The Migration Amendment (Charging for a Migration Outcome) Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 30 November 2016. The Bill that was approved by the Federal Parliament is available here.
The legislation introduces a new criminal and civil penalty regime that will make it unlawful for a person to ask for, receive, offer or provide payment or other benefits in return for a range of sponsorship-related events. A “sponsorship-related event” means entering into a sponsorship arrangement or making a nomination in relation to certain sponsored visas, or employing or engaging a person in work or an activity on a sponsored visa.
The Bill also allows visa cancellation to be considered where the visa holder has engaged ‘payment for visa’ conduct.
It will be a criminal offence for a sponsor or other third party to ask for or receive a benefit from a sponsorship-related event and will be punishable by a maximum of 2 years imprisonment or a fine equivalent to $64,000 for an individual person or $324,000 for a body corporate.
Civil penalties applicable to the sponsor, visa applicant or other third party who received or provides or offers a benefit related to a sponsorship related offence will equate to $43,200 for an individual person or $216.000 for a body corporate.
A discretionary power to consider cancellation of visas where any person who engages in this conduct will also be introduced.
This legislation comes into effect today when it received Royal Assent.