Virginia, US
It has been a busy few weeks for the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) as it continues to conduct immigration compliance inspections, most recently in relation to NSW based 457 sponsors. This follows previous inspections in August / September of this year which appeared to be targeted at sponsors in the mining, oil & gas and construction industries located in Brisbane. At present, the Sydney campaign appears to be across employers from all industries and may be part of a broader national initiative. 
 
When exercising their immigration powers, FWO inspectors are primarily looking for proof of compliance with three aspects of 457 visa requirements, reporting any areas of concern directly to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) for further investigation. Specifically, inspectors are checking that 457 visa holders are: 
 
  • Being paid at least the guaranteed earnings approved in the 457 nomination application; 
  • Working in the ANZSCO occupation for which they were nominated; and 
  • That the employer cooperates with inspectors. 
 
Client feedback so far suggests information being requested relates to a sample of 457 visa holders and may include the production of payslips, a description of work duties and information regarding terms and conditions of employment. In some circumstances, the inspector may also request to speak to 457 visa holders to verify the role they are performing and remuneration paid. During the course of the inspection, if employment law concerns arise then this may lead to inspectors also exercising their powers under the Fair Work legislation.
 
Given the FWO’s recent activity, it may now be timely for your business to review its own compliance with sponsorship obligations. Fragomen’s dedicated Advisory, Compliance and Government Relations Practice can assist by guiding you through a step-by-step internal audit which many of our clients find is a valuable compliance management exercise and provides peace of mind prior to an inspection occurring. If your business is approached by DIBP or the FWO, please contact Fragomen at auadvisory@fragomen.com and we would be happy to assist.
 
 
MARN 0317173