New Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement

January 2, 2020 | Australia

Effective January 1, 2020, a new Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement will be available to businesses in Australia’s horticulture industry. Labour agreements enable approved businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers when there is a need that cannot be met in the Australian labor market and standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not available. 

Labour agreements are made between the Australian Government and employers. They are generally valid for five years and allow visas to be granted under certain visa programs.

Under the new Horticulture Industry Labour Agreement, Australian employers will be allowed to sponsor workers for the following visas:

  • Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa
  • Subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (SESR) visa (with a pathway to a Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) visa (subclass 191) available after three years)
  • Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (after a three or four year transitional period on a TSS visa, depending on the skill level of the occupation)

A full list of the occupations that can be sponsored under the new labour agreement can be found here

Several “concessions” or benefits will apply to applications filed under the new labour agreement:

  • A discount of up to 10% on the normally required minimum yearly salary or Temporary Skill Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) of AUD 53,900 may be applied where it is shown that the salary of equivalent Australian workers is also under 53,900.
  • A broader range of monetary payments (e.g. regularized overtime) and non-monetary benefits (e.g. accommodation) can be counted toward guaranteed earnings.
  • Applicants must score only a 5.0 overall on the IELTS English exam. TSS visa applicants must score a 4.0 or higher in each individual component while ENS and SESR visa applicants must score a 4.5 or higher in each individual component.
  • ENS or SESR visa applicants can be up to 50 years old when they apply for the visa. The usual maximum age for these visas is 45. 

Note that a labor market test must be conducted prior to filing an application under the TSS or SESR visa programs.