A labour agreement is an understanding between an employer and the federal government to import workers who are skilled in a particular field and are needed to work in Australia.
The visas can be obtained on a temporary or permanent basis and allows workers to stay here for up to two or three years, depending on the arrangement. An experienced immigration lawyer can assist in applying for a labour agreement with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
The types of jobs eligible under labour agreements include roles like miners or skilled meat workers, or a number of occupations that aren't covered by a temporary business visa or the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
The temporary visas granted under a labour agreement allows workers to stay and work in Australia for up to four years, travel in and out of the country as often as they like and grant eligible secondary applicants to come with them to Australia.
The benefits of the permanent visa include allowing workers to study in Australia, receive healthcare through Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), access social security benefits and eligibility for citizenship.
Employers are able to apply for a labour agreement if they demonstrate to the federal government and the relevant department that they have already committed to hiring and training Australian workers.
An employee under a labour agreement must meet the appropriate criteria for the role,which include age, skill level and an understanding of the English language.
To be eligible for this scheme, an employer must show a commitment to improve the working landscape of Australia through a pledge to work with government to better train Australian workers. As well as this they must provide documentation detailing their attempts to hire from a local workforce, to show that they are a legitimate business with a good record of compliance with relevant legislation and immigration law,and be a direct employer of the migrant recruits.
The obligations for employers under the labour agreement are based on a case-by-case basis. Employees' obligations are to abide by the visa under which they entered the country.
This means that if employees wish to remain in Australia, they must keep their job with the same employer and not work for another organisation, person or themselves.