Australia Introduces Labor Market Testing For 457 Work Visa

By Editorial 25 November, 2013

Australia has introduced a labor market testing requirement for employers who wish to hire foreign workers through the country's "457" skilled temporary worker visa scheme, although the new legislation includes a number of exemptions.

The requirement relates to mainly technical and trade occupations that are eligible for sponsorship under the program. Employers who wish to sponsor a visa will have to take steps to see if a position can first be filled by an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and to provide details if the position follows a redundancy or retrenchment within the employer's organization. The legislation also encourages record-keeping as regards the labor market testing, although this has not been made mandatory.

The main exclusion is for occupations equivalent to Skill Levels 1 and 2 as defined by the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations system. This means that most management and professional occupations will not be affected, although nurses and engineers are among the list of occupations for which testing is now required.

There is also an exemption for cases where labor market testing would conflict with Australia's international trade obligations. This applies where an applicant is a citizen of Chile or Thailand, or a citizen or permanent resident of New Zealand; where an applicant is already an employee for an associated entity in Chile, New Zealand or in an ASEAN country, or been working full time for the nominating business for the previous 2 years; and where a business is operating in a WTO member country and seeking to sponsor senior management staff to work in Australia.

The Act also allows for relief and recovery workers to enter the country unimpeded in the case of a large-scale disaster.

Guidelines for the testing have been sent to employers but not generally published. According to reports, they include the provision that advertising for a position on social media counts as testing, prompting complaints from the head of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union that the requirement is "a joke."

Tags: Australia | Employment | Expats | Visas And Passports |


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