Virginia, US
With so much focus on the management of 457 visa workers, the compliance risks associated with business visitors are often overlooked. Getting your house in order ensures you have everything in place when unexpected visitors drop in.
 
Stealth travellers

It’s a familiar scenario to many mobility professionals: a line manager in your business needs an overseas colleague to travel to Australia urgently. Perhaps they are needed for a series of client meetings, to attend a training session, or to collaborate on a project for a month or two. They look at the Department of Immigration website and find the quickest and easiest visa. Before you know it, an unexpected visitor is reporting in to your workplace every day, but the visa they hold has no work rights or, even worse, has expired.
 
Unlike sponsored programmes, such as the subclass 457 visa, business visitor and short-term work visas are difficult for HR and mobility teams to manage because the usual relocation approval processes for other, more formal programmes are easily bypassed. Yet it is critical that a business is effectively managing the immigration status and work rights of everyone in its workplace. Australian law makes employers responsible for ensuring that all workers have appropriate work rights. Employers who allow a person to work in breach of their visa conditions are liable to significant financial and criminal penalties, and may be barred from using visa programs in the future.
 
Keeping your house in order involves establishing robust systems and processes to ensure that “stealth” visitors are not presenting a compliance risk to your business.
 
Expanded Short-Term Work Visa: both an opportunity and a risk
In November 2014, the initial entry and maximum stay period of the Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) subclass 400 visa was extended from three to six months. The expansion of this subclass program facilitates a more adaptable approach to business travel and short-term work assignments where a permanent position in Australia is not required.
 
An individual needing to come to Australia for short-term work may be eligible for a subclass 400 visa if their proposed work activities:
 
  • Are for a clearly defined period of up to six months, and not part of an ongoing role in the Australian business;
  • Involve highly specialised skills in a managerial, professional or trade role that are specialised and/or proprietary in nature and cannot easily be sourced from the Australian labour market; and will not adversely affect employment and training opportunities for Australians.
 
However, the longer stay period also increases compliance risk in terms of the length of exposure to potential liabilities; the inappropriate use of the subclass 400 visa where a 457 visa may be more suited to the assignment; and the scrutiny your business may receive from immigration authorities if hosting a significant subclass 400 visa population.
 
 
MARN 0957684 / MARN 0849574