Your Guide to the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement

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April 1, 2024

Aged care workforce shortages are a growing concern in Australia. Like many other developed countries, our ageing population means that there is an increased demand for aged care workers, with research suggesting an expected shortage of 110,000 workers by 2030. So how do we solve this issue? Announced in 2023, the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement (ILA) represents a significant step towards addressing the increasing workforce shortages in Australia’s aged care sector. Providers can now apply to access this agreement and recruit qualified direct care workers from overseas, ensuring high-quality care for our older generations. In this blog, we’ll explore how these skilled migration visas work, what employers need to know and their benefits for Australian society.

Visa Requirements for the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement 

The Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement makes recruiting overseas workers easier for aged care providers. There are two streams which applicants can be nominated through, the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa and the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa, which we’ll unpack below. Importantly, employers must have made recent and sincere efforts to recruit local workers before they can sponsor overseas workers through this program. The visa application process involves employer sponsorship, salary and testing requirements, and English language and skill requirements, including relevant education qualifications or work experience. 

Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) – Subclass 482 Visa

Under the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa, providers can nominate overseas workers for aged care work — an industry facing critical shortages in Australia. This process has two streams; within the short-term stream, visas are allowed for up to two years, with possible extensions of another two years depending on certain criteria. The medium-term stream offers visas for up to four years, with renewal options. After three years, applicants can apply for permanent residency if they’ve worked in the same occupation under a 482 visa. 

Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) – Subclass 186 Visa

For overseas applicants holding a related bridging visa, the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa can provide a pathway to obtaining Australian permanent residence. This visa is particularly important for reducing aged care shortages in the long term. The two main streams for applying are the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream and the Direct Entry (DE) stream. Workers must have at least two years of full-time relevant work experience in Australia before they can be sponsored by this visa program.

Which occupations fall under this sponsorship?

The Aged Care ILA covers three Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZCO) roles within the aged care sector.

This occupation MUST be one of the following:

  • Nursing Support Worker (ANZSCO 423312)
  • Personal Care Assistant (ANZSCO 423313)
  • Aged or Disabled Carer (ANZSCO 423111)

 

To meet occupation requirements for the above, overseas workers must have either:

  • A relevant Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate III (equivalent or higher)
  • 12 months of relevant full-time work experience
  • Equivalent part-time experience

 

If an overseas worker obtained their qualifications overseas or is claiming work experience instead of formal qualifications then they must complete the relevant skills assessment for that specific role. 

Applying for the Aged Care ILA

Now that we’ve outlined the parameters of the Aged Care ILA, let’s take a look at the application process in more detail. The first step required to access this ILA is to negotiate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a relevant union. The purpose of the MoU in this context is to establish a structured and cooperative approach between employers and unions within the aged care industry. Labour market testing occurs at this stage between the union and the provider. This is to ensure that all possible measures have been taken to prioritise the employment of domestic workers, including evaluating if part-time or casual workers can take on additional hours, accommodating flexible work arrangements or training existing staff. 

 

The unions that apply here are the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Health Services Union and the United Workers Union. The union that you choose to approach is dependent on a few factors, including which occupation you are recruiting for, where the service is provided (residential or home care), and the state or territory where the services are provided. Once the MoU is established, Aged Care ILA requests can be submitted to the Department of Home Affairs, which will assess the MoU and either approve or reject access. Following approval, providers can nominate overseas workers under the two visas specified above, which will then be either approved or denied. 

Other Concession Requirements

There are various concessions available under the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement governed by specific terms. We have discussed some of them above, but let’s break down the additional concession requirements that apply.

 

    • English speaking skills: workers must have an English language proficiency level of at least IELTS 5.0 or equivalent. Small exemptions may be made for those employed by culturally and linguistically diverse providers. An IELTS of 5.5 is required for the ENS visa.
    • Salary: a minimum annual salary of $51,222 or the Australian market salary rate for the position, where it is higher.
  • Age: No age limit applies for the TSS (subclass 482) visa, however, applicants must be under the age of 45 if applying for the ENS (subclass 186) visa.

Benefits of the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement

There are numerous benefits that the Aged Care ILA can have for aged care providers, overseas workers seeking residency, and Australian society as a whole. For one, this agreement addresses aged care workplace shortages — a growing concern in Australia — and allows providers to ensure higher-quality care for our elderly citizens. Additionally, the visas accessed can provide overseas workers with a pathway to Australian citizenship, while simultaneously filling gaps in the aged care industry for the long term. 

 

Overall, the Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement is a fantastic initiative for improving outcomes in aged care work. Of course, understanding how the employer sponsorship visas offered under this agreement work and their relevant requirements is essential for aged care providers to ensure approval success. To learn more and receive tailored, professional advice and assistance, get in touch with AustraliaMigrate, the Australian migration experts. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

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