Skilled visa pathways to build a stronger aged care workforce
The Albanese Government has strengthened its commitment to boost the aged care workforce, developing a new approach for employers to sponsor direct care workers on skilled visas.
“Older people in Australia need a skilled, diverse and valued workforce so they can receive safe, high-quality, care,” Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells said. “The new labour agreement will benefit aged care providers and the workforce by streamlining the employment and visa process for overseas workers.
“We are continuing to build a skilled aged care workforce which from 1 July will receive a historic 15 percent pay rise to the award wage.
“We want every older person in Australia to have access to aged care that is high quality, safe and meets the needs of older people as their needs change.”
Working alongside business and unions, the new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement will promote increased recruitment and retention in the aged care workforce.
Growing the aged care workforce is essential for increasing care minutes, improving care systems, and restoring safety and dignity to older Australians. The Skills Priority List defines direct care occupations in the aged care sector in national shortage.
This Government understands the complementary role that migration can play to relieve workforce pressures along with investment in skills and training for the sector and in response to the Royal Commission.
Access to the Agreement will be provided to employers who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant industry union. The agreement will be negotiated directly between unions and employers, promoting transparency and collaboration across the sector.
The Agreement provides additional incentives for employers to attract workers, including an expedited two-year pathway to permanent residency. In addition, ongoing business and union engagement will promote transparency.
In recognition of the increased vulnerability of temporary migrants, newly sponsored care workers will have an opportunity to speak to their union shortly after commencing, should they wish to do so.
Employers can apply for an Aged Care Labour Agreement immediately. These applications, as well as the associated visa applications, will be processed by the Department of Home Affairs as a matter of priority.
“This is a new approach, founded in a tripartite process. Australia can both address workforce shortages for crucial jobs in our society while also protecting workers and promoting good jobs,” Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said.
“This process speaks to the broader goals of the Albanese Government’s approach to migration and visas, facilitating important social and economic outcomes for all Australians.
“This labour agreement is only possible due to the work undertaken over the past 10 months to clear the visa backlogs and reset Australia’s approach to visa policy.
“The Aged Care Labour Agreement settings have been designed to strike a balance between the opportunities migration can facilitate to build a workforce while recognising the vulnerabilities faced by workers on temporary sponsored visas.”