What is a labour agreement?

A labour agreement is a formal arrangement (or contract) negotiated between a business employer and the Australian Government which lets an employer recruit a specified number of workers from outside Australia.

For a labour agreement to be recognised as lawful, it must first satisfy that the specified professional vacancies cannot be filled by Australian workers due to a skills shortage. It must also specify how many workers are required to be hired from outside of Australia to ascertain how many visas ought to be made available, as well as the age, skill level and English language competency of the potential visa holders meet the strict criteria required for the nominated occupations.

If you are an employer looking to make a labour agreement to sponsor overseas workers, this is something that we can help with. If one of the industries shown does not meet your needs, an individual agreement will likely have to be created for you.

Like most contracts, labour agreements only come into effect after they have been signed by all parties. So, if the government does not like the way your labour agreement looks and is not agreed to, you will not be able to hire non-Australian workers. If you are looking to become an approved employer-sponsor, it is advisable to consider the long-term benefits of having our Migration Law Expert handle these specifics for you, as we will guarantee not to proceed with any applications unless we are confident of a successful outcome.

Labour agreements are different to temporary or permanent visa arrangements because they can be tailored to specific areas, industries and businesses. Especially given the skills shortages in rural Australia – as varied as they are – these labour agreements give employers more choices in relation to finding suitable workers for their field.

Labour agreements can specify terms and conditions that are not normally applicable to a typical temporary or permanent visa. These terms and conditions can be put in place by any of the parties’ but ultimately must be approved by all parties. Naturally, these terms and conditions are normally specified by the government and usually have to do with skill level requirements, the length of time an employee will be granted access to Australia, where they must live and work to comply with their visa conditions and so on.

Employers and businesses looking to create a labour agreement need to prove that they went to great efforts to employ Australian residents first, including working with peak industry bodies to ensure that local residents receive the first opportunity at the jobs being made available. In forming a labour agreement, consultations will need to have been had with these industry bodies to settle the specifics of any new labour agreements. Again, this is something that we can assist you with.

There are four types of labour agreements which are;

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These are the most common labour agreements. When an employer has gone to great lengths to hire a specific type of worker to no avail, it is common for them to approach the government about hiring overseas workers and becoming an approved employer sponsor. This is when a company-specific labour agreement can come into the conversation and begin being developed with the express goal of assisting that business. If there is a wider industry shortage that becomes apparent, a designated area migration agreement (DAMA) may be a better option for the region. Company specific agreements are judged on a case by case basis and their terms and conditions can vary significantly from one business to another.

With almost 18 years’ experience, ASC Migration is ‘Labour Agreement’ visa processing specialists. So, let’s start by assessing your eligibility with an in-depth analysis.

For further information on company-specific labour agreements please contact us now.

These are agreements for a specific industry that must show ongoing labour shortages such as the Dairy Industry if you wish to sponsor an overseas skilled worker as a ‘Senior Dairy Cattle Farm Worker’ for up to 4 years and/or permanently.

For the Fishing Industry whereby you can sponsor a skilled overseas worker in 6 different identified occupations for up to 4 years.

The Meat Industry Labour Agreement lets you sponsor skilled overseas workers in the occupation of ‘skilled meat worker’ for up to 4 years and/or permanent residence.

A Minister of Religion (or Religious Assistants) can be sponsored for periods of up to 4 years and/or permanent residency.

An immediate permanent pathway has been added to the Minister of Religion Labour Agreement for those applicants who hold the most senior Minister of Religion position in the religious organisation in Australia, or a State/Territory region of Australia.

With an On-hire Industry Labour Agreement, you could sponsor skilled overseas workers on a temporary basis for certain occupations. You can assign them to work for a third party only if you remain the direct employer.

The Pork Industry Labour Agreement lets you sponsor skilled overseas workers in the occupation of ‘senior stockperson (piggery)’ for periods of up to 4 years and/or permanent residence.

The Restaurant (fine dining) Industry Labour Agreement lets you sponsor skilled overseas workers in Australian premium quality fine-dining restaurants as cooks, chefs and trade waiters for periods of up to 4 years and/or for permanent residence.

The Advertising Industry Labour Agreement lets you sponsor skilled overseas workers as; Advertising Specialists, Graphic Designers, Copywriters, Multimedia designers and Web Developers, for periods of up to 4 years and/or for permanent residence.

The Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement increases access to skilled and semi-skilled migrant workers for the horticulture industry, where appropriately qualified Australians are unavailable in a total of 31 occupations across a number of ‘skilled categories’.

For further information on industry labour agreements please contact us now.

​​Designated ​Area Migration Agreements (DAMAs) are a formal arrangement between the Australian government and a state or territory government or regional body representative.

Under the terms of a DAMA, the designated area may be able to access to a broader range of overseas workers than is available through the standard skilled visa programs by allowing variation to standard occupations and skills lists and/or negotiable concessions to visa requirements.



Individuals cannot directly access a DAMA. Individuals need to be sponsored. For further information on designated area migration agreements please contact us now.

A project agreement is for project companies with genuine skills shortages during the construction phase of resource or infrastructure projects.

Project companies with projects endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the China-Australia Investment Facilitation Agreement can also request a project agreement.

A project company will negotiate an overarching deed of agreement and then negotiate individual labour agreements directly with employers.

For further information on project agreements please contact us now.

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