Since coming into effect on 31 May 2023, the A-UKFTA (Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement) has been making waves in the realm of immigration. One significant aspect of this agreement is the elimination of the Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement for UK passport holders who are applying for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa. This means that UK citizens and permanent residents applying for the TSS visa will no longer be required to undergo the LMT process.

The LMT Requirement

LMT has been a key component of temporary employer-sponsored visas in Australia since March 2018. Its purpose is to ensure that Australian employers first attempt to hire domestic workers that are qualified and experienced in the nominated occupation before seeking to recruit overseas talent.

To meet the LMT requirement, standard business sponsors must demonstrate that they have tested the local labour market by advertising job vacancies for a period of 28 days within the four months prior to nominating an overseas skilled worker for a TSS visa.

However, LMT does not apply if it would be inconsistent with Australia’s international trade obligations.

Challenges Posed by the LMT Requirement

The LMT requirement has been viewed by some as creating unnecessary red tape for businesses, particularly in industries where there are evident skill shortages such as health services, the hospitality sector and construction and trades workers. In these industries, LMT severely restricts the business’ ability to respond flexibly to their workforce needs and to hire skilled migrants for hard-to-fill critical positions.

Concerns have also been raised about the administrative burden placed on businesses by the LMT requirement. It has been considered as an additional layer on top of the already cumbersome process through which businesses must navigate together with increasing application costs and ballooning delays which can discourage employers from sponsoring overseas skilled workers.

LMT Exemption for UK Passport Holders

This exemption represents a significant step towards removing the migration barriers between the UK and Australia and encourages free movement and an exchange of skills and talent. It not only expedites the nomination application saving approximately one month in the overall visa application process, but it also offers a more streamlined pathway for UK citizens and permanent residents seeking temporary skilled work opportunities in Australia.

Furthermore, for Australian employers, it means a faster, easier, and more cost-effective solution when hiring skilled workers from the UK.

Our Thoughts

The LMT exemption for UK passport holders and permanent residents is a positive development as it simplifies the visa application process for skilled workers who wish to contribute to the Australian economy.

For businesses, the LMT exemption will expedite the process of hiring skilled workers from the UK and eliminate the administrative burden. Moreover, the LMT exemption offers considerable benefits to industries experiencing skill shortages as it provides businesses with greater flexibility to address their workforce needs and allows them to efficiently fill critical positions with skilled migrants.

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