As blogged on our website in September last year, the “Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Bill 2015” was introduced into Parliament in September 2015, and came into law in November.
As the name of the Bill indicates, the focus of the government was, for a season, turned to investigating the occurrence of employers charging visa applicants money in order to obtain their visa. Whilst this may sound straight-forward (and indeed the illegality of such practice was already spoken to for visa schemes such as the 457), the new law created confusion in a number of ways. For example:
1. If we (the employer) ask the applicant to pay for some of the application-associated costs for an ENS or RSMS, will this mean we are making the employee pay ‘for a migration outcome?’, or
2. Will a migration agent charging a ‘success fee’ be in breach of this legislation?
The law change means that employers who are found in breach of this legislation can now be found guilty of a criminal offence, so we encourage employers to think carefully of the way they are involving their employees in any ‘cost-sharing’ arrangements. Or more seriously, if employers have been asking for financial contribution to them personally, or even into their business in return for sponsoring subclass 457, 186 or 187 visa holders; we highly suggest a review of such a business practice in light of this legislation.
Please contact us if you have any questions.