Regional Labour Agreements

With international border closures reducing the number of Working Holiday makers in Australia, and with demand for Australian made and grown goods on the increase, farmers may be finding it difficult to source skilled workers. One option for these businesses may be to sponsor overseas workers (including those who are currently in Australia) through a Labour Agreement.

Businesses can lodge a Labour Agreement request, which will be assessed by the Department of Home Affairs. If approved, Labour Agreements enable approved businesses to sponsor workers for occupations that might not be available through the usual temporary or permanent visa programs.

There are a number of different types of Labour Agreements, including Company Specific agreements and Industry labour agreements. Farming and agricultural businesses may be interested in Industry Labour Agreements such as the Dairy, Pork, and Horticulture Labour Agreements.

All three of these agreements allow nomination for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Subclass 482 visa with a pathway to transition to the permanent Employer Nominated Scheme (ENS) Subclass 186 visa after three years, or to nominate for a Provisional Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa that has its own pathway to permanent residency.

Labour Market Testing must also be met for each nomination application, as per the standard TSS/SESR requirements.

Dairy Labour Agreement

The Dairy Labour Agreement allows businesses to nominate Dairy Cattle Farm Workers (ANZSCO 070499).

The occupation 'Dairy Cattle Farm Worker' covers roles with tasks and duties such as:

  • Planning and coordinating milk production processes, reproduction programs, and breeding programs;
  • Supervising animal health and inspecting livestock;
  • Managing pastures and crops and developing livestock feeding plans; and
  • Operating milking plant and equipment.

To be nominated for the position, applicants will need to have either an AQF Certificate III (or equivalent qualification) and at least 3 years recent and relevant work experience, or five years recent and relevant work experience.

There are no salary concessions meaning that salaries will need to meet the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold ('TSMIT'), which is currently $53,900. There are no English language concessions (standard TSS/ENS requirements need to be met) and applicants will need to be less than 45 years of age at the time of applying for an ENS or SESR visa.

Pork Labour Agreement

The Pork Labour Agreement allows businesses to nominate Senior Stockpersons (Piggery).

The occupation covers roles with tasks and duties such as:

  • Supervising the site and facility;
  • Selecting breeding stock and/or pigs for sale;
  • Participating in daily inspection of livestock and ensuring animals are appropriately watered, fed, and treated (if necessary); and
  • Supervising mating of animals and birthing process.

Applicants will need to have at least an AQF Certificate III in Agriculture (Pig Production) or equivalent and three years of recent relevant work experience in a commercial piggery, or five years of recent and relevant work experience.

Just like the Dairy Labour Agreements, there are no concessions for salary or English.

Horticulture Labour Agreement

Horticulture Labour Agreements cover many more occupations, including roles such as Horticulture Grower, Irrigationist, Quality Assurance Manager, Facility Supervisor, Agriculture Technician, Plant Operator, Truck Driver, etc.

The skills and experience requirements for these positions vary, but most require at least a Cert II and Cert III and/or relevant experience. Applicants may need a positive skills assessment from VETASSESS.

Under the Horticulture Labour Agreement, there are a number of concessions:

  • The salary can be 90% of TSMIT and non-monetary benefits (such as accommodation) can be counted towards meeting TSMIT
  • The applicant only needs to score an overall score of 5.0 on IELTS for both the Temporary and Permanent visas.
  • The maximum age for a ENS or SESR applicant is 50 years old.

Experienced Advice

Applying for a labour agreement can be a complex process, as it involves a number of steps before anything can be submitted to Immigration. Our team has a wealth of experience with the lodgement and negotiation of labour agreements across a wide range of industries, and would be happy to discuss your business needs and desired outcomes. Contact us for further assistance.

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