Shavini Kumarawansa, Advisor and Rupert Timms, Senior Associate, Melbourne
As the global economic downturn continues, a number of Australian employers that sponsor employees for permanent residence under the Employer Nominations Scheme (ENS) have recently announced redundancies. If your business is one of these, do not be surprised to receive a ‘please explain’ letter from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
Effect on permanent residence visas
DIAC is writing to certain employers to ask them to demonstrate that they genuinely need to employ the person they are sponsoring for permanent residence. Employers are being asked to provide the following evidence:
a breakdown of their organisational structure to indicate how the nominated position ‘fits into’ the business, including an explanation of how the position differs or is distinct from those positions made redundant; and
an outline of the business outputs (i.e. the goods or services ‘produced’ by the business) and how the nominated position contributes to maintaining or enhancing the volume and/or quality of these outputs (which may include detailed and quantifiable plans for the future); and
a submission detailing which roles and business areas will be impacted by the redundancies.
If the applicant has worked in the nominated position for the employer for an extended period, this can be put forward as strong evidence of the genuine need for the position. However, these DIAC requests must be taken very seriously, as failure to properly demonstrate a genuine need for employment could result in refusal of the permanent residence application.
Effect on 457 visas
The 457 visa legislation also has provisions that could enable DIAC to make similar requests when assessing 457 visa applications. If there is an upward trend in the rate of redundancies in Australia, DIAC could introduce such requests into the 457 visa program.
Companies with foreign workers need to be aware of this development and be prepared to respond to any such requests from DIAC Officers.