457 accredited sponsor requirements set to change

9 Jun 16

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The requirements to become an accredited sponsor in the Subclass 457 visa programme are set to change.

What does the change mean? Accredited sponsors receive priority processing in the visa application process. Among other requirements that take effect 1 July, accredited sponsors will be required to show that all 457 visa holders have written employment contracts that guarantee minimum employment entitlements, as required by the National Employment Standards (unless an exception applies); and show evidence that all Australian employees are paid according to an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary schedule reflective of market rate salaries. Under the new rules, accredited sponsors will continue to enjoy expedited visa processing and will also become eligible for new streamlined nomination processing arrangements.

  • Implementation time frame:1 July 2016.
  • Visas/permits affected: Subclass 457 visas.
  • Who is affected: Businesses seeking accredited sponsorship status for the Subclass 457 visa programme.
  • Business impact: Businesses that have accredited sponsorship status or are seeking it should take note of the new rules.
  • Next steps: The Australian Government will contact existing accredited sponsors to give them the opportunity to “upgrade” their status in June. Sponsors that want to become accredited can apply for accreditation by lodging a sponsorship variation application after 1 July. Additional information will provided 1 July on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website.

Background: Accredited sponsorship is available to Subclass 457 visa sponsors that have a “long history of good dealings” with the DIBP. Among changes that will take force 1 July, accredited sponsors will be required to:

  • Show that all 457 visa holders receive written employment contracts that guarantee minimum employment entitlements, as required by the National Employment Standards (unless an exception applies), and provide sample contracts as part of the accreditation process.
  • Show evidence that all Australian employees are paid according to an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary schedule reflective of market rate salaries by providing copies of Enterprise Agreements or salary schedules in their application.
  • Establish that they have sponsored at least 10 primary 457 holders in the past 24 months, a change from the current requirement of sponsoring 30 primary 457 holders in the past 12 months.
  • Provide details of business activities and the business activities of company principals and directors.

Accredited sponsors will also be subject to many of the current programme requirements, including being an active 457 visa sponsor for the past three years, not having any adverse reports from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, having lodged a high level of decision-ready applications, having a nonapproval rating of less than 3 per cent, having a workforce that is at least 75 per cent Australian, and being a government agency, publicly listed company or a private company with at least AUD 4 million turnover in each of the last three years.

Some advantages will come with the new accredited sponsor requirements, namely streamlined processing of nominations where the nominated base salary is $75,000 (with some exceptions) or meets the Fair Work High Income Threshold for occupations listed as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO.

BAL Analysis: Accredited sponsorship can be a good option for high-volume 457 visa sponsors. Those who want to continue as an accredited sponsor will be given the chance to “upgrade” their status by meeting the 1 July requirements. Accredited sponsors that do not meet the new criteria will be eligible to maintain their status for the remainder of their sponsorship term, but will be required to show that they satisfy all current requirements. Contact your BAL professional with any questions about accredited sponsorship or steps that must be taken to move into compliance with new requirements.

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

MARN: 9683856

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.