Labour Market Testing (LMT) for the Australian subclass 457 visa programme has begun and further details of how it will work have now been issued by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
All applications from 23 November will be subject to the new LMT rules but those lodged before this date will be unaffected.
The Government has sought to moderate the impact on Australian employers, and has consulted widely with industry prior to introduction of the new system.
The impact of Labour Market Testing will be limited to selected occupations only. Employers sponsoring for 457 visas in most occupations will not be affected.
There are also generous exemptions for transfers of employees from subsidiaries in the Asia-Pacific region.
For employers who do not fall within one of the above exemptions, Labour Market Testing will involve an extra administrative step which could cause delay and additional expense in obtaining the necessary 457 visa.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss how the new labour market testing requirement will affect your business.
Which occupations will be affected?
In terms of exemptions, the majority of skill level one and two occupations, generally those requiring a degree or a diploma, will be exempt. But engineers, nurses and trades such as cabinet makers, boat makers, wood machinist, fitters, welders, plumbers and bricklayers are included.
Exemptions due to trade obligations include applicants who are citizens of New Zealand, Chile and Thailand. Applicants who are employed by an associated business in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) could also be exempt.
Labour Market Testing will only be required for the following types of occupations:
- Trade occupations (ie requiring an apprenticeship or completion of the equivalent of an Australian Certificate IV)
- Technical occupations (ie requiring a Certificate IV)
Which occupations are exempted?
- Labour Market Testing will NOT be required for:
- Most Management Positions
- Most Professional Occupations
- Most Associate Professional Positions (requiring a diploma level qualification)
- The main exception to the above are people working in the engineering and nursing fields.
Other Exemptions to Labour Market Testing
Even if the occupation is on the LMT list, exemptions from labour market testing apply where:
- The applicant is a citizen of Chile or Thailand, or a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand;
- Where the employee already works for an associated entity of the sponsor in Chile, New Zealand or an ASEAN country (Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam);
- Where the employee has worked full time for the nominating business for the last 2 years;
- Where the business operates in a WTO member country and is seeking to sponsor senior management staff to work in Australia; or
- Where workers are required to respond to a major disaster
457 visa rules
The new rules require employers to test the local labour market before seeking to employ an overseas worker on a subclass 457 visa.
The government said that it believes it is adopting a sensible approach to the implementation of the new rules requiring employers to test the local labour market before seeking to employ an overseas worker on a subclass 457 visa.
But the rules are not as rigorous as they might have been under the previous government, most notably there is no minimum requirement for the length of time a job has to be advertised within Australia.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Michaelia Cash, said that labour market testing is a requirement of the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Act 2013 which was introduced by the previous government and passed by the previous Parliament in June. The current government does not believe that there was adequate consultation.
‘The government is committed to ensuring that the subclass 457 programme acts as a supplement to, and not a substitute for Australian workers. The government fully supports the principle that Australian workers have priority, but to bind employers up in needless red tape will only stymie Australian business and cost Australian jobs over the long run,’ explained Cash.
She announced that highly skilled occupations will be exempt from the LMT requirement and employers can advertise positions on their own company websites and on social media. Businesses that are part of a Labour Agreement will also be exempt from the requirements.
Labour market testing will apply to mainly technical and trade occupations available for sponsorship under the subclass 457 visa programme. Cash explained that exemptions will also apply in a small number of cases in which labour market testing would conflict with Australia’s international trade obligations. The Act also allows for the minister to declare exemptions in the event of a major disaster, in order to allow overseas disaster relief and recovery workers to enter Australia unimpeded.
She also said that the LMT implementation should be done in a practical way which accounts for its impact on Australian businesses and Australian workers alike.
How Must Labour Market Testing Be Conducted?
If required, Labour Market Testing will in general involve advertising the position and indicating why no suitable applicants were found from the Australian labour pool.
Labour Market Testing must have been done for the occupation at some stage in the 12 months prior to application. However, if staff have been made redundant in the occupation within the last 4 months, Labour Market Testing must be done after the redundancies have occurred.
Information provided in a Department of Immigration FAQ sheet indicates that advertising of positions via social media, company websites and other free means are perfectly acceptable ways to meet the Labour Market Testing requirement.
Alternatively, employers can provide:
- Labour Market Research;
- Support letters from government employment agencies; or
- Details of the business participating in job and career expos
For further information on latest labour market test (LMT) information on selected 457 visa occupations please contactwww.visaagency-australia.comor write to[email protected]
If you are interested in Australian visas, contact International Education Agency – Australia (IEAA) for information and advice on which visa is best suited to you. You can also try ourmigration services to see if you are eligible to apply for a visa to Australia.