Virginia, US
For many businesses operating in Australia, the end of March marks the end of the financial reporting year. It is also the end of the Australian Fringe Benefits Tax year.
1 April often brings changes to employment status and organisational structure which constitute ‘notifiable events’ under 457 sponsorship obligations. These include:
  • promotions or transfers of 457 visa holders into new roles (within Australia)
  • reassignment of a 457 visa holder to a new role outside Australia
  • changes to the remuneration packaging of 457 visa holders
  • changes to the ownership, directors or board members of the business
  • Under migration law, such changes are events that employers must notify to the Department of Immigration within 28 calendar days.
If your business does report to 31 March, it is also a good time to monitor your business’ compliance with training expenditure obligations based on overall payroll figures for the preceding financial year.
The employer sanctions provisions in the Migration Act provide heavy penalties in relation to breach of sponsorship obligations. For sanctions to be imposed, it is sufficient that the breach has occurred, however inadvertent – there is no requirement that the breach be intentional or reckless. Available sanctions include:
  • cancellation of approval as a sponsor, and the 457 visas approved on the auspices of that sponsorship;
  • a bar on applying for further approval as a sponsor; and/or
  • civil penalties of up to $10,200 for an individual, or $54,000 for a corporation.
In order to demonstrate to your business that HR is across corporate governance and risk management issues in the immigration space, we recommend that you:
  • screen any end of financial year staff changes for 457 visa holders.
  • report any notifiable events to the Department of Immigration within 10 working days (assuming these changes are effective on 1 April, the deadline for notification is 17 April).
  • conduct visa verification checks on your non-Australian staff population to confirm ongoing immigration status.
  • conduct a ‘dipstick test’ to confirm that your business is compliant with its sponsorship obligations.
Should you have any questions about your immigration compliance obligations, please contact us.