Obligations for Standard Business Sponsors

Obligations for Standard Business Sponsors

While the standard business sponsors benefit from being able to sponsor foreign employees to meet the skills gap, the businesses must at the same time meet the following obligations.

    • Cooperate with inspectors from the department
    • Inform the department when certain events occur
    • Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment
    • Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
    • Ensure your employee works only in the nominated occupation
    • Keep records
    • Provide records and information to the department upon request
    • Assume all costs yourself
    • Pay travel costs
    • Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen

Cooperate with inspectors from the department

Inspectors from Department of Home Affairs are appointed under the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) to investigate whether:

    • your sponsorship obligations are being, or have been, complied with
    • you have hired an illegal worker
    • there are other circumstances in which the department may take administrative action

As a standard business sponsor, you must cooperate with inspectors by the following:

    • providing access to your premises, any person on your premises
    • producing and providing documents within a requested timeframe
    • complying with any other request made by an inspector

This obligation:

    • starts on the day sponsorship is approved or the visa applicant starts work in the nominated position
    • ends five years after the day the approved sponsorship ends or the applicant stops working for the business

Inform the department when certain events occur

As a standard business sponsor, you must inform the department in writing when certain events occur, for example:

    • a change to your address or contact details
    • a change to the legal name, trading name, business structure
    • a change to business owners, directors, principals or partners
    • the end or expected ending of a primary sponsored visa holder’s employment, program or activity
    • a change to the duties carried out by the primary sponsored visa holder.

This obligation starts to apply on the day the standard business sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences.

This obligation ends two years after:

    • the business sponsorship or the work  agreement ends, and
    • the business is no longer sponsoring anyone.

Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment

Standard business sponsors must also meet the following obligations:

    • the annual earnings of the sponsored foreign employee must be at least the same as those stated on the nomination application when the department approved the application
    • the employment conditions of the employee must not be less favourable than those of an equivalent Australian worker

This obligation also applies if you sponsor foreign employees under labour agreement unless otherwise stated in the labour agreement. This obligation however does not applies if the annual earnings of the foreign employee reach AUD250,000 or more.

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

    • we grant the nominated employee TSS visa or
    • we approve the TSS nomination if the employee already holds a TSS or subclass 457 visa

This obligation ends the day:

    • the nominated employee stops working for you or
    • we grant the employee a visa that is not a TSS, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa

Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices

Businesses who lawfully operates a business in Australia and granted standard business sponsorship, must not engage in, or have not engaged in, discriminatory recruitment practices that adversely affect Australian citizens, or any other person, based on their visa or citizenship status.

Records must be kept to show that in recruiting and sponsoring a foreign employee, there was no discrimination on citizenship or visa status.

Ensure your employee works only in the nominated occupation

Standard business sponsors must also ensure that your sponsored employee works only in the occupation the business has nominated them for. In case they need to work in a different occupation, the business will need to lodge a new nomination, and the employee will also need to apply for and be granted a new visa.

This obligation starts:

    • on the day we grant the nominee a visa or
    • on the day the nomination is approved if the nominee is already working for you

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

    • your employee has a nomination approved for a different approved sponsor
    • we grant your employee a visa that is not a TSS, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa
    • your employee leaves Australia and their TSS visa (or any subsequent bridging visa) is no longer in effect

Keep records

Standard business sponsors must keep records to show the compliance with the sponsorship obligations. All records must be kept in a reproducible format and some must be capable of verification by an independent person. In addition to records kept under other Australian government, and state or territory laws, the businesses also must keep records of:

