From 1 July 2013 there will be changes to the Temporary Work (Skilled) (subclass 457) program – are you ready?
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (IMMI) recently flagged a number of changes to the subclass 457 program, and these changes are due to take effect from 1 July 2013.
One of the foremost changes includes extending powers to the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to monitor key aspects of employers’ compliance with 457 visa conditions, namely that:
- 457 visa holders are being paid at the market rates specified in their approved visa, and
- The job being done by the 457 visa holder matches the job title and description approved in their visa.
According to the department, the changes are necessary in order to safeguard jobs for Australians first and foreigners second. The aim of the 457 visas is to sponsor people to fill genuine skills gaps, and IMMI stated that for employers and workers alike who are using the program appropriately, there will be no adverse effects. “There should be no adverse effects on existing visa holders if they are already doing the right thing. The 457 visa is a temporary visa, intended for filling short to medium term skill shortages, in a quick, flexible way to meet business needs,” the department stated. The vast majority of 457 visa applicants who are genuine will not be affected by the changes, but in some circumstances applicants whose applications are processed after 1 July 2013 may be required to provide further evidence to demonstrate their claims for a 457 visa.
In terms of new sponsorship agreements entered into after 1 July, employers will have to demonstrate a genuine need for skilled workers from overseas, and in such cases they will still be able to sponsor people. Employers will have to show genuine attempts have been made to open job opportunities up to Australians.
IMMI said the 457 sponsorship requirements are there to ensure that if a suitably qualified and experienced Australian is readily available to work where needed, employers will look to them first.
In addition, if a suitably qualified Australian worker is readily available and acceptable, they are the more preferable option because it is comparatively less expensive to source a local worker.
There can be significant costs to the employer when sponsoring a 457 worker. These costs include:
- paying sponsorship and nomination fees
- costs of recruitment
- providing equal terms and conditions including paying market rates
- maintaining a financial commitment to training levels
- being liable for the cost of return travel to the person's country of origin.
- When these costs are factored in, it can be more expensive to employ an overseas worker than a local worker of the same skills and experience.
For a full list of the changes, click here.