457 Visa Changes
From 19 April 2016, a number of 457 visa changes to the Migration Regulations will come into effect. These changes address integrity concerns arising from an independent review of the 457 programme.
Non-discriminatory recruitment practices
The Regulations are being strengthened so that:
- sponsors must declare that they will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices; and
- must comply with a new obligation not to engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
In short, this means that previous ‘attestation provisions’ are now binding on standard business sponsors operating in Australia.
Note: the existing requirement for an attestation that the applicant has a strong record of, or a demonstrated commitment to, employing local labour has also been retained.
What is a discriminatory recruitment practice?
‘Discriminatory recruitment practice’ will be defined under sub-regulation 2.57(1) to mean a recruitment practice that directly, or indirectly, discriminates against a person based on the immigration status or citizenship of the person, other than a practice engaged in to comply with a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.
What doesn’t it cover?
The new obligation is not engaged if discrimination in recruitment decisions is evident on other grounds such as sex, gender, race, social group or pregnancy. These issues are outside the remit of the Department and should be directed to other relevant agencies, such as the Fair Work Ombudsman or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
When does the new obligation apply?
The new obligation applies to sponsors from 19 April 2016 onwards, or the date from which they became an approved sponsor, whichever is later – up until the day their standard business sponsorship ends.
Sponsors should keep documents on hand that demonstrate how subclass 457 visa holders were recruited and that this process did not discriminate based on citizenship or visa status.
2. English language exemptions
Changes are also being made to regulation in order to exempt 457 visa applicants from the Department’s English language testing requirements if they have already met the same, or better, English language requirements to gain an occupational registration or license.
When does this exemption apply?
The amended instrument will apply from 19 April 2016 onwards to applications lodged on or after this date, as well as those applications where a decision has not been made by the Department.
If you have any questions about the 457 visa legislative changes and how it might affect your application, please contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (03) 9005 1033.