The UK Parliament has approved the UK-Australia Free Trade … – Lexology

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After several years of negotiation, the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been given Royal Assent, marking a significant milestone in the economic relationship between the two nations. The FTA is set to take effect from 31 May 2023.

The agreement is expected to bring about new employment and export opportunities for businesses, as it eliminates tariffs on over 99% of Australian goods entering the UK. It also provides Australian and UK professionals equal access to each other’s job markets, thus expanding opportunities for intra-company transfers and working holidaymakers.

The FTA also streamlines the process for UK companies to recruit skilled professionals from Australia, particularly in sectors such as engineering and architecture. This makes it easier for contracted Australian professionals to travel to the UK for job prospects.

In this article, we want to provide an overview of the mobility provisions of the FTA and how it benefits Australia and the UK. Let’s dive in.

Three big mobility changes in the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement

Effective mobility between the UK and Australia plays a critical role in facilitating the exchange of goods, services, and investment between the two nations. Here are the big changes to expect once the agreement takes effect:

1. Australian businesses sponsoring skilled workers will not be required to undertake Labour Market Testing

This is big news for companies who are looking to bring talent in from the UK. If an Australian company is considering offering a job to a candidate who requires immigration sponsorship, they typically have to carry out a lengthy Labour Market Test. This demonstrates that the company has attempted to recruit suitably qualified and experienced Australian citizens or permanent residents for the position. 

Citizens of certain countries, such as New Zealand, Canada, and Mexico may be hired without conducting an LMT. This exemption will also now apply to the UK, opening up new recruitment opportunities for Australian businesses.

2. Working Holiday visa holders between 18 – 35 will be able to travel and work in Australia for up to 3 years

As part of the broader mobility package, which aims to deepen the interpersonal and cultural connections between Australia and the UK, UK citizens aged 18 to 35 will be able to obtain a Working Holiday Maker Visa that permits them to travel and work in Australia for up to three years. 

UK citizens will also no longer need to complete eighty-eight days of regional and agricultural work to extend their working holiday visa. This requirement often poses a challenge, so this development will likely attract more young people to Australia.

3. Easier mobility between countries for business persons 

The FTA greatly streamlines business travel between the two countries, including short-term business visits and intra-corporate transferees.

British companies operating in critical sectors, such as travel agencies, research firms, and consultancies, will be able to send their employees to work in Australia without being subject to changes in Australia’s skilled occupation list.

Businesses will also be able to relocate their senior staff as needed, with the agreement also extending provisions to prospective investors. This also includes the spouses and dependent children of transferees and investors who will be eligible to accompany them to Australia and work during their transfer. The duration of their stay has now been extended to four years, doubling the previous two-year limit.