In August 2017, the Migration and Other Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Integrity) Bill 2017 was introduced into the House of Representatives. The Bill, among other things, proposes to amend the Migration Act to allow the public disclosure of sponsor sanctions.
Businesses approved as sponsors under the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) programme administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection are required by law to meet the sponsorship obligations outlined in the Migration Act.
The measures in this Bill will apply to the subclass 457 visa and its 2018 replacement, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. This means that any 457 employer who is subject to sponsorship obligations should be aware that any sanctions taken against them for non-compliance will be liable for public disclosure.
The government’s justification for this amendment is as follows – ‘The purpose of publishing information about actions taken in relation to approved or former approved sponsors is to deter businesses from breaching their sponsorship obligations, and to allow Australians and overseas workers to inform themselves about a sponsor’s breaches. It will also increase public awareness of the Department’s sponsor monitoring activities.’
457 sponsors should be aware of this proposed change and ensure that they are compliant with their sponsorship obligations. These include (but are not limited to) –
- Ensuring equivalent terms and conditions of employment
- Engaging in non-discriminatory recruitment practices
- Ensuring that sponsored persons continue to work in the nominated occupation
- Keeping records
- Reporting changes
It is important to note that not all sponsorship obligations cease when the sponsored subclass 457 visa holder stops working for the sponsor.
A full list of sponsorship obligations is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website – http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/457-#tab-content-3