The Albanese Government has announced a new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement to promote increased recruitment and retention in the aged care workforce. The new approach allows employers to sponsor direct care workers on skilled visas, in collaboration with businesses and unions.
The announcement comes a day after confirming that the govt will fund the 15% pay rise ruled by the Fair Work Commission – benefitting 250,000 workers – at a cost of $11.3bn.
The agreement aims to address workforce shortages for direct care occupations in the aged care sector, as defined in the Skills Priority List. The Albanese Government is responding to increased requirements with respect to care minutes and compliance that will require additional staff.
The new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement provides additional incentives for employers to attract workers, including an expedited two-year pathway to permanent residency. Access to the agreement will be provided to employers who have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant industry union, with the agreement being negotiated directly between unions and employers.
“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,” said Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles.
The new agreement recognises the increased vulnerability of temporary migrants and allows newly sponsored care workers 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, and the associated visa applications will be processed by the Department of Home Affairs as a matter of priority.
“The new labour agreement will benefit aged care providers and the workforce by streamlining the employment and visa process for overseas workers,” said Anika Wells, the Minister for Aged Care. “We are continuing to build a skilled aged care workforce that from 1 July will receive a historic 15 per cent pay rise to the award wage.”