You have successfully been approved as a 457 visa standard business sponsor (SBS). Now that you have your skilled overseas employees working in your business, there are ongoing obligations that you need to meet to ensure that your SBS status remains in place. This article takes a look at the requirements of sponsors in dealing with 457 visa employees and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
You must continue to meet the training requirements of the pathway that you chose in your application, either training benchmark A or B. You must continue to meet this and have a clear auditable plan for each year you will be an SBS.
You need to make sure that you have clear and up-to-date records that detail aspects of the employee’s work and time spent with you as their employer. For example, you need to have a position description for the tasks that they are doing during their employment, their salary, what the terms and conditions of their employment are and any additional benefits that you provide them with such as a company vehicle or travel expenses. These records need to be in such a form so that they can be verified and reproduced if needed.
While a 457 visa holder is in your employ, they must have the same terms and conditions of their employment as an Australian employee would if they were in the same position. This only applies if the employee is earning less than $250k a year.
During your time as an SBS, you are required to assist and cooperate with DIBP inspectors. They might be looking into how you are meeting your obligations, which is why it is important continually to meet the first three requirements in this article. They might also be investigating whether or not you have hired an illegal employee, meaning that you have hired them without the proper sponsorship approval, or they don’t have the correct visa. When an inspector visits your business, you must not conceal records or obstruct them from doing their job. To meet this obligation, you need to allow them into your worksite or office, provide them with the requested documents within a reasonable time and allow them to interview any person in your employ.
Notifying the Department
As an SBS, you are required to notify the DIBP of events that may affect your status as a sponsor or the status of your employee. For example, you need to update them of changes to your business, such as your address, changes to a company like the appointment of a new director, or if you have become personally bankrupt or your company has become insolvent. In regards to the employee you need to notify them within 28 days issues like where their employment with you has ended, their duties have changed, or you have paid their return travel costs per your obligation to do so.
You cannot require the 457 visa holder to pay for the application costs and requirements for you in becoming and remaining an SBS. This includes recruitment costs but does not include the cost for the employee to pay for their own 457 visa.
As of April 2016, the DIBP has issued a new obligation to sponsors. They are now required not to engage in discriminatory hiring practices that would negatively impact Australian citizens or any other individual based on their visa or citizenship status. It is important to have records of your recruitment practices for each position you require to ensure there has been no discrimination of this nature.
These obligations are important to make sure you are engaging in positive business practices. There are a number of penalties if you do not meet the above obligations as an SBS. For example, you could be prevented from sponsoring additional employees or your approval as a sponsor could be cancelled. You could also face fines of up to $10,200 for a company and $2,040 for an individual for each obligation you fail to meet. If you need help with maintaining your obligations as an SBS, get in touch with our employment lawyers on 1300 544 755.
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