Australia is promoted to immigrants as one of the best places in the world to work due to an excellent work environment, a variety of job opportunities and a higher salary range compared to other countries. Work opportunities are one of the main drivers of population growth in Australia, with 64 per cent of the growth owed to overseas migration.

Because of this, you’ll find people from the United Kingdom, China and South Africa populating main cities like Melbourne and Sydney, as well as regional cities like Townsville and Geelong. Immigration laws such as the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975 also protect immigrants from any form of discrimination.

The growth of overseas migration gives business plenty of opportunities to hire qualified candidates from outside Australia. Although you’ll find potential employees from the local pool of talents, migrant workers may just have the specific skills that make them an asset to your company.

Becoming a Sponsor to Overseas Employees

According to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), any legally established and operating business can sponsor a migrant employee. Businesses have to apply to become a sponsor, and the support they can provide to migrant employees depends on their responsibilities as an employer and the type of visa they and the employee choose for the job.

You can sponsor a skilled worker to come to Australia if you can’t find an Australian resident or a permanent resident that meets the skills and experiences for the job. Depending on your arrangement with the employee, you can hire them as a temporary or permanent worker.

Your Obligations as a Sponsor

Sponsoring a migrant worker means they can only work for you for as long as you sponsor their visa. Aside from providing legally mandated benefits and a safe workplace, sponsors of migrant employees are also obliged to do the following:

  • Advise the DHA of changes to their employees’ names, partnerships or other job-related changes.
  • Ensure that employees only work in their designated occupation
  • Ensure that employment conditions are the same as those of an Australian employee
  • Keep records that show compliance with sponsorship obligations
  • Provide access to premises and supply requested documentation to investigators

Failure to Meet Obligations

Visa form close up, fountain pen and approved stamped on a document.

The DHA is responsible for monitoring sponsors and their sponsored employees to make sure that all the obligations are being met. The organisation will continue monitoring up to five years after the end of the sponsorship.

You may face the following when the DHA concludes that you did not meet your obligations:

  • Restriction from sponsoring migrant employees for a specified period
  • Cancellation of existing approved sponsorships
  • Issuance of an infringement notice
  • A civil penalty order of up to $63,000 for a corporation and $12,600 per individual employee per failure
  • An enforceable undertaking that requires you to complete certain tasks and promise, in writing, that you’ve corrected your mistakes and they won’t happen again

The following actions will also take place if the DHA discovers that you provided false and misleading information or broke the law. The same also applies if your business no longer satisfies the criteria for sponsoring a migrant employee.

Hiring people from overseas can sometimes be a great solution for your business, whether you require skills that are in short supply or you want to bring fresh ideas and perspectives into your business. When sponsoring migrant employees, make sure to get the necessary paperwork done thoroughly so you can focus on honing the talents of your sponsored workers.

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