Changes to Sponsorship Accreditation from 1 July 2016

The Department of Immigration & Border Protection has announced major changes to the process of securing Accredited Sponsorship status. The most major change to this program is the requirement of having sponsored at least thirty primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to applying for accredited status to only being required to have sponsored ten primary 457 visa applicants.

A primary 457 visa holder is the person that has applied to be sponsored, secondary applicants also known as ‘Dependant applicants’ is not included in the number required.

What is Accredited Sponsorship?

Accredited Sponsorship is when an employer has a long history of good dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border protection and applies for the status of ‘accredited sponsorship’.

As an accredited sponsor, employers are able to streamline their sponsorship requirements allowing for a simple and fast tracked visa application process. Employers with accredited sponsorship are able to have this sponsorship for six years, and receive less scrutinised priority processing for nominations.

What are the changes in requirements for accredited sponsors?

– be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD four million 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 (this used to be set at 30 primary 457 visa holders)
– 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) – a copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application
– 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 – a copy of the Enterprise Agreement or internal salary table must be attached to the application in addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the salary rates contained in the document reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their business (for example: Awards, remuneration surveys, job advertisements, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook)
– have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department;
– evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (for example, profit / loss statements, Business Activity Statements, annual reports); and
– have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the Department
– if the business is a company, a current / historical extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) must be attached to the application

If I am currently an accredited sponsor do I have to do anything in regards to these changes?

If your business is currently an accredited sponsor with the Department of Immigration & Border Protection you can apply to upgrade your accreditation status in June 2016. This will then enable your business to take advantage of the new streamlined nomination processing arrangements. If your business does not choose to upgrade your accreditation status or are unable to meet the new requirements the business will continue to receive priority processing until the end of your current accreditation sponsorship as per your grant notice.

How do I apply to upgrade my accredited sponsorship?

If you are currently an accredited sponsorship and wish to upgrade to the new framework for accredited sponsors you must lodge a sponsorship variation application and request to be considered for sponsorship accreditation after the 1st July 2016 when the changes are being introduced.

If you would like further information on accredited sponsorship, your obligations as an accredited sponsor, or would like to fully assess if your business qualifies to become an accredited sponsor please contact Ethos Migraiton on 1300 083 843 or via email at info@ethosmigration.com.au