Aged care employers are now able to sponsor migrant workers on skilled visas to help them fill important jobs and plug workforce shortages in the sector, according to the Federal Government’s new Labour Agreement.
Just days before the release of the 2023-2024 Federal Budget, the Government announced a new Aged Care Industry Labour Agreement which further supports migrant workers and offers a two-year pathway to permanent residency – an area of legislation that has previously let down these workers.
The latest Aged Care Workforce Census Report showed 35% of direct care workers in residential aged care identified as culturally and/or linguistically diverse. Despite these workers being recognised by the Government as having a “complementary role” to relieve workforce pressures in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, most experience visa uncertainty.
In August 2022, an aged care nurse and his family living in rural South Australia faced deportation despite his daughter being born here and the country’s rural and remote communities crying out for more aged care workers.
Clifford Chisengalumbwe, 43, was left waiting until the day before his deportation before the Federal Government granted him and his family permanent residency in Australia.
Similarly, aged care stakeholders also raised concerns about the Government’s decision to reduce the number of hours international students could work per fortnight earlier this month, claiming the change threatens the already over-stretched aged care workforce.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, said the agreement is a tool for resetting Australia’s approach to visa policy.
Newly sponsored care workers will have an opportunity to speak to their union shortly after commencing, should they wish to do so, to raise concerns or stay informed about their sponsorship.
Are you a migrant worker who could benefit from an employer sponsorship? Let us know in the comments!