Dec 11 2018

Publication of Sanctioned Employers, Expanded Data Access Effective December 13


The situation

The Australian government has announced that the amendments allowing the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) to publish information on employers who have been sanctioned for breaching sponsorship obligations on or after March 18, 2015 will go into effect December 13, 2018. The amendments also expand the Department’s ability to access the data of many foreign nationals through the collection of tax file numbers.

A closer look

  • Publishable information. Among the information that the Department can publish regarding employers who breach sponsorship obligations includes the obligation that was breached, the sanction imposed and details of the business (e.g. legal and trading name).
    • Impact. Current and former sponsors will be impacted by the new disclosure provisions where they have been subject to any of the following actions on or after March 18, 2015:
      • Sponsorship bar;
      • Cancellation of sponsorship;
      • Civil penalty order;
      • Enforceable undertaking;
      • Infringement notice; and/or
      • Forfeiture of security deposit.

The disclosure provisions will not impact sponsors that have been subject to counselling or warning notices.

  • Tax file number collection. The amendments also expand the Department’s ability to match and access the data of temporary and permanent skilled visa applicants and current and former temporary and permanent skilled visa holders through the collection of tax file numbers held by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). 
    • Impact. This will enable the Department to verify that sponsored visa holders are being paid the salary approved during the nomination process and will allow the Department to take appropriate action where the salary has been reduced. The provisions will also allow the Department to better identify visa holders who have breached their visa conditions (e.g. where they are working for more than one employer) and to identify visa holders who have changed their identity or engaged in fraudulent identity practices.

How Fragomen can help

Given the Department’s heightened focus on compliance and enforcement, the new sanction disclosure provisions and enhanced data matching present significant financial and reputational risk for sponsors that are found to be noncompliant with their sponsorship obligations. Fragomen's Compliance and Advisory Practice can assist with a wide range of services including compliance 'health checks' and wider reviews to establish or improve internal immigration risk management systems. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected] or [email protected].

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