What employers think they know but don’t – common misconceptions about sponsoring overseas workers

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At National Visas, we talk to employers from all over Australia (and overseas) who are interested in sponsoring people to work in Australia. We commonly come across preconceived notions of what employers have “heard” about the requirements for employer sponsored visas. More often than not, these assumptions are outdated, misinterpreted or plain incorrect.

Unfortunately, these misconceptions spread like wildfire, meaning many employers who want to sponsor employees incorrectly believe they are ineligible. The purpose of this article is to nip those myths in the bud so you can properly assess whether employer sponsorship is something your business may be eligible to explore.

Common misconceptions about the ability to sponsor overseas workers

Common misconceptions about the ability to sponsor overseas workers

Myth #1: New businesses can’t sponsor – FALSE

Although businesses that have been actively operating for less than 6 months cannot sponsor workers for the permanent employer sponsored visas, there is no such limitation on the temporary (457) visa.

Start-up businesses can meet requirements for approval as a 457 Sponsor (and in fact are subject to reduced training requirements).

Myth #2: Only corporations or businesses with high turnover/profitability can sponsor – FALSE

Virtually all businesses with an ABN or ARBN (including sole proprietors, trustees, partnerships and franchisees) are eligible to sponsor. This includes businesses that may not have a high turnover or large profits.

Profitability is considered for permanent employer sponsored visas, as there is a reasonable expectation that the business is able to afford the salary. However, this is not the same for 457s. There is no profitability requirement for 457 visas.

Myth #3: Only very few, extremely highly skilled occupations are available for sponsorship – FALSE

The list of occupations available for employer sponsorship is extensive and covers a broad range of industries and levels. Some lesser known (but still eligible) roles come from trades, customer service, sales, administration, creative arts, welfare and farming.

For “regional” sponsorship, the occupations list is even broader and even includes personal assistants, and secretaries.

For the full list of occupations available for Regional and non-Regional sponsorship, see RSMS Visa Occupations and 457 Visa Occupations.

Myth #4: You are obligated to keep the employee until their visa expires – FALSE

You are not required to keep a sponsored employee beyond any of the standard contractual obligations you have with any other employee.

Terminating the employment contract of a 457 temporary sponsored employee will trigger cancellation proceedings for their visa, but you can do this any time, as long as you are doing so in line with your standard employment contract obligations (like you would any Australian employee).

As for employees sponsored under a permanent employer sponsored scheme, once their visas are granted they are essentially permanent residents of Australia. You do need to be a little more careful with permanent visas because you are signing declarations as part of the application regarding the intended length of employment.

Myth #5: Once an employer sponsored visa has been approved, the visa holder can run off and leave you in the lurch – MOSTLY FALSE

457 visa holders are subject to a condition on their visa that ties them to your business. They are essentially not permitted to work for anyone else in Australia, or their visa will be subject to cancellation.

These ties can be broken if a new sponsor is approved to take over or if they are granted a different type of visa. However, this is not easily done, and if they do stop working for you before they sort this out, they face visa cancellation.

Although the same level of commitment is not there for permanent employer sponsored visas, there are protections put in place for “regional” employers which are aimed at preventing your employee resigning any less than 2 years after visa grant.

Myth #6: It’s not possible to sponsor someone directly for permanent residence – FALSE

Although it is common for businesses to offer temporary sponsorship first before going for the permanent visa, it is often possible to sponsor the applicant for permanent residence upfront.

The skill requirement is generally stricter for “direct to permanent”, but I note that some of the requirements for a permanent employer sponsor are more relaxed than for a 457 sponsor, especially if you are “regional”.

Want to know more?

National Visas values our employer clients, and as such we offer a free no obligation initial phone consultation, available exclusively to employers. On these calls, we discuss the basic sponsorship requirements and answer any questions you have about sponsoring workers.

Register your business details and one of our professional registered migration agents will call you during business hours to discuss your situation.

Ivanna Cheng
Migration Advisor
MARN: 1066462

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Ivanna Cheng

Migration Advisor at National Visas
Ivanna Cheng has been an Australian Registered Migration Agent for over 3 years. Her major area of expertise is Employer Sponsored Visas but she also has ample experience with Partner Visas, General Skilled Migration, Visitor Visas and Student Visas.

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