Sponsoring an employee, can my business sponsor a foreign worker?

Are you looking to hire a worker from overseas to work temporarily or even permanently for your business? A business or even a sole trader can sponsor a foreign worker to work in Australia for up to 4 years on a visa. This would depend on the goals of the company as well as the eligibility of the applicant.

A business may be eligible to sponsor an applicant on an employer sponsored visa, for example the subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (TSS). The TSS 482 visa has 3 streams. If the applicant’s occupation is on the Medium and Long- Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) or Regional Occupation List (ROL), the applicant can get a visa for up to 4 years (which is renewable). However, if the applicant’s occupation is on the Short- Term List, the applicant can only get a visa for up to 2 years (renewable).

Now, let’s look at the criteria to nominate a skilled worker.

Who can nominate a skilled worker?

You can nominate/sponsor a skilled worker for this visa if:

  • you actively and lawfully operate a business in Australia
  • you have a genuine need for a paid employee to fill a skilled position
  • you offer a skilled position in the applicant’s field that is full time and ongoing for the duration of the visa
  • you pay a market salary rate
  • you comply with Australian immigration and workplace relations laws
  • there is no adverse information known about your business or any person associated with your business

Business Structures and sponsoring a foreign worker 

You can apply for Subclass 482 Sponsorship and sponsor an overseas worker under the following entitities (business structures):

  1. sole trader;
  2. partnership;
  3. proprietary company;
  4. public company;
  5. government department;
  6. statutory authority;
  7. trust (approval will be under trustee’s name and not the trust)
  8. not-for-profit organisation; and
  9. educational institutions.
  10. Overseas Business Sponsor (OBS)

What do you have to do now? – Step by Step Process to sponsor a foreign worker

  1. Apply for standard business sponsorship.
  2. Nominate a worker.
  3. Once you have the standard business sponsorship and the nomination lodged or approved by the Department of Home Affairs, the worker (visa applicant) can apply for the TSS visa.
Stage 1: Sponsorship (business- optional for 186 visa and required for TSS visa)

The first stage of the application process requires the business to be approved by the Department of Immigration as a sponsoring employer. The business would be required to provide evidence of lawful operation and financial details. Sponsorships are normally valid for a period of five years.

You need to show documents like:

  • Australian Business Number (ABN) Registration Certificate
  • Financial report including profit and loss statement and balance sheet for the last financial year
  • Projected financial report including profit and loss statement and balance sheet
  • Business Activity Statements (BAS) for the last 4 quarters
  • Organisational chart of the business with reporting lines and positions held
  • Advertisements/Promotional information
  • Evidence of any new sales or contracts won
  • Business expansion plans
  • Lease agreement
Stage 2: Nomination (business)

The second part of the application process is the nomination application. This is regarding the position to be filled, salary details, efforts to hire Australian workers and the ‘genuineness’ of the position. The basic requirements for the nomination are:

  • The occupation must appear on a particular government list. This will determine the potential length of the visa, as well as the government fees to be paid. The available lists can be seen here.
  • Australian Market Salary Rate (AMSR). The business must demonstrate how the salary being offered is at least equivalent to what an Australian does/would earn for working in the same position. Once we know if there are equivalent staff we send you a draft letter for action. You must provide terms and conditions of employment that are no less favourable than those that would apply to an Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident doing equivalent work in the same workplace. You must prove that you will pay your skilled worker the market salary rate.
  • Employment contract signed by both parties.
  • Position description
  • Genuine position statement on letterhead that explains the purpose of role and the need for the position
  • Pay the Skilling Australians Fund Levy (SAF).
  • Labour market testing:There must be a genuine need to hire a worker from overseas. You are required to show that you cannot find an Australian citizen or permanent resident with the skills and experience needed to fill the job position. To show the Department of Home Affairs that you cannot find a local worker, you must conduct labour market testing. You must advertise the role on 3 national reaching mediums before offering the position to the overseas applicant (unless an international trade obligation applies). The 3 mediums may be:
    • JobActive website (mandatory requirement)
    • prominent or professional recruitment website with national reach
    • industry-specific recruitment websites relevant to the occupation that are in significant use by the industry
    • national print media
    • national radio with national reach

The advertisements should be done within 4 months immediately before lodging a nomination application.

Stage 3: Visa Application (applicant)

The visa applicant must meet requirements relating to:

The details of what is required will be situation-specific and advice is provided on a case by case basis. Please see fees involved here.

Different Visa Types

TSS visa is one of the more common visas to bring a foreign worker to Australia. However, there are other work visas. They also follow a similar process. Other work visa options include:

Sometimes a common pathway for applicants is to apply for the TSS visa. If the applicant’s occupation is in the MLTSSL, the applicant can subsequently apply for a subclass 186 visa via the subclass 186 Temporary Residence Transition Stream. Usually, the applicant has to work 3 years on the TSS visa before applying for the permanent visa.

Subclass 494 visa is for regional employers. The visa aims to address labour shortages in regional areas. It is a work visa with a permanent residency pathway. Applicants can apply for permanent residence (subclass 191) after 3 years of holding the subclass 494 visa.

Above are the pathways on how you can sponsor a foreign worker to work in Australia.

188A (Business and Innovation visa holders) must employ Australian citizens or permanent residents and cannot sponsor (nominate) overseas workers to satisfy their 888 (Permanent) visa critera.

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