New Accreditation Program to Offer Priority Processing for Subclass 457 Applications from 7 November

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The use of 457 visas is increasing, with 54,360 granted in 2010-11. This represents a 38 percent increase from the prior year. Starting November 7, 2011, qualifying employers who have a positive history in their dealings with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and an excellent record of compliance with workplace and migration laws may be able to apply for a new accredited sponsor status that will provide priority processing for subclass 457 nominations and visa applications.

With average processing times for 457 visa applications currently sitting at 22 days, the aim is that measures such as this will reduce processing times to within 10 days. 

Eligible businesses will be able to apply to DIAC for accreditation by the same methods as applying to become a standard business sponsor. If approved, the accreditation will remain valid for the duration of the sponsorship agreement, typically six years.

Accredited status is open to government agencies, and to publicly-listed companies and private companies with a minimum of AUD 4 million in turnover per year in the three years prior to applying. Employer applicants will be required to demonstrate several characteristics above the standard sponsorship requirements. According to DIAC’s announcement sponsors must demonstrate:

 

  • A workforce that is made up of at least 75 percent Australian workers, and a demonstrated commitment to maintain this level;
  • Have been an active Subclass 457 visa sponsor for the past three years (with a break of no more than six months, which was not due to any sanction);
  • Have no adverse information known about them based on DIAC and Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) monitoring, including formal warnings and sanctions;
  • Have an approval rate of at least 97 percent for subclass 457 applications submitted in the three years prior to applying;
  • Have at least 30 primary subclass 457 visa holders granted in the previous 12 months;
  • Submission of a high rate of decision-ready applications in the two years prior to applying.

Accredited sponsors must continue to meet each of these additional requirements for the duration of their sponsorship agreement. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of their accredited status and the termination of their access to priority processing.

Fragomen is able to explore eligibility and provide assistance to companies who wish to seek Accredited Sponsor status.

 

 

Ron Kessels
 
Special Counsel
 
+61 2 8224 8528  
rkessels@fragomen.com  
www.fragomen.com  

 

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