Recent Changes to Standard Business Sponsorship

Recent Changes to Standard Business Sponsorship

The landscape of Australian immigration, particularly around Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS) for the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482), is continually evolving. Keeping abreast of the latest changes is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and leverage opportunities for bringing in skilled overseas workers. This section covers recent changes and updates to the SBS framework that businesses should be aware of.

 

Introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy

One of the significant changes to SBS in recent years is the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, which replaced the previous training benchmarks (A and B). The SAF levy requires businesses sponsoring overseas workers to make a financial contribution towards the training and development of Australian workers. The key aspects of the SAF levy include:

  1. Levy Amount: The levy amount varies based on the size of the business:
    • Small businesses (annual turnover of less than $10 million): $1,200 per year or part thereof per sponsored worker.
    • Other businesses: $1,800 per year or part thereof per sponsored worker.
  2. Payment Schedule: The levy must be paid upfront when nominating a worker for a TSS visa. It covers the entire nomination period (up to four years for the Medium-Term Stream).
  3. Use of Funds: The funds collected through the SAF levy are invested in training and developing the skills of Australian workers, helping to address skill shortages and improve workforce capabilities.

 

Streamlining of Occupation Lists

The occupation lists used for the TSS visa, including the Short-Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL) and the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), are subject to regular updates. These updates ensure that the lists reflect the current labour market needs and strategic priorities of the Australian economy. Recent changes to these lists include:

  1. Addition and Removal of Occupations: Occupations are periodically reviewed and either added to or removed from the lists based on labour market analysis. Businesses should regularly check the current occupation lists to determine the eligibility of positions they wish to nominate.
  2. Priority Processing: Certain occupations on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL) were given priority processing to address critical skill shortages, particularly in response to economic needs and recovery efforts post-pandemic.

 

Strengthening Compliance Measures

To maintain the integrity of the SBS and TSS visa programs, the Department of Home Affairs has implemented stricter compliance measures:

  1. Increased Monitoring: There is heightened scrutiny of sponsoring businesses to ensure compliance with sponsorship obligations. This includes more frequent audits and site visits.
  2. Penalties for Non-Compliance: Businesses found to be in breach of their sponsorship obligations face significant penalties, including fines and possible cancellation of their sponsorship status. Please see: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/visas/employing-and-sponsoring-someone/existing-sponsors/standard-business-accredited-obligations
  3. Enhanced Reporting Requirements: Sponsors are required to promptly report any changes in business structure, cessation of business operations, or changes in the employment conditions of sponsored workers.

 

Introduction of Global Talent Visa Program

While not directly a change to SBS, the introduction of the Global Talent Visa Program offers an alternative pathway for highly skilled individuals. This program aims to attract exceptional talent in key sectors such as tech, fintech, medtech, and engineering, thereby complementing the objectives of the TSS visa. Businesses should consider the Global Talent Visa Program as part of their broader talent acquisition strategy.

 

Changes Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to temporary but significant changes to SBS and TSS visa processes:

  1. Relaxation of Conditions: Temporary measures were introduced to support sponsored workers affected by the pandemic, such as allowing reduced working hours without breaching visa conditions.
  2. Extensions and Flexibility: The government provided extensions for certain visa holders and additional flexibility in visa conditions to address the challenges posed by the pandemic.
  3. Priority for Critical Sectors: During the pandemic, there was a focus on prioritizing visa processing for critical sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, and essential services.

 

Future Trends and Anticipated Changes

While it is crucial to be aware of recent changes, businesses should also stay informed about potential future trends and anticipated changes to SBS and TSS visa programs:

  1. Digital Transformation: The Department of Home Affairs is expected to continue its digital transformation efforts, making application processes more efficient and user-friendly. This includes the use of advanced analytics and automation to streamline visa processing.
  2. Focus on Regional Areas: To address skill shortages in regional areas, the government may introduce incentives and specific programs to encourage businesses to sponsor workers for positions outside major metropolitan areas.
  3. Enhanced Collaboration with Industry: There is likely to be increased collaboration between the government and industry sectors to ensure that the SBS and TSS visa programs effectively address evolving labour market needs.

 

How Visa Help Australia Pty Ltd and Skilled Migration Consultants Pvt Ltd Can Assist

Navigating the changing landscape of SBS can be challenging. Visa Help Australia Pty Ltd and Skilled Migration Consultants Pvt Ltd are here to help:

  1. Up-to-Date Guidance: We provide the latest information on changes to SBS and TSS visa regulations, ensuring you stay compliant and informed.
  2. Compliance Support: Our experts assist in implementing robust compliance frameworks, helping you meet your sponsorship obligations and avoid penalties.
  3. Strategic Advice: We offer strategic advice on leveraging different visa programs, including the Global Talent Visa, to meet your business needs.
  4. Application Assistance: From initial application to renewal and beyond, our team supports you through every step of the SBS process, ensuring a seamless experience.

 

Conclusion

Recent changes to Standard Business Sponsorship reflect the dynamic nature of Australia’s immigration policy, aimed at addressing skill shortages while ensuring compliance and integrity. Understanding these changes and staying informed about future trends is essential for businesses looking to sponsor overseas workers. Visa Help Australia Pty Ltd and Skilled Migration Consultants Pvt Ltd are committed to providing expert guidance and support, helping your business navigate these changes effectively and continue to thrive in a competitive market.