A compromise deal has finally been struck between the federal government and opposition over the China-Australia free trade agreement. As a result, the free trade agreement will likely come into force before the end of the year. In order to support the passage of the trade deal, Labour has put forward three key amendments.

One of these amendments involves increasing the base pay for Subclass 457 visa workers from $53,900 to approximately $57,000 per annum. The proposed increase in pay for Subclass 457 visa workers will mean that they are more expensive and less attractive to hire than under the current system. The higher salaries are justified by the fact it will reflect wages paid under enterprise agreements which are usually above the minimum rate of pay.

The second amendment to the agreement involves introducing stricter licensing conditions for tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians who wish to come to Australia. If the new rule comes into place, these tradespeople will have to obtain their licence within 90 days of having arrived in Australia. They will not be allowed to work until they obtain their licences and will have to report to the Department of Immigration in the event that their application for a licence is refused.

The third amendment will mean that labour market testing will apply to those entering Australia under work agreements. This includes those coming to Australia under the China-Australia Investment Facilitation Arrangement on subclass 457 visas where the projects are over $150m. Labour market testing is designed to ensure that a position in a company cannot be filled by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible temporary visa holder prior to providing a visa to someone to fill that position.

If you are interested in migration to Australia on a Subclass 457 Visa, consult one of our experienced immigration lawyers now before the new, stricter rules come into effect!