These changes include greater scrutiny on employers to demonstrate the need to employ an overseas national, increased sponsorship obligations and monitoring activity and substantial increases in immigration department application fees. Announced changes include:
- Higher fees when lodging applications.
- There are no longer any occupation based exemptions from the English language requirements.
- Market rate salary exemption has increased from $180,000 to $250,000.
- Introduction of a ‘genuineness test’ for nomination applications and increased skills requirements for visa applicants.
Employers found in contravention of new legislation may be liable for civil penalties or face an infringement notice. Corporate officers including CEOs, CFOs and company directors can now be held individually liable for immigration compliance breaches within the business.
After much debate in Parliament, the Temporary Sponsored Visas Bill passed, which will re-introduce Labour Market Testing back into the subclass 457 visa program. This is expected to commence in November 2013 and will particularly effect trades positions, engineers and nurses. Along with the English language changes and immigration department fee increases, this will increase processing times and costs significantly for business.
The full list of changes are outlined in Migration Newsflash: 457 visas at 1 July 2013: Essential Information.