The Australian government has implemented the first of the changes to the subclass 457 visa recommended in the 457 Integrity Review, including longer notification periods for sponsored employees ceasing employment, new requirements around English-language skills and market salary rates, and extended sponsorship terms for approved employers. The changes should help streamline the processing of visas, facilitate the administration for employers around sponsorship obligations, and simplify the requirements for eligible employees.
The Australian government has implemented the first of the changes to the subclass 457 visa recommended in the 457 Integrity Review1, including longer notification periods for sponsored employees ceasing employment, new requirements around English-language skills and market salary rates, and extended sponsorship terms for approved employers. The changes were foreshadowed in a government announcement of 18 March by Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Senator Michaelia Cash, who commissioned the review2. She announced at the time that the changes “… struck the right balance between strengthening necessary integrity measures whilst removing unnecessary red-tape.”
Below we highlight the changes that took effect on 18 April 2015.
The changes to the Australian 457 visa program will help streamline the processing of visas, facilitate the administration for employers around sponsorship obligations, and simplify the requirements for eligible employees.
Some of the proposed changes, however, will strengthen existing integrity provisions and failure to comply may result in sanctions.
The government has extended sponsorship terms for:
This change should reduce red tape for sponsors and allow start-up businesses more time to show they can meet on-going sponsorship obligations.
Sponsors under the subclass 457 visa program now have 28 calendar days to notify the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of:
This timeframe is now in-line with reporting obligations for other government agencies and means that sponsors will be able to review and simplify their notification processes.
The government has amended the English language requirements:
The expansion of alternative test providers will allow greater choice to potential visa holders and perhaps alleviate delays in booking with current providers in particular locations. Overall, the amended requirements could help ensure a better focus on English ability and less focus on test results.
A further change implementing the Integrity Review recommendations sees the salary threshold for exemption from the market rate requirement reduced to AUD 180,000 from AUD 250,000.
This change should mean less red tape for high-income earners and sponsors.
Sponsors should consider what changes may be required to internal processes to keep them up to date.
Further changes are expected to be implemented over the next six months. We will endeavor to keep readers informed of any relevant developments.
1 For more information on the 457 Integrity Review, see: https://www.immi.gov.au/pub-res/Pages/reviews-and-inquiries/independent-review-457-programme.aspx?heading=releaseoftheindependentreviewintointegrityinthesubclass457programme.
2 For the assistant minister’s 18 March 2015 press release, see: http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/michaeliacash/2015/Pages/457-reforms-boost-integrity.aspx.
This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Implementation of 457 Integrity Review Recommendations,” in Migration Newsflash (21 April 2015), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in Australia
For further information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional, or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in Australia:
New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory
Michael Wall (Immigration)
Tel. +61 2 9335 8625
Andy Hutt (Tax)
Tel. +61 2 9335 8655
Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania
James Hyett (Immigration)
Tel. +61 8 9263 7722
John Unger (Immigration)
Tel. +61 3 9288 5725
Ben Travers (Tax)
Tel. +61 3 9288 5279
Tim Sandow (Tax)
Tel. +61 8 8236 3234
Ivan Hoe (Immigration)
Tel. +61 8 9263 7181
Rachel Williamson (Immigration)
Tel. +61 8 9263 7455
Dan Hodgson (Tax)
Tel. +61 8 9278 2053
Queensland and Northern Territory
Stephen Abbott (Immigration)
Tel. +61 7 3233 9554
Philip Duncan (Immigration)
Tel. +61 7 3434 9196
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Australia.
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