On 23rd November, Labour Market Testing was enacted as a requirement for the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) in Australia under the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013. Having been repealed as a requirement in 2003, the return of the Labour Market Test (LMT) comes as part of a wider array of legislative changes implemented throughout this year. Such changes are primarily designed to curtail the perceived exploitation of the program by rogue employers seeking to employ cheaper temporary foreign workers over those found in the domestic Australian workforce.
The revival of the LMT means that rather than being merely encouraged to recruit domestic workers, it is now a legal requirement for employers looking to sponsor 457 visas to evidence their efforts to fill positions from the domestic workforce. Evidence of such efforts, such as advertising vacancies, local recruitment drives, and active involvement in domestic career expositions, would have to be made from at least 4 months prior to sponsoring a 457 visa for a position.
While there exist proposed flexible alternatives and exemptions from the LMT, by way of statutory instrumentation, aimed at ensuring shortage occupations will still enjoy less onerous requirements in sponsoring 457 visas; trading, nursing and most notably engineering occupations will be prohibited from any such exceptions. Consequently, many industry sector employers who rely heavily on skilled temporary foreign workers, such as engineers, will likely be pejoratively affected in having to comply with the LMT.
With the LMT still yet to be enacted until later this month, it may be some time before the actual affect of the requirement will truly be felt by the 457 program and those employers and foreign workers who rely upon it. Indeed, as many of the details are still yet to be clearly defined by any official guidance from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), attempts to anticipate the affects of the LMT requirements may yet prove to be too early.
If you are a 457 visa sponsor or worker and have any queries regarding the affects of the new legislative changes, please feel free to contact us.