As a business owner, you may consider hiring skilled employees from overseas if you can’t find a suitable alternative from the local workforce. It is a requirement of the Migration Act for an individual to have a visa to work in Australia. The 457 visa is a temporary residence visa which allows you to sponsor your worker to stay in Australia and work for you for up to four years. The employee is required to work only for your business and the occupation they are sponsored for must be on an approved list. This article looks at the steps needed to become a standard business sponsor.
1. Operating a Business
You must be able to show that you are lawfully operating a business in Australia. You will need to have an ABN and provide the ABN registration certificate and a copy of the business names detail extract from ASIC. If you have a company, you will need the ASIC company extract. You will also need to provide documents as evidence that you are truthfully conducting a business here. The following are some examples:
- Business tax returns for the most recent financial year;
- Recent business activity statements (BAS); and
- Recent bank statements.
2. Training Requirements
If you have been operating for over a year, you will need to show that you have been meeting training requirements of Australian citizens or permanent residents. If you have been operating for less than this time, you must be able to show that you have a clear plan to meet the requirements. You can choose from two training benchmarks.
The first is the requirement to pay the equivalent of at least 2% of your business’ payroll to an industry training fund. The second is to pay the equivalent of at least 1% of the payroll towards training the business’ employees. The training path you choose to meet depends on the nature of your business.
For example, you may wish to choose the first requirement if you have not been able to set up a training program yourself. This would require you to make a contribution to an industry fund or a recognised scholarship fund that supports citizens or permanent residents at University or TAFE. Industries that have these funds include nursing, meat and livestock, engineering, construction and mining, among others.
If your business cannot satisfy this first path, you may wish to choose the second one. The second one requires that you provide evidence of the expenditure of the training and can clearly articulate the type and duration of the training. Some examples of training that can meet this requirement include:
- Paying for a formal course of study for Australian employees;
- Employing recent graduates on an ongoing basis in numbers proportionate to the size of the business;
- Paying for external training for Australian employees; or
- Providing on the job training that is structured and clearly identified at increasing skills.
If you want to employ recent graduates in your business and have their incomes count towards the training requirement, they will need to be part of a formal training structure. This program needs to be in place for up to 2 years and their position needs to be relevant to what they studied. If they are not part of a formal program, then you can only count the percentage of their salary that is used for training, as they are already qualified for their position, unlike apprentices and trainees.
Your training plan needs to be auditable and clearly set out the training that you have provided over the last 12 months, and what the training forecast will be for the next 12 months. It also needs to show how this plan meets the expenditure total required for either the first or second pathway.
3. Nominating Your Employees
As part of your application, you will also need to nominate the number of employees that you want to sponsor during the entire period of the standard business sponsorship of five years. You will need to provide justification as to the number of individuals you state on your application.
4. Preparing the Application
Now that you have prepared all of the requirements, you need to complete the appropriate documentation accessible on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s website. You are required to upload all of the documentation that shows evidence that you can meet the above business and training requirements. You must also pay the application fee, which at time of writing, is $420. You will also need to pay the additional nomination fee for however many individuals you want to nominate as a sponsor. The fee at time of writing is $330 per nomination.
As you can see, there are in-depth and strict requirements that you must meet when applying as a standard business sponsor for 457 visa nominations. You should first speak with an experienced professional to ensure that your application satisfies the relevant requirements and that you have the best chance of securing the sponsorship. Questions? Get in touch with our employment lawyers on 1300 544 755.