The following information has been derived from one of the latest DIAC updates. You can find the original here.
Below you will see a summary of some of the major changes implemented to the 457 program, effective 1st July 2013. These amendments are pursuant to the passing of the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Visas) Bill 2013
• Nomination fee increased from $85 to $330. (The fee to become a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS) fee remains unchanged @ $420)
• The TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) will be indexed by 4.8% and has accordingly increased from $51,400 to $53,900.
• Businesses must now attest to having a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, employing local labour and declare that they will not discriminate in their recruitment practices.
• Meeting training benchmarks is now ongoing and enforceable rather than a commitment. Additionally sponsors are obligated to maintain records relating to training. Start-up businesses obliged to provide an auditable training plan.
• Delegates must now be satisfied that the nominated position is genuine and may refuse if the tasks of the nominated occupation do not correspond to the tasks of an eligible occupation or the position associated with nominated occupation is not genuine.
• Employers are now restricted to sponsoring the number of 457 workers that was approved in their sponsorship application over the term of their sponsorship. (Employers can vary this number by applying for a variation to their sponsorship agreement)
• Assessment of generalist occupations has now been strengthened. Program and Project and Specialist Manager not else where classified applicants must undertake a formal skills assessment.
• Employees must now be employed by their sponsor in a direct ‘employee-employer’ relationship, this prevents sponsors from engaging visa holders under arrangements that resemble independent contracting arrangements. Sponsors are now required to keep a record of written contracts of employment with primary sponsored persons.
• ELSET(the English Language Salary Exemption) does not apply if the visa holder renominates at a salary level lower that the ELSET.
• Market salary assessment exemption threshold has been increased to $250,000 from $180,000.
• Sponsors are now required (previously just obligated) to pay certain costs associated with becoming a sponsor and not pass these costs, in any form, onto a sponsored person.
• Occupation based exemptions to the English language requirement have been removed but other exemptions remain unchanged including; a nominated salary that is over the ELSET amount, passport from Canada, USA, UK, Ireland and New Zealand, and if the applicant has completed 5 consecutive years of full time study in a secondary and/or higher education institution where the instruction was delivered in English.
• English language is now defined the same as in the ENS scheme.
• The term of sponsorship approval for start-up businesses has been amended to an initial 12 months and all subclass 457 visa holders sponsored by start up businesses are limited to an initial 12 month visa.
• All 457 sponsorship, nomination and visa applications must be lodged online.
• All new 457 visa applications will now attract an increased visa application charge, of $900 for the primary applicant, secondary applicants over 18 and $225 for secondary applicants under 18
• Upon cessation of their employment by the sponsor; the 457 visa holder now has 90 days to find a new sponsor or leave the country (previously 28 days under condition 8107)
According to the legislation passed by both houses on Friday the 28th of June
As per s 140GBA(3) in order to satisfy labor market testing condition the employer must conduct labor market testing within a period determined by legislative instrument by the minister (subsection 4).
The employer must provide evidence of the labor market testing, this evidence must include information about the approved sponsors attempts to recruit suitably qualified Australian citizens and PR. This information must include details of the advertising and fees paid for that advertising. There is a range of information that a sponsor may include (refer to s 140 GBA(6)(b)(i)-(iii)) but the Minister will not treat the nomination less favorably if a sponsor does not include this information.
Skill and occupational exemptions as per s 140GBC apply to the requirement of labor market testing, if the nominated position is one that the Minister specifies through legislative instrument and if there is a requirement for the position of a bachelor degree or higher or five years or more of relevant experience or both.
Again the exemption applies if it is a nominated position specified by the Minister requires a relevant associate degree, advanced diploma or diploma covered by the Australian Qualifications Framework, or 3 years or more relevant experience or both.
Should you require any further information, please contact us.