Individuals and Travellers

Labour agreements

Labour agreements enable approved businesses to sponsor skilled overseas workers when there is a demonstrated need that cannot be met in the Australian labour market and standard temporary or permanent visa programs are not available. They are only available for the following visa programs:

Labour agreements are developed between the Australian Government, represented by the Department, and employers. They are generally in effect for five years and might​ include additional terms and conditions, because labour agreements provide a variation to standard migration requirements.

You might be able to enter into a labour agreement if you are in one of the following situations:

In order to propose a labour agreement, you must demonstrate among other things, the following:

  • identify the relevant skills shortage in the business and why these vacancies cannot be filled by suitably qualified Australian workers. You must show that you have made recent, genuine efforts to recruit, employ or engage Australian workers
  • specify the number of skilled workers needed from outside Australia
  • specify the skill and English language requirements that relate to the nominated occupations. Semi-skilled occupations can be considered provided they are specialised and in demand
  • include evidence that there is a genuine and systemic shortage of skilled workers
  • evidence of written correspondence that you have consulted or made genuine efforts to consult industry stakeholders (including relevant trade unions and peak industry bodies)
  • you have a commitment to training Australians.

You might be able to use a template labour agreement if there is one for your industry or your worker's occupation. A template labour agreement is a set of standard parameters for similar employers and it does not guarantee an agreement will be approved. If the template does not suit your needs, you might be able to negotiate an individual agreement.

A labour agreement comes into effect when it has been signed by all parties involved in the negotiations. When you have a labour agreement in place, you are an approved sponsor for the term of operation of the agreement. You can then nominate skilled workers from outside Australia under the terms of the labour agreement.

You will also need to meet your sponsorship obligations and any other terms and conditions specified in the agreement. If you breach the terms and conditions of your agreement, we could suspend or terminate it.

Additional information on the labour agreement program and how to request a labour agreement can be found below. To find out more about the labour agreement process, contact us by email

Types of labour agreements

There are currently four main types of labour agreements as outlined below:

Company-specific labour agreements

A company specific labour agreement is developed directly with an employer and will be considered only where a genuine skills or labour shortage for an occupation exists which is not already provided for in an industry labour agreement, or relevant project or designated area migration agreement. The terms and conditions of a company-specific agreement are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Industry labour agreements

An industry labour agreement provides fixed terms and conditions agreed to by the Minister in consultation with key industry stakeholders, specific to an industry sector. An industry agreement might be considered if the Department has received a number of similar submissions from an industry and there is evidence of ongoing labour shortages within that industry. When an industry labour agreement is in place, no further concessions can be considered, other than the concessions written into the industry agreement.

There are currently eight industry agreements in place:

Ceased industry agreements

There is one recently ceased industry agreement:

Designated area migration agreements

A designated area migration agreement (DAMA) provides flexibility for states, territories or regions to respond to their unique economic and labour market conditions through an agreement-based framework. Under the DAMA framework, employers in areas experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers. DAMAs are designed to ensure employers recruit Australians as a first priority and prioritise initiatives and strategies to facilitate the recruitment and retention of Australian workers.

See: Designated Area Migration Agreements (600KB PDF) for more information.

Project agreements

Project agreements allow infrastructure or resource development projects experiencing genuine skills or labour shortages access to skilled and specialised semi-skilled temporary overseas workers through this program. They are designed to complement existing Australian Government initiatives to address skill and labour shortages by ensuring that shortages do not create constraints on major projects and jeopardise Australian jobs.

Project companies with projects endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade under the China-Australia Investment Facilitation Arrangement (IFA) can request a project agreement. See the China-Australia Investment Facilitation Arrangement flow chart (590KB PDF) for further information on the IFA process.​

See: Requesting and managing a project agreement (502KB PDF) and Accessing a project labour agreement (526KB PDF) ​for more information.

How to request a labour agreement

You can request a labour agreement once you have read all relevant information and determined t​hat you:

  • are in a position to lodge a request for a labour agreement with all required supporting information; and
  • meet the requirements for the type of labour agreement that you are applying for.

See: Information ab​out requesting a labour agreement (253​KB PDF)​ for details.

To make your request, you must:


Obtain the most current Labour Agreement Business Case Proforma from the Department by emailing

Note: this proforma will be available on this website at a later date.

2Request, complete and email the proforma together with required supporting documentation to the Department at
3The Department will then make an assessment based on the information you have provided in your proforma and all required supporting documentation.
4If the Department is satisfied to proceed with the labour agreement, you will then be sent the relevant labour agreement template.

Copies of labour agreement templates

For Industry labour agreements, the agreement templates will be as follows:

Note: Templates for Company-specific, DAMA or Project labour agreement are not available on the Department’s website.

List of current labour agreements

A list of current labour agreements is available.