Work Rights – The Coming Compliance Surge

The other day, I was chatting to a friend of mine. He was talking about his son Tom – very bright kid – who had just finished his honours year in data science, and was looking at jobs.

Tom had his heart set on working at the BOM, but ended up taking a job at the ATO.

Which got me thinking – why is the ATO hiring the best and brightest data scientists out of uni?

Then I thought back to some changes which were announced in 2017 and 2018 – about Single Touch Payroll and the ATO’s data matching program with Immigration.

Here are some of the headline changes from 2017 and 2018:

  • Single touch payroll is now in force for all employers – large or small. This means that the ATO gets information on who is working with which employer and how much they are getting paid – each pay cycle
  • The ATO has set up a data matching program with Immigration – this will see them audit up to 20 million visa holders over the next 10 years
  • Tax File Numbers now must be provided when applying for sponsored visas
  • Employers in breach of their migration obligations can be publicly “named and shamed”

Even a first year graduate data scientist like Tom will be able to easily pick up situations where employers have staff working for them without visas, working too many hours or beyond the 6 month limitation for working holiday visas.

What the ATO and Immigration do with what is likely to be a huge amount of non-compliance detected is anyone’s guess – but here are some of their options:

  • Instant fines of over $18,000 for each worker in breach
  • Reputational damage for employers who are “named and shamed”
  • Loss of key staff at critical times if there are visa issues.

vSure allows employers to get on top of visa compliance, and rest assured that you won’t be on Tom’s radar!