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Accredited Sponsorship Changes from 1 July 2016

Written By Michael Walker
Thu, Jun 9, 2016
Michael Walker

There have been major changes announced to the process of obtaining Accredited Sponsorship status. The major change being the requirement to have sponsored at least thirty primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to the application for accreditation changing to only having to sponsor ten primary 457 visa applicants.

What is Accredited Sponsorship and how does my business qualify?

An Accredited Sponsor is an employer sponsor, who has a long history of good dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. In order to qualify for Accredited status from 1 July 2016, the process of obtaining accredited sponsorship status will be further streamlined.  However, an applicant for accredited sponsorship must meet all of the requirements to be successful.  These requirements are as follows:

* be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD four million annual turnover for the last three years
* have been an active 457 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 (this used to be set at 30 primary 457 visa holders)
* 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) - a copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application
* 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 - a copy of the Enterprise Agreement or internal salary table must be attached to the application in addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the salary rates contained in the document reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their business (for example: Awards, remuneration surveys, job advertisements, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook)
* have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department;
* evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (for example, profit / loss statements, Business Activity Statements, annual reports); and
* have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the Department
* if the business is a company, a current / historical extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) must be attached to the application.

What are the benefits associated with Accredited Sponsorship?

* Sponsorship is valid for 6 years instead of the standard 5 years
* Visa and nomination applications receive priority processing
* Where the nominated base salary is equal to or greater than $136,700 (Fair Work High Income Threshold) and the occupation is ANZSCO Skill Level 1 or 2, further priority processing is available or $75,000 and the occupation is classified as Skill Level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO with the exception of some occupations

Current Accredited Sponsors can upgrade their Accredited status in June 2016 to enable them to access the new streamlined nomination processing arrangements. Should you choose not to upgrade or do not meet the new requirements, you will continue to receive priority processing as per your current arrangement until the end of your current sponsorship agreement.

Current Approved Sponsors can lodge a sponsorship variation application and ask to be considered for sponsorship accreditation post 1 July 2016.

If you would like to discuss the changes to your current Accredited status or would like to understand whether your business qualifies for Accredited Sponsorship status please contact TSS Immigration on (03) 9421 1020.

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