Helpful Tips for Sponsors of Temporary Employees
Sponsoring employees to work for you in Australia can be a complex responsibility to take on. There are many obligations that need to be met for the duration of sponsorship that some employers are not aware of.
It’s important to uphold your sponsorship obligations while employing overseas workers; otherwise you could face fines or even be barred from being a sponsor in the future.
Here are some tips to help you uphold your obligations as a sponsor.
What are your Employer Sponsorship Obligations?
Acacia Immigration has provided a concise explanation of your obligations as a sponsor.
You can read their article here.
Know your obligations
When you become a sponsor, make sure you and your HR team are up to date with your obligations. Sometimes the Department of Home Affairs may not give you all the detailed information you need in your grant email, so make the time and effort to do the research and understand what you have to do for the duration of your sponsorship.
Make Paper Trails
Keeping records is important when dealing with Australian Immigration. You want to ensure everything about your temporary worker is kept in the one place and is easily accessible for when/ if you get monitored for compliance.
Having a clear record of everything will help you keep compliant and make the monitoring process easier.
Some things you should record include:
- Any payments made to the employee: best to pay by bank transfer to create an automatic record, and make sure to have your payroll up to date.
- Any Employment documents: job descriptions, letters of offers and records of completed tasks. This will help prove your employee is rightfully completing the tasks for their nominated occupation.
- Keep a record of all your correspondence with the Department of Home Affairs: this means emails, letters, faxes. We find it helpful to have a scanned copy in a file and keep a copy in a database for quick recall.
Tell the Department of Home Affairs Everything
Promoting your employee? Tell the Department of Home Affairs.
Moving office? Tell the Department of Home Affairs.
Your employee is leaving? Tell the Department of Home Affairs.
If anything important changes while you are approved as a business sponsor, you need to ensure you notify the Department of Home Affairs of these changes and do so within 10 days. If not, you could be sanctioned for non-compliance.
As mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to keep a record of the date and method that you contacted the Department of Home Affairs about any changes – this will save you if you are ever questioned about it in the future.
Do regular compliance audits
Think you’re compliant just because you were approved as a business sponsor? Circumstances and immigration needs can change frequently, and just because you were compliant in January does not mean the case is the same in August.
Make sure your business is constantly up to date with your obligations to the Department of Home Affairs as a sponsor – doing so will make your life easier if you are monitored and could save you the risk of infringement notices. Not only that, but if you would like to keep sponsoring temporary employees, or even sponsor your employees for permanent residency, having your immigration compliance and records up to date will make your future visa applications much simpler.
Things you should keep up to date with regularly include:
- Training requirement: this is one of the toughest requirements to make sure you uphold. Assess the status of your training regularly to save the trouble later.
- Financials: making and spending money is a tricky thing to follow when running a business. Make the end of year easier by keeping your finances up to date. This will also make future visa applications run much smoother and faster.
- Employee visa status: your temporary workers were granted their visas so why do you need to worry, right? It’s easy to miss visa expiry dates if you don’t keep track on a regular basis – meaning you could have employees working illegally and not even know it. And what if your employee decides to change visa type without telling you?
If you don’t want hefty fines or criminal sanctions, check your employees’ visa status regularly throughout the year.
Being proactive is key!
Get professional help
Immigration compliance can be confusing, complication and time consuming. Save your time and peace of mind by engaging a migration agent to help with your visa applications and monitoring – you’re a professional in what you do, and so are migration agents, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.