immigration parent visa

Accredited Sponsorship status is granted to those employers who meet specific criteria set out by the Department of Home Affairs (Department). Accredited Sponsors receive preferential treatment from the Department for a range of employer sponsored visas, including particularly the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Subclass 482 visa. This results in faster turn-around times and less scrutinised applications.

What does sponsorship accreditation grant an employer?

There are substantial benefits for Accredited Sponsorship including:

  1. sponsorship is valid for six years (instead of standard 5 years);
  2. sponsors will receive priority processing of all nomination and visa applications;
  3. sponsors, afforded Accredited Sponsorship status on or after 1 July 2016, also receive streamlined processing of certain low-risk nominations – with certain nomination provisions able to be satisfied on the basis of a certification on the nomination form, in conjunction with additional documentation and information collected “upfront” as part of the sponsorship application/accreditation approval process; and
  4. applicants who are nominated by an Accredited Sponsor, are no longer required to obtain police certificates from countries (other than Australia) provided they attach a written reference from their Accredited Sponsor confirming that they are of good character and have not been convicted of any criminal offences.

So, what are the requirements for Accredited Sponsorship?

To be approved for Accredited Sponsorship status, an employer must meet standard sponsorship requirements, as well as the additional characteristics for one of the four categories listed below at the time of application:

Category 1: Commonwealth State and territory Government Agencies

You must have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia

Category 2: Australian Trusted Traders

  1. Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their workforce in Australia
  2. Engage all TSS and/or subclass 457 visa 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)
  3. Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business

Category 3: Low volume usage and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 85%)

  1. Have Australian workers comprise at least 85% of their workforce in Australia
  2. Not be a sole trader or a partnership
  3. Have an annual turnover of at least AUD4M for the last two years
  4. Have been a standard business sponsor for at least one year
  5. Have nominations approved for at least one primary TSS or subclass 457 visa holder in the last year
  6. Have a nomination non-approval rate of less than 3% for the last year
  7. Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  8. Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates
  9. Engage all TSS and/or subclass 457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets NES where they apply

Category 4: High volume usage and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%)

  1. Have Australian workers comprise at least 75% of their workforce in Australia
  2. Not be a sole trader or a partnership
  3. Have an annual turnover of at least AUD4M for the last two years
  4. Have been a standard business sponsor for at least two years
  5. Have nominations approved for at least 10 TSS and/or subclass 457 visa holders in the last two years
  6. Have a nomination non-approval rate of less than 3% for the last two years
  7. Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  8. Have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates
  9. Engage all TSS and/or subclass 457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets NES where they apply

Category 5: Major investment in Australia

  1. Must have made a major investment in Australia (of at least AUD50M) which has directly generated Australian employment
  2. Not be a sole trader or partnership
  3. Have been a standard business sponsor for at least one year
  4. Have nominations approved for at least one primary TSS or Subclass 457 visa holder in the last year
  5. Have a nomination non-approval rate of less than 3% for the last two years
  6. Have no adverse monitoring outcomes
  7. Have all employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects the current market salary rates
  8. Engage all TSS and/or subclass 457 visa holders as employees under a written contract that meets NES where they apply

Are there any exceptions to the above criteria?

Yes. The intention of the sponsorship accreditation program is to acknowledge and reward low risk sponsors, so there is scope in policy for accreditation to be approved even where a business does not meet particular characteristics above.

Examples where this may apply include:

  • If the business is a start-up (particularly if recognised under the Global Talent Scheme) and is unable to meet the requirement to have been a standard business sponsor for at least 1 year
  • The business is a larger partnership in an industry where this is standard practice (i.e. legal / medical) and unable to meet the requirement of not being a sole trader or partnership
  • The business previously met accreditation requirements but no longer does so due to a corporate restructure necessitating a new sponsorship approval
  • The business is an associated entity of a company that would meet accreditation requirements
  • The business is making a significant investment in the Australian economy and has demonstrated a commitment to training/recruiting Australians (but falls short of the Australian workforce threshold).

How to apply for sponsorship accreditation?

An employer can apply to become an Accredited Sponsor as part of their application to become a standard business sponsor or to renew their sponsorship. A business can apply for Accredited Sponsorship at any time and does not have to wait until expiry of their existing sponsorship.

Can sponsorship be lost?

Yes. Accredited Sponsorship status can be revoked if an employer no longer meets the required characteristics for accreditation. Where this occurs, an employer will no longer be eligible to access the benefits mentioned above. Approval as a standard business sponsor will, however, remain in place until it expires.

Sponsorship Accreditation may also be revoked if:

  • an employer has provided an employee (or their dependants) a reference confirming that they are of good character and have not been convicted of any criminal offences for the purposes of not undertaking any police clearances from countries other than Australia; and
  • the employee (or their dependants) are subsequently found to fail the character test.

Recommendations

Given the significant delays experienced during visa processing across the board in Australia, any organisation eligible for accredited sponsorship should immediately consider eligibility to take advantage of the priority and streamline processing services will be of significant benefit.

Should any organisation wish to consider their eligibility for Accredited Sponsorship, please contact us directly on (+61 3 9016 0484) or by mail ([email protected]).

Jordan Tew

Author Jordan Tew

Jordan is one of less than 50 lawyers who are Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law by the Law Institute of Victoria, and less than 100 nationally. Accredited Specialists undergo a vigorous assessment process, and make up about 1% of all registered migration agents.

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