The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will implement changes to the sponsor accreditation criteria for approved business sponsors.
A key benefit of holding Accredited Sponsorship status is the access to streamlined processing of Temporary Skilled (Work) Subclass 457 visas.
The changes effective 1 July 2016 will potentially enable more businesses to access this beneficial program which is good news for business, although it is important to understand all the criteria.
To qualify as an accredited sponsor, a standard business sponsor must satisfy all of the new criteria, as summarised below, with effect from 1 July 2016:
- be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with a minimum of AUD 4 million annual turnovers for the last 3 years
- have been an active 457 sponsor for at least 3 years (with no more than a 6-month break), with no adverse findings (from monitoring), warnings or sanctions
- have sponsored at least 10 primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to the application for accreditation
- have lodged an agreed level of decision-ready applications over the previous 2 years
- have a non-approval rate of less than 3 percent for the previous 3 years
- have Australian workers comprising at least 75 percent of their workforce in Australia
- engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement)
- have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business and
- have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department, and have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to DIBP.
What does this mean for business?
Existing accredited sponsors should review the new criteria to see whether they are eligible to meet the new requirements in order to access to the expanded streamlined processing. Companies that have not been able to meet the accredited sponsorship status in the past (most likely due to not meeting the requirement to have sponsored at least 30 visa holders in the preceding 12 month period) should review the new criteria to see whether they will meet this from 1 July 2016. Of course, there is still further detail to be released and we will continue to monitor this for our clients; however, the above requirements will enable businesses to make a reasonable assessment of their ability to meet the new criteria.