In Australia, Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) subclass 482 visas enable employers to address labour shortages by bringing in skilled workers from overseas where an employer cannot source an appropriately skilled Australian worker. Employees who wish to be employed on a subclass 482 visa must be nominated by the employer, who is also their sponsor.
Being a standard business sponsor allows a business to flexibly employ individuals, specifically, foreign individuals who are looking to work in a particular occupation or field where there is a prevalent skill shortage.
Becoming an employer sponsor
The first step to sponsoring an employee is for a business to become a standard business sponsor.
The cost of applying to become a standard business sponsor is AUD$420 (as at August 2023), with an additional nomination training contribution charge, referred to as the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy. The application can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months (and longer in some cases). A sponsorship typically lasts 5 years from the date it is approved by the Department of Home Affairs.
Employers can also consider applying for accredited status, subject to meeting the criteria. If granted, this allows for priority processing of TSS or Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494) (SESR) nominations and applications.
Both Australian and overseas businesses can become sponsors, so long as the business is legally established and currently operating, and the business can provide proof of same.
Australian business employers are required to attest that they have a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to employing local labour. Overseas business employers do not need to provide this attestation, but need to demonstrate that they are seeking to establish or assist in establishing operations in Australia with overseas connections, or to fulfil contractual obligations.
If there are any changes to the business structure that result in the creation of a new legal entity, the new entity must become a standard business sponsor. This is particularly important to note in the context of any mergers or acquisitions, as it may otherwise result in an employee breaching their visa conditions, which may ultimately cause the employee’s visa to be cancelled.
Other matters to note
An employer must not take any action to recover or seek repayment from a prospective or actual employee for any fees associated with sponsoring or nominating the employee.
Noting that a standard business sponsor status lasts for 5 years, the Department of Home Affairs recommends that a business renews its standard business sponsorship status at least 2 months prior to the expiration date.
For further information, please contact:
Kristy Peacock-Smith, Partner, Bird & Bird