The Minister of Religion Labour Agreement offers religious organisations in Australia the opportunity to sponsor skilled overseas workers in the positions of Minister of Religion or Religious Assistants. This agreement allows for temporary stays of up to 4 years and provides a pathway to permanent residency.
Are you a religious organisation with a shortage of skilled workers? At Migration Unity, we can help!
In this blog, we will explore the key requirements and conditions of the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement for employers looking to sponsor overseas workers in the religious sector.
Minister of Religion Labour Agreement Eligible Visas:
Under the Minister of Religion Labour Agreement, employers can sponsor skilled overseas workers for two visa subclasses:
- Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)
- Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)
The appropriate visa choice will depend on the religious organisation’s business case and the specific requirements of the position.
Requirements for the Requesting Organisation:
To qualify as a requesting Organisation under the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement, the religious Organisation must meet the following criteria:
- Reflect a religious object: The Organisation’s activities should be founded on the promotion of a religious object.
- Religious beliefs and practices: Members of the religion must demonstrate their belief in a supernatural being, thing, or principle and adhere to the canons of conduct that align with these beliefs, without violating ordinary laws.
- Compliance with tax regulations: The Organisation must meet the requirements specified in section 50–50 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997, and its income should be exempt from income tax under section 50–1 of the same Act.
- Charitable status: The Organisation must provide evidence of its charitable status.
It’s important to note that the terms and conditions of the Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement are non-negotiable. Additionally, any outstanding immigration issues, such as pending visa applications or merits review proceedings, for the organisation or individuals to be sponsored may impact the processing of the industry labour agreement.
Religious organisations can nominate individuals for the following Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) positions:
- Minister of Religion (ANZSCO 272211): This position requires a person to hold a senior leadership role within the Organisation.
- Religious Assistant (ANZSCO 451816): This position is classified at skill level 4 and may require relevant qualifications or experience as a substitute.
Consideration will be given to the size of the organisation and its workforce if multiple skilled overseas workers are to be nominated.
English Language Requirements:
Skilled overseas workers must meet the English language requirements of the short-term stream of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482). Exceptions to these requirements may be made in the following cases:
- Cloistered or monastic environment: If the worker will be employed in such an environment, different English language requirements may apply.
- Academic study in English: If the worker can demonstrate the completion of at least five years of full-time study in a secondary or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English.
For those sponsored under the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186), English language proficiency can be assessed through the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or an alternative and acceptable equivalent. The minimum required scores are an overall test score of at least 5.0, with a score of at least 4.5 in each of the four test components, or equivalent.
Skills, Qualifications, and Experience:
Ministers of Religion must meet the following criteria:
- Ordination or equivalent accreditation: The applicant must have been ordained as a minister of religion or have “professed to a religious life” within their faith tradition.
- Minimum qualifications: A relevant Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) bachelor degree or a minimum of five years of relevant structured training or instruction.
Religious Assistants must meet one of the following requirements:
- Relevant qualifications: A relevant AQF Certificate II or III (ANZSCO Skill Level 4).
- Relevant experience: At least two years of relevant experience can be considered as a substitute for formal qualifications.
There is no age limit for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482). However, for the Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186), applicants must be no more than 60 years old at the time of application.
Ministers of Religion must meet the salary requirements of the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482). Non-monetary benefits may be included in calculating the Annual Market Salary Rate (AMSR), and concessions can be made if a vow of poverty is declared and depending on the circumstances.
For Religious Assistants, the same requirements apply, but no concessions can be awarded based on a vow of poverty.
The Minister of Religion Industry Labour Agreement provides religious organisations in Australia with the opportunity to sponsor skilled overseas workers in the positions of Minister of Religion or Religious Assistants. By meeting the specific requirements outlined in this agreement, organisations can contribute to the growth and diversity of the religious sector in Australia while also fulfilling their labour needs.
Contact our team of expert Registered Migration Agents today for an assessment and to discuss how we can assist.