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Changes to Accredited Sponsorship Arrangements from 1 July 2017 


Written By Will Aldous | Thu, Jul 13, 2017 Will Aldous

Along with other changes announced on the 1st July 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) has announced new criteria that a Standard Business Sponsor (SBS) needs to meet to become an 'Accredited Sponsor'.

Pending and new sponsorship applications will be assessed against the new set of expanded criteria as of 1 July 2017. 

Why are these changes being made? 

Previously accredited sponsorship was generally only available to high volume users of the 457 programme. These changes are designed to ensure that a larger number of lower risk sponsors have access to accreditation and the priority allocation and streamlined processing arrangements that this entails.

The DIBP believes that this will reduce subclass 457 processing times overall, whilst at the same time maintaining the Government's focus on Australian workers receiving priority where skills shortages exist. 

What are the new accreditation characteristics?

The new accreditation characteristics are divided into four distinct categories. 

• Category 1: Relates to SBSs that are Australian government agencies (Commonwealth, State & Territory) 
• Category 2: Relates to SBSs that are approved Australian Trusted Traders 
• Category 3: Relates to SBSs categorised as "Low risk" with low volume usage of 457 visas and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%) 
• Category 4: Relates to SBSs categorised as "Low risk" with high volume usage of 457 visas and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%). 

To qualify for accredited status, a sponsor must still meet all the requirements for SBS and demonstrate that they meet the additional characteristics in one of the four categories above. 

457 Sponsorship Accreditation benefits 

The benefits that Accredited Sponsors receive remain unchanged. These benefits are as follows: 

• Sponsorship is valid for six years 
• Priority allocation of all nomination and visa applications 
• Additional streamlined processing of certain low-risk nominations. 

Existing Accredited Sponsors will not be impacted by the 1 July 2017 changes. They will continue to access the priority allocation and streamlined processing arrangements that they currently receive. 

In order to qualify for Accredited Status, a sponsor must meet all the requirements for Standard Business Sponsorship and meet all of the following additional characteristics of one of the four categories

Category Required Characteristics
Category 1

Commonwealth, State & Territory Government Agencies

• Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia

Category 2 

Australian Trusted 
Traders

• Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia 
• Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (NES) (unless their occupation is exempt from this requirement)** 
• Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business** 

Category 3 

Low volume usage of 457 visas & high percentage of Australian workers (at least 90%)

• Be a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD 4 million annual turnover for the last 2 years 
• Have been an active 457 sponsor for at least 2 years 
• Have no adverse monitoring outcomes 
• Have sponsored at least 1 primary 457 visa holder in the 2 years prior to the application for accreditation 
• Have a non-approval rate of <3% for the previous two years 
• Have Australian workers comprising at least 90% of their workforce in Australia; Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements required under the NES (unless their occupation is exempt from NES requirements)** 
• Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an EA or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business** 
• Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the DIBP** 
• Have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the DIBP**

Category 4

High volume usage of 457 visas and medium percentage of Australian workers
(at least 75%)

Characteristics are the same as Category 3 with two differences: 
• Have sponsored at least 10 primary 457 visa holders in the 2 years prior to the application for accreditation 
• Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia 

 

** Additional evidentiary documentation must be provided against these characteristics.

Additional Evidentiary Documentation 

Sponsors who wish to meet the requirements outlined above for Category 2, 3 or 4 must provide the following additional evidentiary documentation together with their sponsorship applications: 

Requirement Evidentiary Documents

Engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements as required under the NES

Copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application (Cat. 2, 3 or 4) 

All Australian employees are paid in accordance with an EA or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business 

A copy of the EA or internal salary table must be attached to the application in addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the salary rates reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their business (e.g. Modern awards, salary surveys, etc.) (Cat. 2, 3 or 4) 

Have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the DIBP 

Evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (e.g. P&L statements, BAS statements, annual reports, etc.) (Cat. 3 or 4) 

Have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the DIBP

If the business is a company, an extract from ASIC must be attached to the application (Cat. 3 or 4) 

 

How to Apply for Accreditation

From 1 July 2017, existing Standard Business Sponsors can apply for accredited status by lodging a sponsorship variation application using form 1196b (internet) and asking to be considered for sponsorship accreditation. Additional evidentiary documentation must be provided at the time of application.  TSS Immigration is able to assist clients in preparing an application to obtain accredited sponsorship status.

Businesses that are not existing SBS holders at 1 July 2017 must apply to become a sponsor before they can be assessed for accredited status.

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