Sponsoring a foreign worker can be a daunting process. Immigration law and the supporting regulations are a minefield that needs careful navigation to arrive at a positive result: a visa approval. Using these helpful tips below, Employment Innovations can help your business navigate the legal maze of sponsored visa applications.
How do I sponsor a foreign worker?
One of the most common ways businesses employ foreign nationals is through the 482 Temporary Skills Shortage work visa, which replaced the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) visa in March 2018.
This visa allows businesses to employ foreign employees in an occupation that is deemed to be in shortage in Australia. The list of permissible occupations is long & varied and is updated from time to time, and is contained within the following piece of legislation: Migration (LIN 19/048: Specification of Occupations – Subclass 482 Visa) Instrument 2019.
If the business or company does not already have a valid sponsorship approval from the Department of Home Affairs, this is the first step that needs to be undertaken. Both startups & established businesses may apply for a Standard Business Sponsorship, however, in limited circumstances, a business may apply for an Accredited Business Sponsorship.
Businesses located overseas may apply for an Overseas Business Sponsorship.
These are the steps that need to be followed:
- Ensure the business can demonstrate it operates in Australia (lease agreements, client contracts, supply contracts, etc may be requested),
- Ensure the business has an Australia Business Number (ABN),
- Ensure that the business has financial records (Annual Report, End of Financial Year Reports, BAS),
- If the business has a website, it has to be accessible (must be able to be “clicked on”),
- Prepare an Organisational Chart,
- If the business employs Australian citizens, permanent residents or foreign nationals on other visas (student, working holiday, dependent visa holders), it’s best to prepare a list with these details also.
Once the business has lodged or obtains an approved business sponsorship, the next step is to lodge a business nomination for the position the company wishes to fill.
There are a little over 500 occupations that may be nominated, which are divided into the Short Term Skilled Occupations List (STSOL), the Medium–Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and the Regional Occupations List (ROL).
Occupations on the MLTSSL and the ROL may obtain a 482 TSS visa for up to 4 years, while those on the STSOL may obtain a 482 TSS visa for up to 2 years.
Generally, only occupations on the MLTSSL have pathways to an employer-assisted permanent residence visa that a 482 visa holder may apply from the beginning of the 4th year. Occupations on the STSOL, currently have no pathway to apply for an employer-assisted permanent residence visa.
When lodging a business nomination the following steps need to be taken:
- Ensure the occupation can be nominated by referring to the 482 TSS occupations lists,
- Determine the number of years that the position will be provided to the nominee (employee),
- Undertake and complete an appropriate Labour Market Testing (LMT) process or “advertisement” of the nominated position. This is a process whereby you will demonstrate that you cannot find a suitable Australian employee for the position. After LMT has been conducted, collate the results.
- Determine the market salary rate for the position and be able to justify it by use of external salary referencing sources,
- Ensure that the offer of employment or employment contract signed by the company and the foreign worker is dated at least AFTER the last day of the LMT process. Note: the employment contract cannot be dated and signed before or during the LMT process!
- Be prepared to pay the mandatory company contribution to the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy, determined by the size of the business’ annual turnover in the most recent financial year and the duration of the visa. Note: this amount may NOT be passed on to any third party: it is essentially a tax on businesses who use the immigration system.
482 Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa Application
This is the last stage of the process; the 482 TSS application may only be lodged after the business nomination for the position/occupation has been lodged or approved. As pointed out above, depending on which occupation is nominated, a 482 may be valid for up to 2 or 4 years.
Once approved, the primary visa holder may only work in the approved nomination and only for the business sponsor. Partners and/or children may be included as part of the 482 TSS sponsored visa application.
The following steps must be followed:
- Obtain employment references totalling at least two (2) years in respect of the employee,
- If required, the primary applicant must provide an English Language Test to demonstrate they have a sufficient level of English for the occupation they are being nominated for,
- Attempt to compile information, such as which countries the applicant(s) have travelled to in the last 10 years, addresses the applicants have lived in for 12 months or more in the last 10 years,
- Obtain the appropriate police checks from all countries that applicants over the age of 16, have lived for 12 months in the last 10 years,
- If required, undertake the appropriate health checks after the visa has been lodged,
- If the applicant(s) have held or currently hold an Australia visa, make sure that is available at the time of lodgement of the 482 visa.
Other important points:
If a current 482 visa holder wishes to change employers, a new business nomination must be lodged by the new employer.
Only on approval of the new business nomination may the 482 visa holder commence employment with that employer. Note: the 482 visa holder must NOT start work with the new employer if the new business nomination has not yet been approved, as they will only hold work rights with the existing business sponsor
Partners and/or children may be added to an existing 482 visa. If this is required, a dependent 482 visa application must be made for them.
How Employment Innovations can help with sponsored visa applications?
At Employment Innovations, we pride ourselves in providing clients with high-quality migration services. Our qualified migration agents can help with any visa and sponsorship needs. Contact us to learn more or call 1300 144 120 to speak with a migration agent today.