Could a Labour Agreement give your business a competitive advantage?

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Sometimes a business needs an “out of the box” solution to secure a key talent into their business, outside of the standard visa sponsorship rules. In such instances, a Labour Agreement can provide a customised pathway for a business to sponsor someone into a position which would otherwise be unavailable to that person.

What is a Labour Agreement?

A Labour Agreement is a bespoke sponsorship arrangement between an employer and the Australian Department of Home Affairs. It is generally in place for five years. Only accessible in limited or exceptional circumstances, arrangements under each Labour Agreement are intended to assist employers to address immediate skills needs where a business can demonstrate a strong business case for needing to access those skills.

With a Labour Agreement in place, Australian businesses can sponsor and engage overseas workers in response to a legitimate skills or labour shortage which cannot be satisfied by the standard TSS program.

Possible uses of a Labour Agreement

A Labour Agreement could be an ideal solution in the following circumstances:

  1. A position in your business is not available on the Skilled Occupation List
  2. A person who you have identified to fill a position within the business does not have the English language level ordinarily required for the TSS visa
  3. You wish to sponsor someone into a semi-skilled position (ANZSCO Skill Level 4) and you cannot fill the role from the Australian labour market
  4. You seek concessions to the minimum salary, based on the particular circumstances of your business or industry
  5. You require a permanent residence pathway which is not otherwise available under the standard TSS / ENS visa rules.

How to obtain a Labour Agreement?

Labour Agreements are by request only. A company interested in obtaining a Labour Agreement  would submit a pro forma business case outlining why the company needed to access global talent outside of the standard framework of the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa program (subclass 482) or the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186).

The Department has moved to online lodgement of Labour Agreement submissions via ImmiAccount, meaning that employers will now need to prepare their business case submission using an online form. The new online request form will provide a more streamlined way of requesting a labour agreement and will speed up the processing of requests.

The online form will generate questions based on the responses that are provided, and this will determine the type of Labour Agreement being applied for. Responses in the online form will also enable streamlined decision making. As a result, strong technical knowledge about Labour Agreements will be required to ensure that the correct type of Labour Agreement is being requested and that the key requirements are met – for example, a Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA), a Project Agreement, a Company-Specific Agreement, an Industry Agreement, or an On-Hire Agreement.

At this stage, there will be no changes to the current process of varying an existing labour agreement.

Global Talent Scheme  (GTS) Agreements

Access to the Global Talent Scheme or GTS program may also be sought through the online system. The GTS is for accredited employers who are seeking to fill niche, highly-skilled roles where the employer’s needs cannot be met under existing skilled entry programs. Compared to traditional labour agreements, the GTS provides fast processing and flexible concessions for approved participants via an Established Business stream and Startup Business stream. The GTS program caters for new and emerging roles which are not defined in the ANZSCO occupation dictionary, as well as providing other concessions to TSS criteria such as age, English language or skill.

How can we help?

With several different types of labour agreements available, and with each having discrete and strict adherence requirements and a detailed application process, it can be challenging for a business to know if they qualify under relevant law.

The Migration Agency can help support your business to access global talent with a Labour Agreement by:

  • Identifying your eligibility to apply for a Labour Agreement – We can assess your specific circumstances and advise whether your business is eligible for a Labour Agreement under Australian immigration law.
  • Assisting with negotiations on your Labour Agreement or On-Hire Labour Agreement – We have a deep knowledge of relevant laws to help you put your best foot forward to seek a Labour Agreement. We assist business owners with negotiations, supporting them with clear advice and a step-by-step process.
  • Managing compliance with the Labour Agreement or On-Hire Labour Agreement  – A Labour Agreement goes well beyond negotiations with the Government and approval. Detailed knowledge of contract law is required for a migration agent administering a Labour Agreement immigration program (and not many migration agents have contract law experience). Additionally, specialist knowledge of Labour Agreements is required to process visa applications under the agreement. We will ensure that your immigration program is managed correctly, and your obligations as a Labour Agreement sponsor will be met.
  • Negotiate unique sponsorship arrangements with the Department of Home Affairs – Our combined knowledge of contract negotiation and immigration law can help negotiate a unique sponsorship arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs more effectively. The Migration Agency helps employers optimise their immigration program and access little known benefits outside of the standard TSS visa framework, regardless of the size of your business.

Please contact us on 8896 6056 or for a discussion about whether your business could utilise the Labour Agreement program to access global talent.

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