July 1 2011 sees the commencement of a range of new provisions
under the Migration Act and Migration Regulations. The changes that
might be relevant to our clients include:
Visa Application Charges (VAC)
Charges payable to the Department of Immigration and
Citizenship for business related visas will increase by 2.8% in
accordance with the CPI.
Application fees for review of a decision by the Migration Review
Tribunal will increase by 15% (from $1,400 to $1,610). Tribunal
fees remain refundable where an application to the Tribunal is
Any applications to the Department or the Tribunal lodged on or
after 1 July 2011 will be invalid unless accompanied by the current
fee (or a credit card authority to that effect).
Employers sponsoring temporary staff under the sub class 457 visa
program are presently obliged to ensure that the base rate of pay
paid to an employee is the greater of the TSMIT and market rate for
the position (determined with reference to Australian employees
undertaking similar work).
From 1 July the TSMIT will increase from $47,480 to $49,330.
Employers with current sponsored employees should ensure that
salaries are adjusted with effect from 1 July to remain
"Base rate" of pay excludes incentive-based payments and
bonuses, loadings, allowances, overtime and penalty
Generally, applicants nominated for Trades occupations are obliged
to demonstrate English language fluency to functional level
(equating to a score of 5 in each of the IELTS test bands). Certain
applicants are exempt from these requirement including holders of
passports from Canada, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the UK
or the USA.
Holders of other passports who are nominated for Trade positions
may be exempt from the English language requirements where their
base rate of salary is not less than $88,410 (up from
2. Training Requirements – a
Our experience is that many employers wishing to sponsor skilled
staff under the 457 temporary visa program are not adequately
prepared to demonstrate their compliance with the training
requirements of the Department of Immigration.
Businesses established for more than 12 months must be able to
evidence training expenditure to meet Benchmarks A or B as
Benchmark A – recent (meaning in
the past 12 months) expenditure by the business to the equivalent
of at least 2% of the payroll of the business, in payments
allocated to an industry training fund, plus
a commitment to maintain such expenditure in each fiscal year for
the term of its approval as a sponsor.
Benchmark B – recent expenditure by
the business to the equivalent of at
least 1% of payroll of the business for
the provision of training to Australian citizen or
permanent resident employees of the business, plus a
commitment by the business to maintain such expenditure for the
term of its approval as a sponsor.
Training expenditure for Benchmark B can include:
Employment of apprentices and trainees
Employment of a person with a training role
Payment to external training providers (including for courses
of formal study)
On the job training provided that it is structured and its
outcomes can be audited.
3. Skill Assessments
Whilst formal assessment of an applicant's skills is
generally not necessary, the Department of Immigration retains
discretion to require a skill assessment. For persons coming to
fill trade occupations who hold passports from Brazil, Fiji, PNG,
South Africa, Vietnam, China, India, Philippines, Thailand or
Zimbabwe, skill assessments are mandatory.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The Federal Court handed down the largest court imposed fine for breaching subclass 457 visa sponsorship obligations.
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