457 Sponsorship Obligations - Taking on more than just an Applicant

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Blog by Hamish Martin, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1462173 at AMVL Migrations.

When an employer enquires about a 457 visa inevitably the first question I am always asked is “What am I required to do as a sponsor?” – The simple answer is treat them like you would an Australian employee, however the question is a lot more complex than you might expect. 

First of all the business needs to sign up to become an approved sponsor, usually by applying for a Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS), which involves the business showing that they are actively and lawfully operating in Australia, have no adverse information against the business and be able to meet the training benchmark. While most businesses are able to show that they are lawfully operating and have no adverse information, many businesses fall down on meeting the training benchmark. 

The training benchmark is a great way for the government to ensure that Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents in the business are being looked after. The training benchmark requires a business to meet one of the following benchmarks:

Benchmark A: At least 2% of the total payroll of the business is allocated to an industry training fund operating in the same industry as the business.

Benchmark B: At least 1% of the total payroll of the business is allocated to the internal or external training of Australian citizens or Permanent Resident employees.

If the business can satisfy this requirement they can generally apply for an SBS.
During the application process, the business makes a number of commitments to the Department of Immigration that are activated once the SBS is approved. Over the life of their sponsorship they are required to abide by nine primary obligations including:
  1. Cooperate with inspectors – including Department of Immigration agents and Fair Work agents.
  2. Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment – ensure that the terms and conditions of the contract are no less favourable than those offered to an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  3. Pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia – If the applicant requests in writing then the sponsor is obliged to pay for an economy flight back to the applicants’ country of origin.
  4. Pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizen – the sponsoring business may be required to pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth in locating and removing sponsored applicants who have become unlawful. .
  5. Keep accurate records – Records must be kept showing your compliance with your sponsorship obligations .
  6. Provide information to Immigration when certain events occur – including when employment ceases, a change of work duties, change of sponsor contact details or complying with other sponsorship obligations.
  7. Ensure primary sponsored person works or participates in nominated occupation – The applicant must work in the nominated occupation. If you require the applicant to work in a different occupation then a new nomination must be done.
  8. Not to recover, transfer or take actions that result in another person paying for certain costs – The sponsoring business cannot seek to recover costs that relate to the recruitment or sponsorship of the primary sponsored person.
  9. Provide training to Australian Citizens and Permanent Residents – The sponsoring business must maintain either training benchmark ‘A’ or ‘B’ for every year that they sponsor an applicant under their SBS.
While most of the obligations are just good work practice, businesses should be aware of the commitments they are making signing up to be a sponsor. Recently we have become aware of several cases where sponsors have not met their obligations and have been subsequently fined and/or prosecuted, so it is therefore extremely important that you keep good records of your compliance with all your sponsorship obligations, because as we all know ignorance of the law is no excuse.

If you would like to discuss either becoming a Standard Business Sponsor or ensuring compliance with one of the above mentioned obligations, please do not hesitate to contact either myself or one of our other friendly Registered Migration Agents by emailing or call +61 7 3212 2200. 

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Living in Australia

Friday, August 15, 2014
Blog by Christel Dajcz, Registered Migration Agent (MARN) 1066568 at AMVL Migrations

Whether you’re thinking about applying to migrate to Australia or you have already started the process, the number one rule when moving your life overseas is; Research, research, research!

We recommend looking into 8 key areas before making the move.

1. Have you decided where in Australia to settle?
Will you live in or around major city, or will you live in a more regional area? Is there affordable rental accommodation readily available or are you looking to purchase a property? Remember, if you have been nominated by a State or Territory you will be expected to reside there for the first few years of your visa.

2. What is your annual cost of living? 
This can vary greatly between the states and capital cities and some cost more than others. Review your current living costs and compare these against your chosen place of residence in Australia. You may even want to plan a relocation budget well in advance of your move.

3. Are there employment opportunities are available? 
Competition for jobs can be strong in large metropolitan areas while there may be plenty of readily available jobs in more remote or regional areas. Certain industries can also be related to different areas of Australia, for example; mining and engineering in Western Australia and northern Queensland, the Arts in Victoria, or finance in New South Wales. 

4. What access is there to schools and colleges? 
Moving to a remote regional area may mean that your access to ongoing education is through distance and on-line learning, or that there is travel required to attend courses and seminars.

5. Do you need access to specialist health advisors and services? 
If so, you will need to consider the location of these service providers, as well as what services are covered by Medicare. It is also a good idea to look into private health insurance, particularly for any new migrants 30 years of age and over.

6. Will you be affected by Australia’s tax system? 
It is a good idea to review your assets and finances to check how you may be taxed, particularly if you have any foreign pensions, overseas properties you intend to maintain, or annuities. Once you have arrived, you will need to apply for a Tax File Number in order to start working, and enrol in a Superannuation fund.

7. How will you transfer your money to Australia? 
A number of Australian financial institutions have overseas branches you can visit for advice, or specialised Migrant banking teams here who can help you to set up an Australian bank account and transfer your funds quickly and securely.

