If your business is having difficulty recruiting skilled staff from within the Australian labour market, you may wish to consider sponsoring qualified and experienced employees from overseas.
Once a Sponsorship has been approved, the company is able to nominate positions to be filled by overseas employees and the overseas employees are able to apply for a Visa.
There are several visa options that allow businesses to sponsor overseas residents or to sponsor temporary overseas residents who might already be in Australia working, studying or visiting.
Employees can be sponsored under:
Your company may wish to apply for accredited status as this has significant benefits.
Standard Business Sponsorship Requirements
There are a number of requirements for a company to become a standard business sponsor which include:
If a company is or has been a business sponsor, details of their training expenditure for the period of sponsorship approval may also be required. Businesses not operating in Australia are exempt from this requirement.
Additional requirements for approval as a standard business sponsor can differ for businesses outside and in Australia.
Sponsorship Period of Validity
Once obtained, Sponsorship approval is for five years, this includes accredited sponsors and newly established businesses.
Employer Sponsorship Obligations
Approved standard business sponsors are required to meet a number of sponsorship obligations.
These obligations include the following:
- Obligation to ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment as those provided to Australian employees;
- Obligation to pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia if the costs have been requested in writing;
- Obligation to pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove sponsored employees who become unlawful non-citizens;
- Obligation to keep records such as records of money paid to the sponsored employee;
- Obligation to provide information to Immigration when certain events occur such as a change of the sponsor’s business address, a change in the work duties carried out by the sponsored employee and the cessation of the sponsored employee’s employment;
- Obligation to ensure the primary sponsored person works or participates in the nominated occupation. If the employer wants the sponsored employee to work in a different occupation, the sponsor must lodge a new nomination application;
- Obligation not to recover certain costs from sponsored employees and their family members such as visa application costs;
- Obligation to cooperate with inspectors.
- Possibly most importantly, maintain records of your temporary worker’s salary and records for training Australian staff as you must spend at least 1% of payroll each year on training Australian staff. This is applicable to each year of your sponsorship and for each year you employ a 482 visa worker until the sponsorship expires.
With the cost of sponsoring an overseas citizen employee rising, many employers are asking what costs can be paid by a sponsor up front and recovered later or made subject to a clawback agreement.
457 / TSS Sponsorship
- Nomination or Sponsorship application costs are not able to be recovered from a visa applicant;
- The SAF levy is not recoverable from a visa applicant;
- Migration Agent professional fees related to lodgement of a Sponsorship or Nomination application are not recoverable from the visa applicant.
- Visa application Government and Migration Agent costs can be paid up front by a visa applicant;
- Visa application Government and Migration Agent costs paid up front by a sponsor are able to be made subject to recovery or a clawback arrangement.
186 Employer Nominated Permanent Residency
- Nomination government application fees to be paid upfront by the business;
- Government Visa application fees and Migration Agent professional fees can be paid upfront either by the business or by the visa applicant;
- If costs are paid by the business, a clawback provision is permissible whereby the applicant can reimburse the business for costs relating to the visa;
- The SAF Levy is payable by the business only and cannot be recovered from a visa applicant.
If you do not meet your obligations, your company can be sanctioned with the following actions:
- bar you from sponsoring additional visa holders for a specified time
- not approve your application for sponsorship for this or any other visa
- cancel all of your existing sponsorship approvals
- issue an infringement notice of up to AUD12,600 for a body corporate and AUD2520 for an individual for each failure
- apply to a court for a civil penalty order of up to AUD63,000 for a corporation and AUD12,600 for an individual for each failure
Other circumstances in which administrative action might be taken. In addition, you could also have sanctions imposed if:
- you provide false or misleading information to us or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- you no longer satisfy the criteria for approval as a sponsor or for variation of a term of that approval
- you have been found by a court or competent authority to have contravened a Commonwealth, state or territory law
- the person you have sponsored breaks a law relating to the licensing, registration or membership needed to work in the nominated position
The types of actions that could be taken depend on whether you are a standard business sponsor or have a work agreement.