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Introducing Restaurant Labour Agreement – Are you a fine dining restaurant struggling to find skilled workers? Don’t worry! We can assist you at Migration Unity. We’ll help you find the right staff you need to succeed in the restaurant business.

The hospitality industry in Australia is facing a significant shortage of skilled workers, particularly in restaurant occupations such as Chefs, Cooks, Restaurant Managers and even Waiters.

This shortage can hinder the growth and success of these premium quality dining establishments. 

However, there are visa pathways and a specific restaurant labour agreement available to help restaurants overcome this challenge. 

In this blog post, we will explore how fine dining restaurants can leverage these opportunities to attract and sponsor skilled overseas workers.

Restaurant Worker Visa Pathways:

To sponsor skilled overseas workers in the labour agreement stream, fine dining restaurants can utilise the following visa pathways:

1. Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482):

  • Allows sponsorship of skilled workers for up to 4 years.
  • Requires applicants to meet English language requirements (IELTS 5.0 or equivalent).
  • Chefs, Cooks, Café or Restaurant Managers, and Trade Waiters are eligible for sponsorship under this visa.

2. Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494):

  • Enables sponsorship of skilled workers in regional areas.
  • Similar requirements as the Temporary Skill Shortage visa apply.
  • Offers pathways to permanent residence after a transition period.

3. Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186):

  • Provides a pathway to permanent residence for skilled workers.
  • Requires a two-year transition period for Chefs and Cooks, and a three-year period for Trade Waiters and Café or Restaurant Managers.
  • Standard visa program requirements apply.

Restaurant Labour Agreement:

The Restaurant (premium dining) Labour Agreement allows fine dining restaurants to sponsor skilled overseas workers for longer periods or even permanent residence. The agreement covers the following occupations:

  1. Chef (ANZSCO 351311): Includes various specialised roles.
  2. Cook (ANZSCO 351411)
  3. Café or Restaurant Manager (ANZSCO 141111)
  4. Trade Waiter (code 070499): Encompasses specialised roles like Sommelier and Maître D.

Employer Requirements:

To qualify for the restaurant labour agreement, as an employer, you must meet the following criteria:

Be a premium dining restaurant:

  • Offer a premium quality dining experience.
  • Employ highly experienced staff.
  • Have a wine list.
  • Generate a minimum annual revenue of $2 million.
  • Be non-franchised.
  • Require specialized front-of-house and back-of-house staff.

Occupation Tasks:

The sponsored workers must fulfill the tasks outlined in the relevant ANZSCO occupation descriptions. For Trade Waiters, additional duties from the Restaurant Industry Award 2010 apply, including:

  • Setting and arranging tables.
  • Greeting customers and presenting menus and beverage lists.
  • Recommending dishes and wines.
  • Taking orders and relaying them to kitchen and bar staff.
  • Serving food and beverages.
  • Clearing tables, collecting payments, and operating point-of-sale systems.

English Language Requirement:

Temporary Skill Shortage visa applicants must meet the following English language criteria:

  • Overall IELTS score of at least 5.0 (or equivalent).
  • No less than IELTS 4.5 for listening and speaking.
  • No less than IELTS 4.0 for reading and writing.

Skills, Qualifications, and Experience:

Workers in the sponsored occupations must meet the skills, qualifications, and experience requirements as outlined by the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. Specifically:

  • Chefs, Cooks, and Café or Restaurant Managers require qualifications and experience as per the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482).
  • Trade Waiters need an AQF Certificate III in Hospitality (Restaurant Front of House) or equivalent, along with relevant work experience.

Salary Requirements:

Restaurants must adhere to the salary requirements set for each visa program:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa (subclass 494)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (subclass 186)


Fine dining restaurants facing a shortage of skilled workers can navigate this challenge by utilizing the visa pathways available, such as the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional visa, and Employer Nomination Scheme visa. 

Additionally, the Restaurant (premium dining) Labour Agreement provides concessions for alternative occupations. 

By meeting the necessary requirements and understanding the opportunities these pathways offer, restaurants can attract and sponsor skilled overseas workers to ensure their continued success and growth in the premium dining sector.

Contact our expert team today for more information.

Picture of Taina Silva

Taina Silva

Director | Registered Migration Agent
MARN: 1802671 | MMIA: 19470

Taina is a Director and Registered Migration Agent of Migration Unity, specialising in skilled work visas, partner visas and complex cases. She has an outstanding track record of approvals and provides a range of timely, ethical and transparent solutions to Australian businesses in various industries, including hospitality, construction, health, IT and regional operations. She has a growing client base which consists of migrants from all over the world and small to medium enterprises through to large national groups