8. Who is going to move your possessions? 
Will you organise shipping and freight or will you contract an international moving agency to handle this for you? There are customs requirements to consider as well as you may need to prove you have owned and/or used an item for a particular length of time. It is good to have an idea of the transport times to ensure you are not caught out while your goods are on their way to Australia. If you have pets, you will need to look up the quarantine requirements for bringing them with you, and check if your pet is allowed into Australia or the State or Territory you wish to settle in. 

We hope your move to Australia is an exciting (and organised) adventure! You can find more information on life in Australia here.

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10 Ways to Survive a Melbourne Winter

Friday, August 01, 2014

Blog by Fauve Kurnadi, Migration Services Associate at AMVL Migrations.

Melbourne_winterI have recently relocated to Melbourne, which is arguably the best decision a coffee, wine and food obsessed 20-something year old can make. More recently though, the excitement of my move has been dampened by this infamous chill they call a Melbourne winter.  I’m sure some of you come from much colder climates than Melbourne, but it's all relative....

Born in Sydney and raised in Brisbane (where a cold day is usually at the 15 degree mark), I had only heard rumours of these southern chills.  Now here I am, and winter has well and truly set in for 2014.  Learning how to adapt to biting cold winds and icy rain that attacks you from all angles is not an easy feat – so here is my cheat sheet for you, should you need it.  

1. Overdress 
In fashion, less is usually more.  This couldn’t be further from the truth in a Melbourne winter.  My life motto has quickly changed to “be prepared”.  At all times you should be wearing several layers and carrying a coat, jumper, scarf, gloves, umbrella, snow shovel and hot water bottle.  OK, perhaps that’s a touch extreme – you probably don’t need a coat and a jumper – but you get my drift. 

2. Download a trusty weather app
Find a trustworthy weather app, load it up on your smart phone and check it before you leave the house.  I use Weatherzone, which can be downloaded from the App Store, and find that it is fairly accurate.  It is 100% true that Melbourne can experience four seasons in one day, so a sunny morning probably means 40km/hr winds and rain by midday.What was that motto again?

3. Get caffeinated!
Melbourne_lanewayIt’s almost impossible to have a bad coffee in Melbourne…almost.  So rediscover your love for coffee, chai, tea, hot chocolate and all things warm to really thaw out. is great for keeping up to date with where to find the city’s best coffee. Browse by suburb, peruse their new and noteworthy suggestions or play it safe with their ‘Top Cafes in Melbourne’ list.

4. Stoke the fires
As if Melbourne wine bars and pubs aren’t enticing enough, the city is home to an amazing array of watering holes equipped with toasty warm fireplaces. Every suburb seems to have at least one, so do a little exploring, pick out a bottle of red and bring the marshmallows!

5. Don’t be afraid to leave the house
Melbourne_parkOne great thing about Melbournians is that the weather doesn’t stop them from going out. Winter in the city is never short of festivals, live music, markets, theatre productions and art exhibitions, so plan your weekends (and your school nights for that matter) and enjoy what the city has to offer. Sign up to for a great way to stay up to date with what’s going on.  

6. Get fit for free
There are always fun and enjoyable ways to keep fit in Melbourne, and you don’t have to look very far for the freebies!  Whether it’s a salsa class, a run through Albert Park, meditation groups, or a naked bike ride (courage and confidence are mandatory) there is bound to be something intriguing going on that’s easy on the wallet. Also, if you’re anything like me, winter is synonymous with pasta binging, so let’s strap those runners on together!

7. Forego the rooftops and go underground
Don’t get me wrong, find a nice rooftop bar where you can get close to a heater and you’ll surely have a great night out with a view!  However, the Melbourne CBD is also famous for its hidden laneways and, more often than not, getting lost in them can prove to be a fun-filled adventure. Restaurants, cocktail bars and dance floors abound below the surface, so get lost in the moment and descend the staircases for a change!

8. Vitamins and Vegies at Queen Vic 
Stock up on all things good at the Queen Victoria Markets on the corner of Victoria St and Elizabeth St. Fresh organic and biodynamic produce, including fruit, vegetables and gourmet deli foods will keep your immune system fighting this winter. The markets make for a great weekend of people-watching, sampling and grocery shopping, just be sure to dodge the endless stream of shopping trolley bags (for the hipster or grandma in all of us). If the crowds prove too daunting to take on, then more limited markets are open during the week.  

Also, QVM Vitamins has a permanent store in the heart of the markets and offers great discounts on most brand name vitamins and supplements – definitely worth checking out.

9. Free films
The State Library of Victoria holds movie screenings free of charge right throughout winter. This can work on a number of levels: spend two hours out of the cold and choose a movie set in summer!  Screenings include mainstream movies, documentaries, animation and musicals.  Jump online to see what’s on:

10. Get away from it all
Living in such a spectacular city, you almost forget that a 1-2 hour drive in any direction will get you to some beautiful places.  For warm winter getaways, consider the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs ( Only 90 minutes from Melbourne, the springs offer an oasis of natural thermal mineral pools and baths at a cosy 36-43 degrees. Strip off that onesie and take the plunge!  Prices range from $20 for public bath-house bathing to $400+ for private treatments.

As it turns out, winter in Melbourne isn’t so bad after all!

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