The 457 visa amendments have resulted in a flurry of telephone calls and emails to our office and we would like to go ahead and elaborate on each one of these changes in order to give our readers a clear picture of them. The changes are quite significant and will have far-reaching effects on business that want to sponsor employees and employees who wish to be sponsored.
Nomination application fees will increase from $85 to $330, visa application fee has doubled from $455 to $900, fee to apply to be an approved sponsor remains unchanged at $420.
It is clear that with the modifications to the requirements coming into effect, the rules have becomes stringent and will allow only genuine sponsors/ applicants to proceed.
A few of the variations are just improvements on prior existing conditions but they all will affect new applications greatly. Considering there have been so many amendments to this particular visa we will be dividing the explanation over two parts contained in different newsletters published over the course of this week.
Meeting training benchmarks is now an ongoing and enforceable requirement. Its not just one invoice to be submitted during a sponsorship application but rather a sponsor has to have prior and current ongoing record of training other employees. Even start-up business operational for less than twelve months should provide an auditable training program and maintain ongoing records of full-filling the program requirements.
July 1st 2013 onwards the case-officers will have greater powers to refuse applications if they are not satisfied it is a genuine position that is being filled.
An employer is from now on limited to sponsoring a pre-declared number of people unlike pre-changes when there was no limit. From now onwards businesses will have to declare while applying for business sponsorships the maximum number of people they might require to sponsor. Which does not mean they are obliged to sponsor the declared number every year but it means they will not need to sponsor more. One could choose a number greater than projected requirements just to be on the safer side.
The assessment of generalist occupations has now been strengthened. Program and Project Administrator and Specialist Manager not elsewhere classified applicants must undertake a formal skills assessment, which was not required earlier.
The market salary rate provisions have now been expanded to apply beyond the particular workplace to that workplace's regional locality.
Where there is no equivalent Australian worker, the employer is still required to satisfy the Department that the terms and conditions of employment are appropriate for that location and industry. Which only means that an employer has to research more than before and provide added evidence to prove a typical salary rate for the industry/ location.The market salary assessment exemption threshold has been increased to $250 000 from $180 000.
The Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) has been increased from $51400 to $53900.
Employees must now be employed by their sponsor in a direct 'employee-employer' relationship. This basically prohibits on-hire arrangements that fall outside approved Labour Agreements and prevents sponsors from engaging visa holders under arrangements that resemble independent contracting arrangements.Sponsors will now be required to keep a record of written contracts of employment with primary sponsored persons.
Accredited businesses will be required to pay certain costs associated with becoming a sponsor and not pass these costs, in any form, onto a sponsored person.
The Labour Market Testing provision will be discussed tomorrow in our next edition.