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Sponsorship Accreditation 457 visa Employers

Sponsorship Accreditation 457 visa Employers

Accreditation changes for 457 Sponsors

As some clients may know, there are a number of changes to the sponsorship accreditation scheme for businesses which sponsor 457 visa holders.  Here are the major changes which come into effect from 1 July 2016 

What is an accredited sponsor?

457 sponsors who have a long history of good dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) are able to apply to become ‘Accredited Sponsors’.  If approved, an accredited sponsorship is then valid for six years instead of the usual five years, and nomination and visa applications receiving priority processing.

Changes to accredited sponsorship arrangements from 1 July 2016

The required characteristics that a company needs to meet to become an Accredited Sponsor will change on 1 July 2016.

In order to qualify for Accredited Status, a sponsor must meet all the normal requirements for standard business sponsorship and have all of the following additional characteristics:

·      be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least $4m annual turnover for the last three years;

·      have been an active 457 sponsor for at least three years (with no more than a six month break in the past 36 months), with no adverse information (based on monitoring, including formal warnings and sanctions);

·      have sponsored at least ten 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 two years;

·      have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous three years;

·      have Australian workers comprising at least 75% 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;

·      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 the department. 

Are there any additional benefits associated with sponsorship accreditation?

In addition to priority processing of nomination and visa applications, sponsors approved with accredited status after 1 July 2016 will also be eligible for streamlined processing of nominations where the nominated base salary is equal to or greater than:

·      the Fair Work High Income Threshold (The FWHIT is currently $136,700) and the occupation is classified as ANZSCO skill level 1 or 2

·      or

·      $75,000 and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO with the exception of the following occupations:

            recruitment consultant

            sales representative (industrial products)

            customer service manager

            corporate general manager

            procurement manager

            quality assurance manager

            sales and marketing manager

            specialist manager NEC

            hotel/motel manager

            contract administrator

            information and organization professionals NEC


How do I get accreditation?

DIBP will write to existing accredited sponsors and giving them an opportunity to upgrade their accredited status in June 2016 to enable them to access the new streamlined nomination processing arrangements. If they chose not to ‘upgrade’ or do not meet the new characteristics, they will continue to receive priority processing as per current arrangements until the end of their current sponsorship agreement.  DIBP will, however, be reviewing existing accredited sponsors to ensure that they do meet the current criteria for accreditation, and may revoke accreditation where this is not the case.

If you are an existing sponsor who now meets the characteristics for accreditation, you can lodge a sponsorship variation application post 1 July 2016 and ask to be considered for sponsorship accreditation.

If you require further information or would like to apply for accreditation please contact Visa Solutions for specific and tailored immigration advice for your company.

Dan Engles

Managing Director



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