Changes to 457 visa program
1. Non-Discrimination Declaration for Employers
A new change to the Migration Regulations requires sponsors submitting subclass 457 visa applications to submit a declaration against discriminatory recruitment practices on the basis of immigration status or citizenship.
Standard business sponsors of non-citizens under 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) visas will be required to provide a written declaration that they will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.
“Discriminatory recruitment practice” is defined as:
“a recruitment practice that directly or indirectly discriminates against a person based on the immigration status or citizenship of the person, other than a practice engaged in to comply with a Commonwealth, State or Territory law”.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum to the legislation, the amendments are aimed at employers who “rely excessively or exclusively on Subclass 457 visa holders despite the availability of qualified Australian citizens or permanent residents”. Also, sponsors found not to be making a serious effort to find a local worker under the labour market testing provisions of the Migration Act may be investigated for failing to comply with this new sponsorship obligation.
What this means for Sponsors
Sponsors submitting subclass 457 visa applications on or after 19 April 2016 (or awaiting approval as of that date) must submit a declaration that they will not engage in recruitment practices that discriminate against potential employees on the grounds of immigration status or citizenship.
Sponsors can now be sanctioned for failing to comply with this requirement, including having their sponsorship cancelled and the imposition of civil fines.
The Migration Agency will contact clients who are in the process of applying for or renewing their sponsorship status to discuss submitting the new declaration.
2. English language testing provisions repealed
The amendments to the regulations also remove the requirement for 457 visa applicants to provide evidence of their proficiency in English when they have already been required to demonstrate this proficiency to obtain occupational registration or licensing in Australia.
The changes commence 19 April 2016.