I have been employing Peter, an Irish lad, on a working holiday visa, for three months. He has asked me to sponsor him so he can keep working here. I’m keen to keep him, but my business hasn’t sponsored anyone before. We are a small business with four employees so I’m not sure I can be a sponsor? Can I sponsor, and what do I need to do to keep Peter?
Employers’ top two options to retain overseas staff are temporary sponsorship via Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS); and nomination for permanent residence via the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS).
Temporary sponsorship visas are becoming increasingly popular with a 39 per cent increase in applications this year and more than 70,000 people currently on 457 visas.
There are three parts to the process.
Firstly, the employer applies to be an approved sponsor. Secondly, the employer applies for the position to be approved.
Thirdly — the final step — the employee applies for the 457 visa.
Approved sponsors need to agree to a number of obligations that are aligned to Australian Fair Work laws.
As a first step in deciding to proceed, employers should be comfortable with the obligation commitments. See them at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs/obligations-sponsor
To approve a sponsoring employer, Immigration look to see that the business has a commitment to hiring local labour and the financial capacity to pay for a sponsored employee.
The size of a business is not in itself a deciding factor. However, businesses need to show a track record of training their Australian staff. So to meet the training requirements a business is likely to need at least one Australian resident employee who is receiving training.
The training benchmark immigration use means showing that your business has spent the equivalent of at least 1 per cent of payroll on training in the 12 months before applying.
For a new business, less than 12 months old, a detailed training plan can be used. Training should continue during the sponsored visa period.
Employers then need to look at the position. The duties of the job must align with the duties of an occupation on the Government’s eligible list for 457 sponsorship; available at http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/skilled-workers/sbs/457occupations.pdf
The salary or wage offered must be at market salary rate. This means paying the overseas employee at least the same rate you pay Australian staff in the same position. Or where no Australian is doing the same job, paying a market rate in the area the business is located.
To be approved, the base rate or guaranteed earnings must be above $47,480 excluding bonus payments or superannuation.
For the final part, the employee needs to have the appropriate level of work experience or qualifications to match the job. This will vary depending on the job offered, usually at least three or five years relevant work history; or a trade or diploma/degree qualification
If you can tick all these boxes, apply as soon as is practical, although Immigration is working on improving time frames, processing can take two months or more.
Consider seeking a full assessment from a registered migration agent before committing. Find an agent at http://mia.org.au/