Changes to Accredited Status for Subclass 457 Standard Business Sponsors

Employers who have a positive history of dealings with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection ('DIBP') may be eligible to become ‘Accredited Sponsors'.

Accredited Sponsors benefit from an extended sponsorship period of six years as well as priority processing for visa and nomination applications. As of 1 July 2016, Accredited Sponsors will also benefit from streamlined processing of applications, if:

  • The nominated base salary is either equal to or greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (currently AUD138,900) and the nominated occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO; or
  • The base salary is at least AUD75,000 and the occupation is classified as skill level 1 or 2 in the ANZSCO. Exceptions apply to certain occupations in these skill levels.

An employer must meet the following criteria in addition to the requirements for standard business sponsorship to be eligible for accreditation:

  • Be a government agency, a public-listed company or private company with an annual turnover of at least AUD four million for the last three years;
  • Have been an active subclass 457 sponsor for at least three years with no adverse information;
  • Have sponsored at least ten subclass 457 visa holders in the two years prior to applying for accreditation;
  • Have lodged an agreed level of decision-ready applications over the previous two years;
  • Have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous three years;
  • Have Australian workers comprising at least 75% of their work force in Australia;
  • Engage all subclass 457 holders as employees under a contract of employment that includes at least the minimum employment entitlements required under the National Employment Standards (unless their occupation is exempt) and provide a copy of a template contract used for this purpose (if applicable);
  • Pay all Australian employees in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary table that reflects current market salary rates for all occupations in their business (if applicable);
  • Provide to the DIBP details and evidence of all business activities undertaken by their business; and;
  • Provide to the DIBP details of all Principals and Directors of their business.

The DIBP will be reviewing existing Accredited Sponsors to ensure they meet the above criteria for accreditation under the new scheme. The DIBP may revoke a sponsor's accreditation if they no longer meet the new accreditation criteria.

Existing standard business sponsors who meet the new criteria for accreditation (but previously did not) may now lodge a sponsorship variation application and request to be considered for sponsorship accreditation under the new scheme resulting in quicker processing.