In a significant move towards fostering international trade and strengthening diplomatic ties, the United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (UKFTA) came into effect on 31 May 2023. Wavelength In-house Registered Migration Agent Alex Graham (MARN: 1795080) shares the details and what this means in particular for UK GPs hoping to practice in Australia.
The UKFTA includes the removal of the Labour Market Test (LMT) requirement entirely for UK passport holders who apply for the Subclass 482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa.
The LMT requirement
To comply with LMT requirements, employers typically need to advertise a job vacancy on three national websites, including Workforce Australia, for 28 days in the four months preceding the lodgement of a nomination application.
While the LMT requirement is looser for most occupations within the ANZSCO Minor Group 253 – Medical Practitioners, the 28 days’ advertising requirement does apply to applicants nominated under the General Practitioner and Medical Practitioner nec occupations.
Issues arising out of LMT
The 28 days LMT timeframe typically delays visa application lodgement, for GPs in particular.
The contract should not pre-date the advertising period, but the 6-12 months registration processing time often means the initial advertising has expired by the time the applicant has received their PEP comparability assessment and the nomination is ready for lodgement. This results in the requirement to re-advertise, and for the applicant to re-sign the contract.
Other problems arise when the applicant’s current visa is nearing expiry and a LMT is required.
Exemption for UK nationals
From 31 May 2023, employers nominating UK passport holders for Subclass 482 visas are exempted from the LMT requirement. This lessens administrative burden and costs associated with conducting LMT for sponsoring employers, GP clinics in particular.
The change also eliminates the requirement for GPs to re-sign their employment contract when a second advertising campaign must be run.
Last but not least, the visa renewal process quicker and easier for Australia-based GPs form the UK whose visa is nearing expiry.
A word of caution
UK passport holders are exempt from the LMT requirement only. Companies contracting GPs from other countries should continue to provide copies of the three national adverts, including in Workforce Australia, and ensure these have run for 28 days in the four months immediately before the nomination lodgement, and that the contract is signed after the relevant advertising period.
In a nutshell
The removal of the LMT requirement for UK passport holders streamlines the visa process, making it easier and faster for Australian employers to employ and sponsor UK nationals.
Need to know more? Reach out to our Regulatory & Migration team.