What are the employer obligations for a 457 visa?

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What are the employer obligations for a 457 visa?

What are the employer obligations for a 457 visa?

One of the most popular routes into Australia is via a sponsored 457 visa.  This Temporary Work visa aims to address genuine shortages in the Australian labour market by bringing people from overseas who have skills which are in demand.  It allows you to work for up to 4 years in Australia and is a great pathway to permanent residency. 

Employers using the 457 program, must become approved business sponsors and abide by certain obligations set out by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

There are penalties for not complying with the regulations.  Visa Solutions Australia can guide employers through the sponsorship approval process and advise them of their obligations as a 457 sponsor.

Cooperate with inspectors

Liabilities start on the day the sponsorship is approved or the work agreement commences and applies for five years after the approved sponsorships ends.  Sponsors have a duty to tell the Department of Immigration and Border Protection within 28 calendar days if the sponsored visa holder’s employment ends or is expected to end.  Under the Migration Act of 1958, 457 sponsors must cooperate with inspectors by providing access to the premises and producing documents as required.

Pay the market salary and ensure consistent terms and conditions

Workers on a 457 must receive the same pay and conditions as an Australian undertaking the same role in that locality.  They must be entitled to leave, be offered the same allowances and expected to work the same number of hours. 

Employ direct

Sponsored employers must ensure that the 457-visa holder does the work nominated for them and must not contract or hire them out to another business. A written contract of employment is essential.

Keep records

Sponsors must keep records to show that they are complying with their obligations and be prepared to provide records and information to the Minister of Immigration at any time.  This could include details such as their role and tasks performed within the company along with details of the wages paid to the 457-visa holder and any benefits provided such as sick leave entitlement, vehicle allowance. Sponsors must also tell the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of any changes which may occur either with the individual 457 holders, or with the structure of the company.  This may include cessation of employment, change of work duties or the insolvency of the business.

Commitment to training

A commitment to training must be evident.  Sponsored employers are obligated to spend money to prove this. They can either spend 2% of the payroll expenditure incurred in the last year on a training fund appropriate to their business (such as a TAFE fund) or spend 1% of payroll incurred in the last year on general training to their employees who are citizens or permanent residents.

Pay travel costs to enable sponsored 457 holders to leave Australia

The sponsored employer has an obligation to pay travel costs to enable 457 visa holders to leave Australia when their employment ends.  These are ‘reasonable and necessary costs only’ for primary and family members.  The costs must be paid within 30 days of request. Employers must also pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizens.

Why it’s best to seek advice

This is by no means an exhaustive list.   Penalties served to companies who flout their obligations could include a ban on sponsoring more people for a specified time, a ban on being able to apply for approval as a sponsor or having your existing approval of being a sponsor cancelled. Infringement notices can be issued of up to $10,200 for a corporate sponsor and $2,040 for an individual sponsor for each failure. Hefty civil penalties can also be issued amounting to $51,00 for a corporate sponsor and $10,200 for an individual sponsor for each failure.

The 457 sounds simple in concept, but the legislation behind it is not and that's why we suggest people seek specialist advice.  Visa Solutions Australia are the migration experts. If you’d like to know more about sponsorship for 457 visas, whether you’re a business with a view to hiring a skilled worker from overseas, or an individual applying for a 457 visa, contact us today.

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