AUSTRALIA – Labour Market Testing and Free Trade Agreements
On 31 October 2018, Australia became the sixth signatory to the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (TPP-11), after Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore. The agreement comes into force on 30 December 2018. Chile, Peru, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam are yet to ratify the TPP-11.
The TPP-11 provides for a more streamlined pathway for Australian businesses to sponsor skilled workers from signatory countries, or for multinational companies to move employees to their Australian businesses under the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa programme.
Under the terms of the Agreement, it is expected that labour market testing (LMT) evidence will no longer be required for applicants holding passports from signatory countries. Workers from Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore already have access to an LMT waiver under other agreements.
With the recent introduction of more rigorous LMT requirements, exemptions under International trade Obligations (ITO) such as the TPP-11 can provide for earlier mobilisation of overseas employees.
Other ‘alternative evidence’ arrangements currently acceptable to meet LMT requirements in certain circumstances, including intracompany transfer and where a nominee’s annual earnings will be over AUD 250,000, are still available.
Employers who may be able to benefit from LMT exemptions due to the TPP-11 or other arrangements are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for case-specific advice.