Australia, South Korea launch trade agreement

15 Dec 14

AUSTRALIA, REPUBLIC OF KOREA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement took effect 12 December.

What does the change mean? Business visitors, intra-company transferees, contractual service suppliers and executives who are nationals of Australia or South Korea will have greater access to each other’s countries. KAFTA will also end labour market testing in Australia for South Korean nationals, permanent residents and employees transferring to an Australian branch of a South Korean company that is nominated under the 457 programme.

  • Implementation timeframe: 12 December.
  • Visas/permits affected: Subclass 457 visas, business visas, investment visas and contractual services suppliers.
  • Who is affected: Australian and South Korean companies and employees doing business or working in each other’s countries. The agreement also affects spouses and dependants.
  • Impact on processing times: KAFTA will reduce wait times for travellers by easing access to both Australia and South Korea for nationals of either country.
  • Business impact: The agreement is designed to increase trade between the two countries and lift barriers to entry for business people, workers and their families.
  • Next steps: KAFTA took effect 12 December.

Background: Australian and South Korean government officials signed KAFTA in April in Seoul. The agreement includes specific commitments for both Australia and South Korea on the movement of natural persons.

Australia’s commitments include providing 90-day stays for South Korean business visitors and six-month stays for service sellers; four-year stays for South Korean intra-company transferees; up to two-year stays for South Korean executives who are establishing a branch or subsidiary of a South Korean enterprise in Australia; one-year stays for South Korean contractual service providers; and the right of entry, stay, and work for spouses and dependants of South Korean business people or workers for a period of time equal to that of the business person or worker.

South Korea’s specific commitments include providing 90-day stays to Australian business visitors without the need for employment authorisation; three-year stays to Australian intra-company transferees, with possibility of extension; up to two-year stays for Australian traders and investors; one-year stays (or shorter depending on the duration of the contract) for Australian contractual service providers; and the right of stay for spouses and dependants of Australian business people or workers for a period of time equal to that of the business person or worker. Work permits for spouses or dependants may be granted in accordance with South Korea’s domestic laws.

KAFTA also ends labour market testing for South Korean nationals, permanent residents, and employees transferring to an Australian branch of a South Korean company that is nominated under Australia’s 457 programme.

BAL Analysis: KAFTA represents an easing of barriers to entry across almost all categories of business visitors, workers and investors. The end of labour market testing in the 457 programme will make it easier for Australian employers to hire skilled workers from South Korea.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com.

MARN: 9683856

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