Do you have your eye on the ball when it comes to your 457 nominee’s visa and its conditions?
Our research shows that busy business owners and harried HR Managers have every intention to manage their 457 sponsorship well, but have little time to do so.
So let’s save you time and hassle and identify the 7 Things Every Employer Should Know about 457 Visa Conditions so you can manage your sponsorship obligations and avoid the risk of losing your 457 workers.
Your 457 nominee was approved to work in a specific occupation. Changes to the employee’s duties may lead to a change in occupation.
457 nominees are expected to undertake the majority of tasks listed for their ANZSCO occupation for the majority of the time. Slight divergences or temporary tasks that are outside that scope are acceptable but should take up no more than 5% of the 457 visa holder’s time.
Any major change in duties should be aligned with an occupation on the 457 occupations list and a new nomination lodged with the Department of Immigration.
Often 457 visa holders are keen to obtain permanent residence down the track. Working two years in the one position is one of the main eligibility criteria. When considering giving a promotion to a 457 visa holder, consider the implications, discuss the immediate and long term effect of the change and ensure that you and your 457 nominee agree about the pathway forward.
TIP: Even if permanent residence is not on the agenda, undertake an annual check on your 457 nominee’s position to ensure compliance with the nominated occupation.
457 nominations specify where a 457 visa holder is to work.
Being nominated for a particular location does not restrict an employer from moving the employee about the business’ operations Australia-wide, however it is a requirement to notify the Department of Immigration of any location change.
And remember, a change in location may mean a change in the market salary rate. The 457 nominee must still be employed on terms and conditions that are equivalent to those applicable to an existing or hypothetical Australian employee in that same role.
So when any long term move takes place, re-assess the terms and conditions of employment, adjust the salary accordingly and notify the Department of Immigration of the change of location.
457 visa holders are limited to working only for the sponsoring employer or a related entity. The 457 nominee cannot be on-hired to another business (unless the employer is party to an On-Hire Labour Agreement).
Businesses are related if they fall within the ambit of section 50AAA of the Corporations Act. For example, a wholly owned subsidiary would be a related entity to the parent company and a 457 nominee could then work for either enterprise. Seek advice from the business’ lawyer or accountant if you are unsure whether entities are related.
If there is a change of employer that is not a related entity– for example when there is a take-over or restructure (one clue is a new ABN) – the new employer must lodge a nomination application and have it approved so that the 457 visa holder can be ‘transferred’ to work for the new entity. The 457 visa holder would not be permitted to work for the new employer until the new nomination is approved.
Whenever there is a change of employer in the pipeline, act early and seek a new nomination approval so that the nominee can maintain his / her work with minimum disruption.
4. Health Insurance
457 visa holders must have adequate health insurance. Health insurance may be paid for by either the nominee or by the employer. Health insurance should include hospital cover plus any relevant ancillary cover for known conditions or needs.
Health insurance should cover all 457 visa holding family unit members.
TIP: As part of your annual review process, ask your 457 nominee to provide evidence of ongoing health cover.
5. Family Unit Members
Visa holders may bring their family unit members to Australia on their 457 visa. The sponsoring employer must ratify and extend sponsorship to the family unit members for them to have their visas approved. Sponsorship obligations will then extend to all sponsored family members.
The principal visa holder’s partner will have a 457 visa permitting unlimited work and study.
Children of school age are required to attend school and will be enrolled as international students; this may mean higher school fees.
There is no requirement that the family unit members remain in Australia for the duration of the 457 visa. Spouses, for example, often wish to keep up their overseas employment. Because it has a multiple entry facility, family unit members may travel in and out of Australia at will.
When faced with an applicant with family unit members, weigh up the costs to the nominee and to the business and discuss with your nominee the best way forward to meet all needs.
6. Visa Validity
Every visa has an expiry date. A 457 visa is usually available for up to 4 years.
Where a sponsor had been a new (less than 12 months old) business at the time of sponsorship approval, 18-month sponsorships and visas are issued. This period can pass very quickly. Diarise well in advance of the expiry dates so that you can prepare and lodge the new sponsorship and visa applications within time, in order to keep the employee with the business.
Visa holders who are not being re-sponsored must either apply for another visa or depart Australia within the visa validity period.
TIP: As soon as you have a 457 worker on board, diarise the visa expiry date and a reminder six months prior so that you can be ready to take action in plenty of time.
7. Return travel
457 visa holders are entitled to ask their employer for a return air fare to their country of passport once during the period of their visa. For the sponsor to be liable, the request must be made in writing and the employer must make payment within 28 days.
Employers may reimburse the 457 visa holder in cash – direct deposit to bank account – or, preferably, you purchase the economy ticket for the sponsored worker and his / her family members. You will then have a record of the payment – obligation met!
Whether or not you inform your 457 nominee of their entitlement is a matter for you. As soon as a request is made, however, action it immediately. And, especially where there are family members involved, ensure you have an estimate of this expenditure in your cash flow planning.
Any breach of the above conditions will have repercussions for not only the 457 visa holder but also the business. From a warning to pecuniary fine to sponsorship-bar, the outcomes can be serious for a sponsoring employer.
Keep these 7 visa conditions in mind, and keep your 457 sponsorship squeaky clean!
If you are finding it hard to manage your sponsorship compliance alone, Don’t Panic!
Aspire Australia’s Sponsorship Compliance Service offers affordable support, access to our professional team whenever you have questions and an annual programme of services that allow you to tick the box on all your compliance obligations.
Read more here: http://aspireaustralia.com.au/employers/
Contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 02 9956 6011