What’s the deal with Labour Market Testing?
The Labour Market Testing (LMT) requirement in the subclass 457 programme commenced on 23 November 2013.
So what is LMT?
Effectively, it means that when a sponsoring business nominates certain workers for subclass 457 visas, that business will be required to provide evidence of having tested the local labour market, so as to ensure that there are no suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent residents available to fill that position. Note that in respect to agricultural sector positions, the business may also have to show that there are no working holiday visa holders readily available either.
Does LMT apply to all occupations?
The answer to this is no. Most of the management, professional and associate professional occupations do not require LMT. LMT does however apply to most of the following occupation groups:
• the trades
• technical occupations
• engineering occupations
• occupations where the sponsoring business as retrenched or made redundant any Australian staff in the 4 months prior to lodging the nomination application for the same or in a similar position.
What is required?
A sponsoring business needs to provide evidence of labour market testing. This will usually mean showing how the position has been advertised and then providing the evidence as to the result of that campaign. This may involve evidencing the numbers of applicants who responded, the interview or selection process and detailing why unsuccessful candidates were rejected. Note that advertising can be carried out in a broad range of media, including social media.
LMT needs to be conducted during the 12 months prior to lodgement of the nomination application. In situations where staff have been retrenched/made redundant in the four-month period prior to that lodgement, the LMT will need to have been conducted after these retrenchments/redundancies.
We recommend that careful records be maintained by businesses in relation to their advertising and recruitment campaigns and to maintain these carefully, even in respect to unsuccessful candidates.
It is vitally important to note that when the labour market testing condition applies to a particular nomination, evidence relating to the labour market testing MUST be attached to the application. If the evidence is not attached then the application will be refused, it is not open to the DIBP decision maker to request this evidence at a later date.
Exemptions from LMT
There are 2 principal exemptions in respect to affected occupations, being:
1. In the case of a major disaster where the minister declares exemptions (so as to allow relief and recovery workers to enter Australia easily);
2. Where LMT conflicts with Australia’s international trade obligations.