The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced a number of reforms to the subclass 457 program. These reforms are aimed at strengthening the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s capacity to identify and prevent employer practices that are not in keeping with the criteria of the subclass 457 program.
The measures being brought forward include:
- Strengthening the requirement for sponsors to train Australians by introducing an ongoing and binding requirement to meet training requirements for the duration of their approved sponsorship. (Here’s where Upskilled can assist, read more)
- Introducing a requirement for the nominated position to be a genuine vacancy within the business. Discretion will be introduced to allow the department to consider further information if there are concerns the position may have been created specifically to secure a 457 visa without consideration of whether there is an appropriately skilled Australian available.
- Introducing a provision to allow the department to take action against sponsors who engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.
- Strengthening the market salary rate requirements to provide discretion to consider comparative salary data for the local labour market when deciding whether a nominated position provides equitable remuneration arrangements. Additionally, the market salary exemption threshold will be increased from $180 000 to $250 000 to ensure that higher paid salary workers are not able to be undercut through the employment of overseas labour at a cheaper rate.
- Strengthening the English language requirements by removing exemptions for applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds who are nominated with a salary less than $92 000 and requiring applicants who were exempt from the English language requirement when granted a visa to continue to be exempt from, or to meet the English language requirement when changing employers. Additionally, the definition of English language will be better aligned with the permanent Employer Sponsored.
- Clarifying that 457 workers may not be engaged in unintended employment relationships by requiring workers to be engaged on an employment contract (as opposed to a business contract for services) and not on-hired to an unrelated entity unless they are sponsored under a labour agreement, or in an exempt occupation.
- Strengthening the existing obligation regarding recovery of costs to ensure that sponsors are solely responsible for certain costs.
There are further announcements to come and the detail is yet to be finalised on many of the policy updates, so we encourage businesses to contact Upskilled regarding your 457 Visa Training Benchmark requirements and act now. For more info on the 457 Visa Training Benchmark click here.