Labour Agreements


A ‘Labour Agreement’ is a special agreement between an organisation and the Australian government that enables the sponsorship of overseas workers when the standard visa programs do not have available positions.

To secure a ‘Labour Agreement’, organisations must demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) that there is a genuine shortage of workers in a specific occupation and that the business is committed to prioritising the employment of Australian workers over hiring foreign labour.

Where a business intends to hire a large number of international workers and the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa program is not suitable, a ‘Labour Agreement’ can be negotiated between the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) and the employer or the employer’s industry body.

If your business plans to sponsor an overseas national on a Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) or Employer Nominated (subclass 186) visa, the occupation must be listed on the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) Skilled Occupation Lists (SOL).

Concessions available under a Labour Agreement

The specific terms of a ‘Labour Agreement’, including concessions related to age, English language proficiency, and salary requirements, are subject to negotiation with the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) on a case-by-case basis.

When requesting concessions for age, English language, or salary requirements applicable to the desired visa for foreign workers, a compelling business case must be presented.

English Language

Typically, overseas workers are required to achieve a minimum score of 5.0 on the IELTS test, with no less than 4.5 on each component (or equivalent scores on other approved English language tests). However, limited exemptions exist, such as for applicants holding passports from specific countries or those who have completed five cumulative years of education in English-medium institutions.

Again, a strong business case is necessary when seeking a concession to the English language requirement.

Labour Agreements

In general, overseas workers should be offered a salary at or above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), currently set at AUD70,000. However, in certain circumstances where there is a compelling business case, a concession of up to 10% of the TSMIT may be granted.


Labour Agreements typically require overseas workers to hold qualifications equivalent to an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Certificate III and have at least three years of relevant work experience. Additionally, they must meet industry registration requirements to ensure their skills comply with Australian standards.

Limited exceptions to the qualification and experience requirements may be considered based on a strong business case.

Please note that these concessions are subject to negotiation and assessment by the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) on an individual basis.

Stakeholder Consultation

As part of the application process, it is necessary to conduct extensive “Stakeholder Consultation” with the peak body representing your organization’s interests and the peak body representing the interests of your Australian employees, typically the relevant union.

This requirement ensures that prioritising employment and training opportunities for Australians remains a primary focus and that the recruitment of overseas workers under a ‘Labour Agreement’ is clearly in the national interest.

While it is beneficial to obtain support from each stakeholder body when presenting to the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA), it is not mandatory. However, comprehensive records of the consultation process (such as emails, letters, and meeting notes) should be provided to the Department.

Suitability of a Labour Agreement

Due to the complexity involved, it is advisable to initiate the process of applying for a Labour Agreement when there is a significant number of workers to be sponsored, and when there is genuine difficulty in sourcing such employees within Australia. This difficulty should be supported by verifiable evidence of previous recruitment efforts. There are a few different types of ‘Labour Agreements’ that can be negotiated.

Company-Specific Labour Agreements

These agreements are made between a specific organisation and the Australian government, and they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Department.

Industry Labour Agreements

When the Department recognizes an ongoing shortage of labour in a particular industry, it can implement an “Industry Labour Agreement” that businesses can apply for.

Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA)

DAMAs allow specified areas facing skill shortages to hire international workers. State and Territory governments and Planning Commissions are responsible for applying for this agreement, enabling skilled migrants to apply under it.

Global Talent Scheme Agreement

This is a newly introduced category by the government, now made permanent. It allows businesses to sponsor workers for highly specialised positions in niche fields.

Project Agreements

Project Agreements are designed for companies engaged in project-based work, particularly during the construction phase of resource or infrastructure programs, where there is a genuine shortage of skills.

These types of ‘Labour Agreements’ are negotiated through a “Deed of Arrangement” by the project company, and individual ‘Labour Agreements’ are then established directly with employers.

Here’s how we assist:

Our experienced team are equipped to provide comprehensive assistance and maximize the chances of success for your application. We provide an initial consultation to all potential clients, where we comprehensively explain the legal aspects of Labour Agreements and associated visa applications. We will guide you through the entire process.

Need more information or have questions that your seeking answers for?


Our experienced immigration specialists can make all the difference, talk to us about your
matter with ease and let us assist you in navigating to a successful outcome.

Give us a call at +61 3 9125 8872  or Contact Us online.

Start typing and press Enter to search