New Sponsorship Accreditation Rules and Obligations

Some welcome changes to the Accredited Sponsorship rules will mean more businesses can benefit from streamlined visa processing, quicker times and other benefits. This will accommodate certain low-risk sponsors who only use the 457 program occasionally.

 What are the new accreditation characteristics?

  • Category 1: Standard Business Sponsors that are Australian government agencies (Commonwealth, state and territory)
  • Category 2: Standard Business Sponsors that are approved Australian Trusted Traders
  • Category 3: Standard Business Sponsors categorised as “Low risk” with low volume usage (of the 457 programme) and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%)
  • Category 4: Standard Business Sponsors categorised as “Low risk” with high volume usage (of the 457 programme) and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%).

In order to qualify for Accredited Status, a sponsor must meet all the requirements for Standard Business Sponsorship and meet all of the following additional characteristics of one of the four categories below:

Category Required Characteristics
Category 1
  • At least 75% of their workforce in Australia are Australian workers
Category 2
  • At least 75% of their workforce in Australia are Australian workers
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement)**
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business**
Category 3
  • Be a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD 4 million annual turnover for the last two years
  • Have been an active 457 sponsor for at least two years
  • Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  • Have sponsored at least one (1) primary 457 visa holder in the two years prior to the application for accreditation
  • Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous two years
  • Have Australian workers comprising at least 90% of their workforce in Australia;
  • Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement)**
  • Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business**
  • Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department**
  • Have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the department**
Category 4 Characteristics are the same as Category 3 with two differences:

  • Have sponsored at least ten (10) primary 457 visa holders in the two years prior to the application for accreditation
  • Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia

** Additional evidentiary documentation must be provided against these characteristics.

 Additional documentation for accreditation

Sponsors who wish to meet the requirements for accredited sponsorship outlined above for Category 2, 3 or 4 must provide the following additional documentation together with their sponsorship applications:

Requirement Additional Documents
Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement) Copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application (Category 2, 3 or 4)
Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business Copy of the Enterprise Agreement or internal salary table must be attached to the application in addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the salary rates contained in the document reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their business (e.g. Awards, remuneration surveys, job advertisements, the Australian Government’s Job Outlook) (Category 2, 3 or 4)
Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department Evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (e.g. profit/loss statements, Business Activity Statements, annual reports) (Category 3 or 4)
Have provided details of all Principals /Directors of their business to the department If the business is a company, a current/historical extract from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission must be attached to the application (Category 3 or 4)

 What are the benefits for 457 Accredited Sponsors?

  • Sponsorship is valid for six years
  • Priority allocation of all nomination and visa applications
  • Additional streamlined processing of certain low-risk nominations.
  • Existing Accredited Sponsors will not be impacted by the 1 July 2017 changes. They will continue to access the priority allocation and streamlined processing arrangements that they currently receive.

 How do I apply for accreditation?

From 1 July 2017, existing Standard Business Sponsors can apply for accredited sponsorship status by lodging a sponsorship variation application using form 1196 and asking to be considered for sponsorship accreditation. Additional evidentiary documentation must be provided at the time of application.

Businesses that are not existing Standard Business Sponsors at 1 July 2017 must apply to become a sponsor before they can be assessed for accredited status. Applicants will be asked if they wish to become Accredited Sponsors. If an applicant answers ‘Yes’, the application will be assessed against the relevant accreditation characteristics.

Next Steps

Employers that meet the turnover and Australian workforce profile criteria are encouraged to apply for sponsorship accreditation to enjoy the benefits of faster visa processing.

Contact our specialist immigration team for assistance to determine if your company is eligible to implement an accredited sponsor program, on (02) 8896 6056 or info@themigrationagency.com.au.

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