Sponsoring a Visa: Responsibilities, Obligations & More

Sponsor Obligations

When undertaking visa sponsorship, it is vital to ensure the numerous responsibilities and obligations involved are complied with. 

As a sponsor, you are obligated to communicate with Home Affairs throughout this process of sponsorship approval and beyond. Following the directions of the Home Affairs office, we’ve compiled the key responsibilities and obligations to ensure a smooth and hopefully successful sponsorship process. 

Communicate Changes

It’s important to maintain written contact with Home Affairs to cite any events or changes that take place within 28 days of the event. This will include emailing Home Affairs and ensuring your ImmiAccount information is up to date and correct. 

As a sponsor, you are responsible for updating the Home Affairs on changes to legal name, trading name, registration detail, business structure, as well as business address and owners, directors, principals or partners. You must notify Home Affairs if your business’ status has changed, such as bankruptcy or insolvency, liquidation, or cease to exist as a legal entity.  All business sponsor obligations are determined by Part 5 Corporations Act 2001

In regards to the individual you are sponsoring, you are responsible for notifying Home Affairs if they have ceased employment with you, have changed duties or did not commence working with you. 

You are obligated to this communication from the day your standard business sponsorship is approved, and the work agreement begins. This obligation comes to an end once your sponsorship and work agreement or you no longer employ a sponsored visa holder.

Accuracy of Nominated Occupation

As a sponsor, it is your responsibility to guarantee that your employee works only in the occupation they have nominated. A new nomination must be lodged if the visa holder wants to work in a different occupation. Your obligation to ensure this single nominated occupation begins the day the nominee is granted a visa or the day the nomination is approved if the nominee is already working for you. 

As the only employer nominated, you are contractually obligated to employ the person you have sponsored. Moreover, you cannot support in recruiting or hiring the sponsored employee to another business unless the business is an associated entity.

If you are sponsoring them under the Temporary Skill Shortage visa (TSS) (subclass 482) or the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SESR) visa (subclass 494), the employee will also need to apply for and be granted a new visa. 

This obligation ends on the day your employee has been nominated for a different sponsor., your employee is granted that is not a TSS,, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa, or they have left Australia, and their visa is no longer in effect.

Equivalent Terms and Conditions of Employment

As a business sponsor, you are obligated to ensure that the annual earnings of employees listed in the nomination application are the same as what the employee is earning. The employment conditions provided to this employee are, moreover, not to be less favourable than those of an equivalent Australian worker. 

Sponsors are only obligated to do this if the annual earnings of the employee are less than AUD 250,000 and unless otherwise stated in the labour agreement. 

You are committed to this obligation from the day your employee is granted their TSS visa or your nominated employee already holds a TSS or subclass 457 visa. However, this obligation ends once the nominated employee stops working for you or we grant your employee a visa that is not a TSS,, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa.

Ethical Recruitment Practices

As a sponsor, you cannot engage in discriminatory recruitment practices that would adversely affect Australian citizens, or any other person, based on their visa or citizenship status. Any questions or concerns should be directed to other relevant agencies, such as the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Maintain & Keep Appropriate Records

It is important that all records to prove your compliance with your sponsorship obligations are kept in a reproducible format and capable of verification. Beyond the basic records of application and sponsorship documentation, these records should include written requests for payments of travel costs for the employee when received, what, how and when such a payment was made. 

These records should include any communications or reports made, tasks performed by the employee, earrings paid, money applied, non-monetary benefits, the terms and conditions of an equivalent worker, the written contract of employment and documentation to prove complement with the training obligations.

These records and information must be provided if requested by the departmental officer as required by law and as obligated by a sponsor. These records will be used to determine if a sponsorship obligation is being met. 

You are obligated to this recording process from the day we approve your sponsorship or your nominee starts work. The process ends, however, once your sponsorship ends or when the sponsored visa holder is no longer employed.

Assume All Costs

It is your obligation to assume and pay all of the associated costs with sponsorship, including nomination charges and migration agent costs. These costs will also include the associated recruitment process including; recruitment agent fees, migration agent fees and other recruiting costs. You cannot transfer or charge these costs to another individual, such as a sponsored visa holder and their sponsored family members. 

This obligation begins on the day your standard business sponsorship or agreement starts. It ends two years after your sponsorship ends or you are no longer employing the sponsored visa holder. 

Pay Travel Costs

As a sponsor, you are responsible for the costs associated with the sponsored employee and their family members leaving Australia. The costs considered reasonable for the sponsor are the cost of travel from Australia to the country with an economy class air travel or a reasonable equivalent.

These travel cost requests must be made by the sponsored employee or the Department of Home Affairs on behalf of the sponsored employee. This payment must be made within 30 days of this request. You are obligated to make this payment only once and not again after the employee returns to Australia holding the visa they have been sponsored for. 

This obligation starts from the day we grant the visa and approve your nomination if the nominee holds a TSS visa on the day. It ends when the employee’s nomination has been approved, or an employee is granted a visa that is not a TSS, bridging, criminal justice or enforcement visa or your employee leaves Australia and their TS is no longer in effect.

Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen

If your sponsored employee or any of their sponsored family members becomes an unlawful non-citizen, you might have to repay the costs incurred by the Commonwealth in relocating and/or removing them from Australia.

This obligation starts on the day your sponsored employee or family member becomes an unlawful non-citizen and ends five years after they leave Australia. 

Cooperate with inspectors

As determined by the Migration Act 1958, you will be appointed inspectors to investigate whether: your sponsorship obligations are being performed, you have not hired an illegal worker or other circumstances requiring administrative action. 

As a sponsor, you are obligated to cooperate with inspectors. This involves providing access to your premise and documents within a requested time frame and complying with any other requests made. This could include providing information with other Commonwealth, state and territory government agencies, including the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Jobs and Small Business, and the Australian Taxation Office.

This sponsorship obligation starts once the sponsorship has been approved or the visa applicant starts work in the position and it ends five years after the day the sponsorship ends or the applicant stops working for you. 

Sanctions: consequences of failure to comply

If you fail to comply with your obligations as a sponsor, various legal, administrative & civil sanctions may apply. 

Administrative

If you have failed to meet your sponsorship obligations, the response from Home Affairs will be to bar you from sponsoring additional visa holders for a specified period. This will involve not approving your application for sponsorship for another visa as well as cancelling any existing sponsorships. 

Home Affairs will ask you to enter an enforceable undertaking whereby you are required to promise in writing that you will complete certain actions to demonstrate failures have been rectified and will not take place again. 

Civil

It is likely that home affairs will issue an infringement notice requiring payment. This will vary for individuals and corporate bodies. Techvisa can help advise you throughout the sponsorship process to eliminate the risk of infringement notices or administrative penalties. 

The auctions taken in response to sponsorship failures will depend on whether you are a standard business sponsor or have a work agreement.

Get in touch!

Techvisa can provide personalised migration services to support employers in understanding the undertaking of sponsorship. If you have any questions on visa sponsorship, please get in touch with the Techvisa team.

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