011. However, the system has been significantly reduced with the removal of numerous occupations and removal of a direct pathway to permanent residency for many 457 visa holders. This narrower system is the ‘new normal’ and in many cases organisations will need to look outside the 457 visa program to meet their skill needs.

Employers who cannot satisfy the new 457 visa requirements may consider the Labour Agreement system. The Labour Agreement system was first implemented to allow employers to source labour outside the framework of the 457 visa program. While very few Labour Agreements were issued in the first years of the program the Department of Home Affairs has revised its operation and it is now the preferred pathway for obtaining employer sponsored labour where the criteria of the 457 visa system cannot be satisfied.

Unlike other aspects of the visa program, the negotiation of a Labour Agreement is not governed by specific regulations or other legal criteria. The process is established and managed by the Labour Agreement office within the Department. Hammond Taylor can assist clients to build an appropriate business case and navigate the process.

The benefit of the Labour Agreement process is that it provides access to employer visa sponsorship where it would not normally be available. Organisations can negotiate access to occupations which would not normally be on the employer sponsored list, removal of caveats, or the reduction or exemption of other standard criteria.

For more information on the Labour Agreement process contact our office today to discuss.

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