Sponsorship obligations for australian business sponsors

Sponsorship Obligations for Approved Business Sponsors

Sponsorship Obligations for a Standard Business Sponsor 

Sponsorship Obligations Key Purpose 

The sponsorship obligations are in place to ensure that overseas skilled workers are protected from exploitation, and that the subclass skilled work TSS 482 and 494 visa is being used to meet genuine skills shortages.

Navigating Sponsorship Obligations

To be eligible for a Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa or subclass 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) Visa, a prospective visa applicant must be successful in the recruitment process with an Australian business who is either an approved business sponsor or willing to apply for the sponsor licence.

The standard business sponsorship is valid for 5 years from the date of approval. As an approved business sponsor, the Australian employer must comply with very strict sponsorship obligations. To maintain the status as an approved business sponsor, the Australian employer must stay on top of the sponsorship obligations to avoid cancellation or suspension of the sponsor licence.

The obligations start on the day the person the employer have sponsored is granted a visa. If they already hold a visa when the employer nominates them, the obligation starts on the day the nomination is approved.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs has imposed sponsorship obligations on the sponsors to ensure that the visa applicants are fairly treated throughout the course of their visa sponsorship. The process to apply for a subclass skilled work 482 visa and 494 visa starts with an offer by an approved business sponsor, ensuring that they have met labour testing requirements and have not engaged in discriminatory employment practices.

For a Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, the individual must meet requisite skill requirements to ensure that they have the appropriate skills to undertake the nominated position in the appropriate stream.

For a 494 Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (provisional) Visa, the visa applicant must have an occupation that is on the skilled occupation list for the subclass and the location of employment must be in a regional area of Australia.

Managing sponsorship obligations

  • Obligation to cooperate with inspectors
  • Obligation to ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment
  • Obligation to pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia
  • Obligation to pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizens
  • Obligation to keep records
  • Obligation to provide records and information to the Minister
  • Obligation to provide information to immigration when certain events occur (cessation of employment of the primary visa holder, a change in duties carried out by the visa holder)
  • Obligation to ensure primary sponsored person works in the nominated occupation
  • Obligation to ensure primary sponsored person undertakes the activity in relation to which the visa was granted
  • Obligation not to recover, transfer or take action that would result in another person paying certain costs
  • Obligation not to engage in discriminatory recruitment practices

One of the most important sponsorship obligations that an employer and visa applicant must be made aware of is that the visa holder is only allowed to work in the nominated occupation.

The obligation ends on the day (whichever is the earliest):

  • the sponsored visa holder has a nomination approved for another approved sponsor
  • the sponsored visa holder is granted another substantive visa of a different type for which you sponsored them (unless that other visa is a bridging visa, criminal justice visa or enforcement visa)
  • the sponsored visa holder has left Australia and the relevant visa (and any subsequent bridging visa) is no longer in effect.

Another important obligation is that the visa holder is entitled to equivalent terms and conditions of employment, meaning that the visa holder’s terms and conditions of employment cannot be less favourable than those of an equivalent Australian worker.

This obligation starts on the day (whichever is the earliest):

  • the person sponsored is granted a subclass 482 visa
  • the nomination is approved (if the person already holds a subclass 482 visa when the nomination was approved)

This obligation ends either:

  • on the day the sponsored visa holder stops working, or
  • on the day the person is granted a further visa other than another subclass 482 visa, or a bridging visa, a criminal justice visa, or an enforcement visa.

If the sponsored visa holder is granted another subclass 482 visa to continue to work, this obligation continues.

The approved employer must keep records of duties and payments to ensure that payslips, details of the work performed, and the employment contract are all able to be produced in the event it is requested.

These records must remain in their position for two years following the conclusion of the employment contract or from when the visa holder ceased employment.

Compliance with Sponsorship Obligations 

A breach of the sponsorship obligations may cause:

  • Civil Liability for directors and business
  • Cancelling approval as a sponsor
  • Sponsorship Bar for up to 5 years
  • Prevention from future sponsorship

 Updates and Changes in 2024

After the first comprehensive review of Australia’s migration system in decades, the Australian government has announced the Migration Strategy.

Compliance measures outlined in the strategy to be implemented by late 2024 include:

  • increased penalties and new offences relating to breach of sponsorship obligations and illegal workers
  • protections against visa cancellation and improving opportunities to remain in Australia for migrants who have experienced exploitation
  • strengthening integrity in the sponsorship application approval process, taking account of sponsors’ employment practices and records based on all available evidence, including requiring sponsors to declare any adverse findings by relevant workplace regulators and previous bankruptcies
  • a new monitoring mechanism to ensure that employees are not paid less than their nominated salary
  • improving post-arrival monitoring and compliance including coordination with the tax system to detect and prevent exploitation. This may include monitoring payments through the Australian tax system, the use of Tax File Numbers and Single Touch Payroll
  • public register of approved sponsors to support migrant workers mobility and give migrant workers a resource to check the legitimacy of a sponsoring employer.

Maintaining Compliance with Sponsorship Obligations

Some best practice tips to stay compliant with your sponsorship obligations:

  • Document Management: Maintain thorough and updated records of visa holders’ details, including work hours, roles, and any changes in employment.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct periodic internal audits to ensure adherence to visa conditions.
  • Training and Awareness: Educate staff involved in visa sponsorships about their responsibilities and compliance requirements.
  • Communication Channels: Establish clear communication channels with visa holders to address queries and changes promptly.
  • Stay Updated: Regularly monitor updates in immigration laws and regulations to adapt practices accordingly.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consider consulting immigration experts to navigate complexities and ensure compliance.

Importance of Professional Assistance 

Employers should consider the impact of proposed reforms on their business and partner with an immigration expert.

VISA LOUNGE AUSTRALIA’s Corporate Migration Compliance services will make sure you meet your obligations as a Business Sponsor towards the Department of Home Affairs and keep you informed about developments in the Migration Strategy

As experts in Australian immigration, VISA LOUNGE AUSTRALIA can help you navigate the application process effectively and tailor a strategy suitable for your circumstances.

Contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Published by Maddie Phillips

Australian Immigration Law Specialist with over 12 years experience, I provide high touch immigration solutions for businesses and individuals, all aspects of Australian immigration law. OMARA Licenced, Member Migration Institute of Australia and Australian Human Resources Institute.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add Comment *

Name *

Email *