Global Alerts

Australia – Labor Market Testing and Free Trade Agreements

On October 31, 2018, Australia became the sixth signatory to the ‘Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership’ (TPP-11), after Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore. The agreement comes into force on December 30, 2018. Chile, Peru, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam are yet to ratify the TPP-11.


The TPP-11 provides for a more streamlined pathway for Australian businesses to sponsor skilled workers from signatory countries, or for multinational companies to move employees to their Australian businesses under the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa program.

Under the terms of the Agreement, it is expected that labor market testing (LMT) evidence will no longer be required for applicants holding passports from signatory countries. Workers from Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore already have access to an LMT waiver under other agreements.

With the recent introduction of more rigorous LMT requirements, exemptions under International trade Obligations (ITO) such as the TPP-11 can provide for earlier mobilization of overseas employees.

Other ‘alternative evidence’ arrangements currently acceptable to meet LMT requirements in certain circumstances, including intracompany transfer and where a nominee’s annual earnings will be over AUD 250,000, are still available.

Action Items

Employers who may be able to benefit from LMT exemptions due to the TPP-11 or other arrangements are encouraged to contact their immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

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