Criminal sanctions have been introduced on the 14th December 2015 for sponsors who attempt to recover certain costs including 457 Visas from their sponsored employees. Criminal penalties of up to two years imprisonment and fines of up to $324,000 make this something to take notice of.
So what does that mean for sponsors? It is fairly simple if you break the sponsorship process down to its component parts. If we assume that a business is not a previously approved sponsor and wishes to provide employment to a international candidate we can isolate who pays what in the process.
The process is broken down into three stages. The business applies to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) to become a sponsor. The business then nominates a position for an eligible occupation, that they have a genuine requirement for to successfully operate their business. The DIBP decides those applications and then considers if the Visa applicant meets the legislative requirements for the position. A typical scenario might be;
John approaches you for sponsorship. You are not an approved sponsor. You need to spend $2000 on training to become a sponsor. You say to John, no worries, but I am not paying any money. John pays $2000 to a training company on your behalf, pays the DIBP for the $420 for your Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) Application and then the $330 for the nomination application (NOMI). He then pays $3000 to the Migration Agent for your SBS and NOMI professional fees. He also pays $1060 for his DIBP charge and another $2,500 for the Migration Agent to lodge the visa.
This will land you in a world of pain with the DIBP, you probably won’t go to gaol but you will lose sponsorship privileges and likely get a fine. So what can John actually pay?
The DIBP view is that anything to do with the SBS and NOMI is the financial responsibility of the employer. This includes all of the DIBP fees and any associated 3rd party fees such as Migration Agents or Lawyers. So, you need to pay the $420 & $330 DIBP fees as well as the agent’s fees for your SBS and NOMI. If John already has a 457 visa and you are transferring him to your business, you must pay ALL the fees.
John can absolutely pay his own DIBP fees and migration agent fees. The DIBP has been very clear that these fees relate to the person and not the sponsor and they vary greatly depending on the individual’s own circumstance. The only situation where you have to pay John’s visa fees is when you have used paying the fees as a recruitment enticement for him to take the position.
At Four Points Immigration we are very happy to receive your queries on this and any other migration issue you may be facing by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Justin Browne on 1 300 474 664.