As per our previous post on the 1st July 2013 changes, there have been numerous alterations to multiple areas of the Australian Migration Program. Some of these changes are more complex than others, and we have dealt with them more generally in the previous post. The point of this post is to cover a number of key changes that we believe will affect a large number of sponsors and visa holders if not managed effectively:
SBS Nomination Ceiling
From the 1st July 2013, the DIAC have re-introduced the idea of a nomination ceiling. The ‘number’ of nominations a SBS holder will be allowed to sponsor will now be decided through the process of the SBS application. There are a number of key considerations we suggest our corporate clients take into account for this:
1. The ‘number’ of nominations allowed to be sponsored by the SBS will be set for the duration of the approved operational period by the SBS. I.e., if the SBS is an existing SBS, they will receive a further 3 year SBS for which the # nominations allowed by their ceiling will be usable. If the business is not an existing SBS, it is likely to be granted a 12 month initial SBS duration
2. One the ceiling has been hit, the SBS will cease to be in effect (a nomination will be considered ‘used’ as soon as a nomination has been lodged)
3. The ‘number’ of nominations granted to a SBS will be paired to the workforce profile of the company, and will likely form a percentage of the total workforce figures. We suggest obtaining consultation on planning for this
SBS Obligations and Employer Sanctions
There have been reinforcements of the sponsor obligations with the recently passed bill, including powers allocated to FWO (Fair Work Ombudsman) inspectors to inspect SBS sites and businesses for any possible breach. In addition to this, the civil liability of any potential breaches has been increased. We will release further information on these updated obligations and penalties very shortly to our resources page.
Should your business currently hold a SBS agreement, and it was granted pre-1st July 2013, there will be no changes made to your SBS retrospectively. However, if you look to amend your SBS agreement or apply for a new SBS agreement post 1st-July 2013 please be aware that you are going be exposing yourself to the new nomination ceiling requirements. We recommend you plan for this before lodging any variations or new SBS applications to ensure you decide the nomination ceiling and not have DIAC decide it for you.