The government’s first labour agreement for temporary skilled workers in aged care will fast-track low-paid migrant workers into the country to ease workforce shortages. The move will also help providers meet a new requirement to have enough staff to ensure 200 minutes of care is provided per resident per day from October 2023. This new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement can be used to: Sponsor overseas workers for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa in direct care occupations such as: Nursing Support Worker, Personal Care Assistant, or Aged or Disabled Carer. Sponsor overseas workers for permanent residence under the Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa program. Workers must have at least two years of full-time work experience in Australia in a relevant direct care occupation. The two years of work experience do not need to be tied to a particular employer or visa subclass. Union Overreach? The new labour agreement has raised some concern among aged care providers who believe rules set down may enable “union overreach”. According to The Australian Financial Review, aged care provider management will not be able to attend foreign worker inductions unless they are invited by the union and “make a positive statement about the relationship with the union and the ongoing commitment to work together”. Additionally, while providers will no longer need to advertise jobs locally, new “expanded labour market testing” means local staff must be offered the maximum 76 hours of work a fortnight before overseas workers can be engaged. And, providers must regularly review local employees’ desire for increased hours. Staff must be given predictable rosters with “set hours, decent wages and good working conditions” and agency staff must be limited to only “exceptional circumstances”. Union delegates must be given 10 days’ paid leave to attend union training, two-hour union inductions for migrant workers, and two 30-minute paid union meetings a year for all workers. Read more about the labour agreement here. Looking to Employ from Overseas? If you need to boost your workforce by employing foreign workers, the Ayers Group can help you by checking for visa eligibility, managing applications, on-boarding and contractual obligations. With over 20 years in the business, and as one of few companies approved by the Australian Department of Home Affairs (Immigration Department) to hire and on hire international workers, we can manage the employment of international workers for you. If you’re not already talking to the Ayers Group about arranging visas for the staff you need, contact one of the experts on our team to find out how we can help your business. Reference Marin-Guzman David. Unionised by stealth: Migrant workers come with a catch. The Australian Financial Review, 22 May, 2023.