Australia – Changes to Subclass 457 Accredited Sponsorship Scheme

Effective July 1, 2016 the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) will implement changes to the subclass 457 visa Accredited Sponsorship criteria.

Subclass 457 visa sponsors with a long history of good dealings with DIBP are eligible to apply to become Accredited Sponsors. The benefits to acquiring accredited status include longer periods of sponsorship approval (six years) and all nomination and visa applications receiving priority processing.

Changes to the qualifying criteria for Accredited Sponsorship include the following:

  • The employer must have been an active sponsor for at least three years (with no more than a six month break in the past 36 months), with no adverse information (based on monitoring, including formal warnings and sanctions);
  • The number of sponsored 457 primary visa holders has been lowered substantially to 10 in a 24 month period (previously 30 in a 12 month period);
  • At least 75% of the employer’s workforce must be Australian nationals;
  • All 457 visa holders to be employed under a direct written contract of employment that meets the National Employment Standards (as opposed to on-hire arrangements);
  • All Australian employees must be paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary banding structure that reflects current market salary rates.

Companies with current sponsorship approval that meet the new requirements will be eligible to lodge a sponsorship variation application seeking to be considered for sponsorship accreditation from July 1, 2016.  Companies that have already obtained accreditation will be eligible to apply for an upgrade to their sponsorship accreditation from July 1, 2016.

Nomination applications lodged by sponsors that are approved for accredited status after July 1, 2016 will be prioritized and further streamlined processing given to applications where the base salary of the nominee is equal to or higher than: 1. the Fair Work High Income Threshold ($136,700 at July 1, 2015) and the occupation is classified at ANZSCO Skill Level 1 or 2; or 2. $75,000 and the occupation is classified as ANZSCO Skill Level 1 or 2, with the exception of the following occupations:

  • Recruitment Consultant;
  • Sales Representative (Industrial Products);
  • Customer Service Manager;
  • Corporate General Manager;
  • Procurement Manager;
  • Quality Assurance Manager;
  • Sales and Marketing Manager;
  • Specialist Manager NEC;
  • Hotel/Motel Manager;
  • Contract Administrator;
  • Information and Organization Professionals NEC.

Existing sponsors who meet the new qualifying criteria for accreditation should lodge a sponsorship variation application seeking to be considered for sponsorship accreditation from July 1, 2016.  Companies that have already obtained accreditation should apply for an upgrade to their sponsorship accreditation from July 1, 2016 to gain the new benefits.