    • written requests for payment of travel costs for the employee or their family, including when the request was received
    • how and when the business paid the travel costs, how much paid, and who the costs were paid it to
    • any event the business need to report to us, including the date and method of notification and where the notification was provided
    • tasks performed by the employee in relation to the nominated occupation and where the tasks were performed
    • earnings paid to the sponsored visa holder (unless the sponsored visa holder earns AUD250,000 or more)
    • money applied or dealt with in any way on behalf of, or as directed by, the employee (unless the sponsored visa holder earns AUD250,000 or more)
    • non-monetary benefits provided to the employee. Record the agreed value and the time at which, or the period over which, those benefits were provided (unless the sponsored visa holder earns AUD250,000 or more)
    • if there is an equivalent worker in the business workplace, the terms and conditions of the equivalent worker, including the period over which the terms and conditions apply (unless the sponsored visa holder earns AUD250,000 or more)
    • the written contract of employment you engage each employee under
    • how the business are complying with the training obligations if the business was lawfully operating a business in Australia when the Department of Home Affairs approved the standard business sponsorship or the terms of the approval as a standard business sponsor were varied
    • the records the business need to keep as party to a work agreement, if applicable

This obligation starts the day we approve your sponsorship or the nominee starts work with the business.

This obligation ends two years after:

    • the sponsorship or the work agreement ends and
    • the business no longer employs a sponsored visa holder

Provide records and information to the department upon request

The standard business sponsor must provide records or information if requested by a departmental officer. The records or information will be those that:

    • the business is required to keep under Commonwealth, state or territory law
    • the business is obliged to keep as a sponsor

The records and information will be used to determine whether:

    • a sponsorship obligation is being or has been complied with, and
    • other circumstances in which the Minister might take administrative action exist or have existed

Provide the records or information in the manner and timeframe requested by us.

This obligation starts on the day we approve the standard business sponsorship or a work agreement starts.

This obligation ends two years after:

    • the business sponsorship or the work agreement ends and
    • the business no longer employs a sponsored visa holder

Not recover, transfer or charge certain costs to another person

The business must pay and assume all of the following costs:

    • cost of becoming a sponsor
    • nomination charges
    • migration agent costs associated with sponsorship and nomination applications

The business must also pay and assume all costs associated with the recruitment process including:

    • recruitment agent fees
    • migration agent fees
    • advertising
    • screening, short listing, interviewing and conducting reference checks of candidates
    • salaries of recruitment or human resource staff
    • outsourcing background checks, police checks and psychological testing
    • responding to queries from potential candidates and advising unsuccessful applicants
    • travelling nationally or internationally to interview and/or meet applicants

The business must not, or attempt to, transfer or charge these costs to another person such as a sponsored visa holder or their sponsored family members.

This obligation starts on the day we approve the standard business sponsorship or the work agreement starts.

This obligation ends two years after:

    • the business sponsorship or the work agreement ends and
    • the business no longer employs a sponsored visa holder

Pay reasonable travel costs for sponsored people to leave the country

You must pay reasonable and necessary travel costs to let the sponsored employee and their sponsored family members, leave Australia.

We consider all of these costs to be reasonable and necessary:

  • travel from the employee’s usual place of residence in Australia to their departure point from Australia
  • travel from Australia to the country for which the employee holds a passport and intends to travel to
  • economy class air travel or reasonable equivalent

To pay travel costs, a written request for payment must be made by:

  • the sponsored employee or
  • The Department of Home Affairs on behalf of the sponsored employee

Travel costs must be paid within 30 days of receiving the request.

Pay travel costs once only. If, after paying travel costs your employee returns to Australia holding the visa for which the businesses sponsored them, the business does not have to pay their travel costs again.

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

  • Department of Home Affairs grants the visa
  • Department of Home Affairs approves the nomination if the nominee held a TSS visa on that day

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

  • your employee has a nomination approved for a different approved sponsor
  • we grant your employee a visa that is not a TSS, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa
  • your employee leaves Australia and their TSS visa (or any subsequent bridging visa) is no longer in effect

Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen

If sponsored employee by the business or any of their sponsored family members becomes an unlawful non-citizen, the business might have to repay the costs incurred by the Commonwealth in relocating and/or removing them from Australia.

If required, the business must pay the difference between the actual costs incurred by the Commonwealth (up to a maximum of AUD10,000) less costs the business might have already paid under the obligation to pay travel costs to enable sponsored people to leave Australia.

This obligation starts on the day the sponsored employee or family member becomes an unlawful non-citizen.

The obligation ends five years after they leave Australia. That is, Department of Home Affairs might require payment up to five years after the sponsored employee left Australia.

 

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