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Immigration Lawyers Melbourne

Labour Agreement: Sponsoring Skilled Employees to work in Australia

Religion Work Skilled Visa Program Australia

October 2021

Spotlight: Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement

The Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement is a work agreement between religious organisations and the Department of Home Affairs, allowing religious organisations to sponsor skilled workers to work as a Minister of Religion or Religious Assistant in Australia.

Once executed, the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement will be valid for a period of five (5) years, during which the approved religious organisation 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.

The Department will consider the size of the religious organisation if they seek to nominate more than one (1) skilled overseas worker, and the identities of the people the religious organisation is seeking to sponsor must be accounted for when the request for the Labour Agreement is submitted.

What visas can you apply for under the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement?

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

Does the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement provide a pathway to permanent residence?

The Minister of Religion 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. An immediate permanent pathway via the Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa programme is also available to applicants who hold the most senior Minister of Religion position in the religious organisation in Australia, or a State/ Territory region of Australia (e.g. Archbishops).

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

There are two (2) occupations under the Minister of Religion Industry Agreement, namely the Minister of Religion occupation (ANZSCO 272211) and the Religious Assistant occupation (ANZSCO 451816).

The requisite qualifications and work experience, as well as the tasks and responsibilities for these occupations are as follows:

 Minister of ReligionReligious Assistant
Qualifications and work experienceMust have been ordained or professed to a religious life as a Minister of Religion (or equivalent accreditation process within the faith tradition). AND Must hold minimum qualifications equivalent to a relevant Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Bachelor Degree, OR have completed at least five (5) years of structured training/ instruction (work experience does not meet this requirement).Must hold relevant qualifications equivalent to a relevant AQF Certificate II or III, OR have at least two years of relevant experience to substitute for the formal qualification listed above.
Tasks and responsibilitiesPerform spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faiths, and provide motivation, guidance and training in religious life for the people of congregations and parishes, and the wider community: preparing and conducting services of public worship and acknowledgments of faithpreparing and delivering sermons, homilies and special talks, and planning music for servicesparticipating in the social and welfare activities of communities, encouraging people to be aware of their responsibilities, and organising participation in community projectsconducting classes of religious instruction, and supervising prayer and discussion groups, retreats and seminarsconducting premarital and family counselling and referring people to professional service agencies where necessaryperforming marriages, funerals and special memorial services according to tradition and ecclesiastical and civil lawvisiting members of the community in their homes, hospitals and other institutions to provide advice and religious comfortkeeping records as required by the church and civil lawSupports Ministers of Religion or a religious community in performing a variety of religious functions associated with the practise of a religion, including worship, spiritual guidance, pastoral care and teaching.

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.

Under the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement, whilst skilled overseas workers must be employed on a full-time basis, and paid the Annual Market Salary Rate in Australia, which must also be above the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT, currently $53,900.00 AUD), non-monetary benefits may be included in calculating the Annual Market Salary Rate. A vow of poverty may also be accepted by the Department for the Minister of Religion occupation, depending on the situation. No concessions are awarded on the basis that a vow of poverty has been declared for the Religious Assistant occupation.

Skilled overseas workers must meet the English language requirements of the short-term stream of the Subclass 482 visa programme (equivalent to IELTS overall band score of at least 5.0 with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the test components). Different English language requirements may apply where the applicant is working in a cloistered/ monastic environment, or can demonstrate completion of at least five (5) years of full-time study in a secondary education institution or higher education institution, where the instruction was delivered in English.

Under the standard employer sponsored visa programs, there is no age requirement for the Subclass 482 visa programme, and age concessions under the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement mean that applicants must be no more than 60 years of age when applying for the Subclass 186 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.

View Link: Sponsor an Employee, Sponsor an Employee to work in Australia

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