Following an independent review of the subclass 457 visa program, the Australian Government has announced that it will be adopting recommendations to alter the program.
What are the changes?
- The sponsorship terms for businesses approved as standard business sponsors will increase from the current three years to five years for established businesses.
- For newly established businesses (those operating for less than 12 months), the sponsorship term will extend from 12 months to 18 months.
- English language requirements for subclass 457 visa applicants will be slightly more relaxed.
- Information sharing between the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) will be increased. Information sharing will include the ATO verifying that subclass 457 visa holders are paid their stipulated salary and verifying information provided by businesses to the DIBP.
- Training benchmarks for standard business sponsors (which currently includes Training Benchmark A of contributing 2% of payroll to an industry training fund or 1% of payroll expenditure spent on training Australian staff) will be replaced with an annual training contribution made by the business sponsor.
- Fraudulent actions by business sponsors will become criminalised and accepting payment to sponsor a subclass 457 visa holder will become a criminal offence.
When will the changes take place?
- The Australian Government has implemented the above changes to the subclass 457 visa program on 18 March 2015.
- Further changes to the subclass 457 visa program are expected to be introduced throughout 2015.
We will ensure that all our clients are informed of changes to the subclass 457 visa program as they occur. Please contact Principal Lawyer, Rebecca Berkovic, for advice regarding subclass 457 visa sponsorship.
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