The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced changes to the criteria that a business will need to satisfy in order to obtain accredited status as a 457 business sponsor, which will come into effect on 1 July 2016.
Since 2011, 457 business sponsors have been able to register as “Accredited Sponsors” to obtain a fast-tracked method of having their Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa applications processed by the DIBP.
The most notable amendment to the current system will be reducing the required number of 457 visa applicants a business needs to have sponsored for the preceding 24 month period prior to application from the current 30, down to 10. This will render it possible for more businesses to apply to become Accredited Sponsors under the 457 visa program and obtain the benefit of expedited processing.
What are the requirements to register as an Accredited Sponsor?
The DIBP has announced that from 1 July 2016, in order to qualify for Accredited Status a business sponsor must meet all the requirements for standard business sponsorship and have all of the following additional characteristics:
- Be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least $4 million annual turnover for the last three years;
- Have been an active 457 business 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;
- 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); and
- 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.
What are the benefits to Registering as an Accredited Sponsor?
Registering as an Accredited Sponsor entitles businesses to the following advantages:
- The period of business sponsorship is granted for a six year period instead of the usual five year period;
- Priority processing of subclass 457 nomination and visa applications are granted for Accredited Sponsors; and
- In addition to the current priority processing of nomination and visa applications for Accredited Sponsors, from 1 July 2016 Accredited Sponsors will also be eligible for “streamlined processing,” ie further expedited processing of nomination applications. This will occur:
- Where the base salary for the nominated position is greater than or equal to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (which is currently $136,700) and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO); or
- The base salary for the nominated occupation is greater than or equal to $75,000 and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO with the exception of the following occupations:
- recruitment consultant;
- sales representative (industrial products);
- customer service manager;
- corporate general manager;
- procurement manager;
- quality assurance manager;
- sales and marketing manager;
- specialist manager NEC;
- hotel/motel manager;
- contract administrator; and
- information and organisation professionals NEC.
For current Accredited Sponsors, the business’ status as an Accredited Sponsor and priority processing arrangements will continue until the expiration of the sponsorship agreement. Businesses currently approved as Accredited Sponsors are also entitled to upgrade their status to access the new streamlined processing arrangements which will commence on 1 July 2016.
For assistance in registering as an Accredited Sponsor under the 457 visa program, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for Australian immigration assistance.
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