Regional Migration Agreements

As part of Budget 2011–12, the Government has announced the introduction of Regional Migration Agreements (RMAs). These agreements are a new migration initiative that will bring together employers, local and state government and unions to cooperate on addressing local labour needs.
RMAs will be a coordinated response to regional labour needs, helping local areas to implement workforce strategies that support growth while ensuring Australian workers remain the first choice for employers and industry.
RMAs will be custom-designed, geographically based migration arrangements that set out the occupations and numbers of overseas workers needed in the area. Concessional access to semi-skilled overseas workers will be negotiated where there is a demonstrable and critical need.
Each RMA will be negotiated between the Government and representatives of the local area. Individual local employers will then directly sponsor workers under the terms of the RMA.
The agreements will allow employers to use overseas workers where local labour cannot be sourced. By utilising RMAs, regional employers will be able to gain streamlined access to temporary and permanent overseas workers if they can demonstrate a genuine need.
A strong focus of RMAs will be fostering training initiatives for Australians. Communities will be expected to demonstrate innovative strategies to train local workers to meet future skill needs. Individual employers who sponsor overseas workers under an RMA-associated labour agreement will be required to demonstrate investment in the training of local workers.