Japan-Australia economic agreement to take effect

12 Jan 15

AUSTRALIA, JAPAN

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement will go into effect 15 January.

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

  • Implementation timeframe: 15 January.
  • Visas/permits affected: Subclass 457 visas, business visas, investment visas
  • Who is affected: Australian and Japanese companies and employees doing business or working in each other’s countries. The agreement also affects employees’ dependants.
  • Impact on processing times: JAEPA is expected to reduce wait times by easing access to Australia and Japan for nationals of either country.
  • Business impact: The agreement is designed to strengthen economic ties between the two countries and lift barriers to entry for business people, investors and their families.
  • Next steps: JAEPA takes effect 15 January.

Background: Australian and Japanese government officials “exchanged notes” in December, signifying that all domestic processes related to the economic agreement had been completed and setting the stage for the agreement to go into effect.

JAEPA follows the implementation of a Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement in December. Australia has also completed negotiations with China on a free trade agreement between those two countries. JAEPA includes specific commitments for Australia and Japan related to the movement of natural persons.

Australia’s commitments include providing stays of up to 90 days for Japanese business visitors, six months for Japanese service sellers, up to four years for Japanese intra-corporate transferee executives or senior managers, up to two years for Japanese intra-corporate transferee professionals or trade specialists, up to one year for Japanese contractual service suppliers, and up to two years for Japanese investors. Australia is also required to provide the right of entry, stay and work for spouses and dependants of Japanese business people or investors for a period of time equal to that of the business person or investor’s stay.

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

Japan’s specific commitments include providing stays of up to 90 days for short-term Australian business visitors; and stays of one or three years for Australian intra-corporate transferees, Australian professional service providers, Australian nationals engaging in business activities requiring advanced or technological knowledge, and Australian investors.

Japan is also required to provide the right of entry and stay and work for spouses and dependants of Australian business people or investors. Spouses who have been granted entry and temporary stay under the agreement can have their residence status changed so that they are permitted to work, subject to the approval of the Japanese government.

BAL Analysis: JAEPA represents an easing of barriers to entry across almost all categories of business visitors, workers and investors in both Australia and Japan. The end of labour market testing in the 457 programme will make it easier for Australian employers to hire skilled workers from Japan. The agreement should have the additional benefit of easing wait times for visa and permit processing for nationals of both countries.

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

MARN: 9683856

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