What is mutual recognition?
The Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (Cth) (Mutual Recognition Act) is a law of the Commonwealth enacted to assist individuals licensed to work in one Australian State to work in another State or Territory, subject to certain requirements.
Mutual recognition in relation to labour hire in Victoria only applies to natural persons (individuals) who operate their labour hire business outside a company structure or partnership, and who are already licensed in other Australian jurisdiction to provide labour hire services.
Example of a natural person running a business
John Smith operates a labour hire business in Queensland.
John’s business name is Smith Labour Hire. The business name is registered and John has an Australian Business Number (ABN).
Smith Labour Hire is not a company. It is not registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), there are no directors and John does not have an obligation to submit records to ASIC.
John is the sole operator of Smith Labour Hire, which means he does not have any partners in the business.
John applied to Labour Hire Licensing Queensland and was granted a licence which he complies with. He would now like to provide labour hire services in Victoria.
John is a natural person and is entitled to apply for registration in Victoria under the Mutual Recognition Act. He will need to lodge a written notice with the Victorian Labour Hire Authority and provide a number of documents to prove he is licensed in Queensland and is not subject to any disciplinary proceedings.
Individuals who are registered under mutual recognition will be subject to the same conditions that apply to Victorian licence holders and they must comply with the Labour Hire Licencing Act 2018 (Vic) in respect of their operations in Victoria. Failure to comply with Victorian obligations, including licence conditions, may lead to cancellation of registration.
The Labour Hire Authority will monitor compliance of all businesses providing labour hire services in Victoria to ensure they are complying with their obligations under the Victorian scheme.
Companies (even if there is only one director) are not covered by the Mutual Recognition Act and must apply to the Labour Hire Authority for a licence if they want to provide labour hire services in Victoria.
An individual operating a labour hire business (like John Smith in the above example) may apply for a Victorian licence in the usual way instead of registering under mutual recognition. The cost to apply for registration under the Mutual Recognition Act is the same as applying for a Victorian licence. Annual fees are also the same.
What this means
This means if you are an individual who carries on the occupation of providing labour hire services and are already licensed in another Australian jurisdiction then you may be entitled to be registered in Victoria as a labour hire provider, without having to apply for a labour hire licence.
The Mutual Recognition Act applies to individuals only and not to corporate entities.
What do I need to do?
If you are an individual who is a licensed labour hire provider in another Australian jurisdiction, you may lodge a written notice with the Victorian Labour Hire Authority seeking registration for the occupation of providing labour hire services in accordance with the mutual recognition principle established under the Mutual Recognition Act.
Section 19 of the Mutual Recognition Act states:
- A notice seeking registration must include all the following:
- the occupation for which you are registered in another State and the name of that State
- the occupation for which registration in Victoria is sought and that it is being sought in accordance with the mutual recognition principle
- details of all the States in which you have substantive registration for the equivalent occupation
- whether you are the subject of disciplinary proceedings in any State (including any preliminary investigations or action that might lead to disciplinary proceedings) in relation to the occupation
- whether your registration in the other State is cancelled or currently suspended as a result of disciplinary action
- whether you are otherwise personally prohibited from carrying on any such occupation in any State, and whether you are subject to any special conditions in carrying on that occupation, as a result of criminal, civil or disciplinary proceedings in any State
- any special conditions to which you are subject in carrying on any such occupation in any State.
- The statements and other information in the notice must be verified by statutory declaration.
- The notice must be accompanied by a document that is either the original or a copy of your licence in another State (or if there is no such instrument, by sufficient information to identify you and your registration).
- You must certify in the notice that the evidence of your existing registration is the original or a complete and accurate copy of the original.
- You must give consent to the Labour Hire Licensing Authority to make inquiries of, and exchange information with, the authorities of any State regarding your activities in the relevant occupation or otherwise regarding matters relevant to the notice.
- You must provide all the information set out in paragraph 1 above andgive your consent to inquiries being made regarding your registration notice.
The Labour Hire Authority may postpone or refuse the grant of registration if any of the statements or information in the notice are materially false or misleading, any required document or information has not been provided or is materially false or misleading, or the Authority decides that the occupation in which registration is sought is not an equivalent occupation and equivalence cannot be achieved by the imposition of conditions.
The Labour Hire Authority may impose conditions on registration. Conditions will be the same as those imposed on Victorian licence holders.
An individual provider of labour hire services that seeks to be registered in Victoria under the Mutual Recognition Act will still need to pay a registration fee and annual fees. Fees payable will be the same amount as fees payable for a licence under the Victorian scheme.
A registration fee needs to be paid when you seek registration. This fee will not be refunded in the event the registration is withdrawn or is unsuccessful.
An annual fee will be payable when the registration is granted, then each year in the 6-week period preceding the anniversary of that date.
The amount of the registration fee and annual fee depends on the size of the business. Businesses fall into one of three tiers, determined by turnover. Fees are automatically indexed for inflation on 1 July every year.
Automatic mutual recognition is not available in Victoria for labour hire providers
On 1 July 2021, a number of Australian, state and territory governments introduced a scheme for automatic mutual recognition of occupational registrations through the addition of Part 3A to the Mutual Recognition Act. Automatic mutual recognition enables individuals licensed or registered for an occupation in one Australian state or territory to work in another state or territory using their home state licence.
To ensure the health and safety of workers, Victoria has exempted labour hire providers from automatic mutual recognition under section 42S of the Mutual Recognition Act.
This exemption does not prevent an individual who is a licensed labour hire provider in another Australian jurisdiction to seek registration in Victoria either via the mutual recognition principle or by obtaining a Victorian labour hire licence via the usual application process (see below).
Do I have to seek registration under the Mutual Recognition Act?
No. You may apply to the Labour Hire Authority in the usual way for a Victorian labour hire licence. For information about applying for a Victorian labour hire licence please visit the Provider page for more information.
How do I seek registration under the Mutual Recognition Act?
If you are an individual who is a licensed labour hire provider in another Australian jurisdiction and you want to seek registration in Victoria under the mutual recognition principle established under the Mutual Recognition Act, please contact the Labour Hire Licensing Authority by e-mail to email@example.com.