The Australian Government has introduced new laws that now make it a criminal offence for a person to receive any time of benefit, including cash payment, in return for sponsoring a visa applicant.
The bill has been labeled ‘the Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015 was officially introduced to the Australian Government on 16 September 2015 and is trying to battle the growing issue of people making ‘payments’ in exchange for sponsorship’s.
The biggest visa subclass that these arrangements are being made under is the subclass 457 visa programme, and this bill is a result of some recommendations made in the Independent Review into Integrity in the 457 visa programme.
The current law does not allow sponsors from recovering costs relating to sponsorship and nomination’s for visa applicants, however does not cover a ‘loophole’ that would prevent a visa applicant from making a payment to a potential ‘sponsor’ to secure a visa.
What does this new law actually cover?
The Australian Government has provided the following into what is regarded as ‘making payments in exchange for a sponsorship’:
- the opportunity of employment;
- the continued support of a sponsor, i.e regular payments to the sponsor to secure sponsorship and not be terminated;
- the agreeing to engage service providers with whom the benefited person has some referral for payment arrangement;
- the grant, or issue of the visa itself;
- any other prescribed event
Basically, if a sponsor receives any sort of benefit from an applicant such as, property, real and personal, an advantage of any kind, a service and or gifts or money they will be liable to the criminal charges.
Penalties range in excess of $64,000 for individuals and $324,000 for companies including a criminal conviction and up to 2 years imprisonment.
If you would like more information on how this can effect you as a business owner, or as a visa holder please get in contact with us today.