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Immigration Lawyers Melbourne

Labour Agreements: Sponsoring Skilled employees to work in Australia

Meat Industry Labour Agreement Sponsoring Skilled employees to work in Australia

September 2021

Spotlight: Meat Industry Labour Agreement

The Meat Industry Labour Agreement is a work agreement between approved businesses and the Department of Home Affairs, allowing employers to sponsor skilled workers to work in the meat industry in Australia.

Once executed, the Meat Industry Labour Agreement will be valid for a period of five (5) years, during which the approved business can sponsor a specified number of overseas workers for temporary and/or permanent visas, in accordance with the nomination ceiling (“ceiling numbers”) determined in the Agreement.

An application to vary these ceiling numbers can be made to the Department of Home Affairs where there is a business case which supports this.

What visas can you apply for under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement?

Under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement, approved businesses are able to sponsor skilled overseas workers for a Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa, an Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa and/or a Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) visa.

Does the Meat Industry Labour Agreement provide a pathway to permanent residence?

The Meat Industry Labour Agreement provides skilled overseas workers with a pathway to permanent residence through the Labour Agreement stream of the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa, under which persons who are granted Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visas can apply for the permanent Subclass 186 visa after three (3) years of working for the sponsoring employer on their Subclass 482 visa.

Additionally, persons who are granted Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Subclass 494) visas can apply for the permanent Skilled Regional (Subclass 191) visa after three (3) years of living and working for their sponsoring employer in regional Australia, and having had a taxable income at or above a specific income threshold for at least three (3) years, while holding the Subclass 494 visa.

What occupations are there available under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement, and what qualifications and work experience do I need?

There is only one (1) occupation available under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement, being the Skilled Meat Worker occupation.

The tasks of this occupation include:

·         stun and kill livestock, and prepare carcasses for further processing by removing internal organs and hides

·         operate switching controls to direct and drop carcasses and meat cuts from supply rails to boning tables

·         cut meat to separate meat, fat and tissue from around bones

·         wash, scrape and trim foreign material and blood from meat

·         cut sides and quarters of meat into standard meat cuts, such as rumps, flanks and shoulders, and removing internal fat, blood clots, bruises and other matter to prepare them for packing and marketing

·         operate restrainer and stunning equipment

·         sever jugular veins of stunned animals to drain blood and facilitate dressing

·         trim and remove head meat and severing animal heads

·         slit open, eviscerate and trim animal carcasses

·         slaughter livestock according to procedures required by religious customs

Skilled overseas workers must be:

·         assessed by a National Meat Industry Training Advisory Council registered assessor, or an assessor approved by the Australian Government, to be skilled meat workers with a minimum skill level equal to an AQF Certificate III in meat processing;

·         demonstrate a minimum of three (3) years’ work experience obtained at a meat processing establishment acceptable to the parties; or

·         have been working in Australia on a Subclass 457 visa or Subclass 482 visa at an Australian meat processing establishment acceptable to the parties, for at least nine (9) months prior to being nominated.

Are there any concessions available in relation to salary requirements, English language requirements and/or age requirements?

Certain Industry Labour Agreements provide a number of concessions which make it easier for an approved employer to sponsor skilled overseas workers.

There are no salary concessions available under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement, and skilled overseas workers must be employed on a full-time basis, and paid the Australian Market Salary Rate in Australia. Their salary must also be above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), which is currently $53,900.00 AUD. Furthermore, they must receive a salary top-up if an equivalent Australian worker receives a higher salary than them, over an annual period.

There are English language concessions available under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement, and overseas skilled workers can be considered to have sufficient English for the Skilled Meat Worker occupation if they:

·         demonstrate an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) overall test score of at least 5.0 with no minimum test score; or

·         currently hold a Temporary Work (Subclass 457) visa, were not required to provide evidence of English language proficiency when granted the Subclass 457 visa, and have evidence of functional English as prescribed by the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth).

There are also no age concessions available under the Meat Industry Labour Agreement. Under the standard employer sponsored visa programs, there is no age requirement for the Subclass 482 visa programme, but only persons under the age of 45 are able to apply for a Subclass 186 visa.

Additionally, only persons under the age of 45 are able to apply for a Subclass 494 visa.

What else should I be aware of?

The processing and execution of Labour Agreement requests can often be a lengthy and complicated process. As such, a Labour Agreement request and the associated nomination and visa applications should be lodged in a timely and complete manner, so as to ensure that there are no concerns about a particular nominee missing out on transitioning to permanent residence due to the relevant age requirements and/or processing delays caused by poorly documented applications.

To speak with an experienced, specialist immigration lawyer regarding your Australian visa application or options, please contact us on +61 3 9329 8744 or by email at

Phone Erskine Rodan & Associates
+61 3 9329 8744
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