Want to work in Australia?


John Glover from OzMigration Solutions explains how you can work & immigrate to Australia.

International’s/ Migrants still needed in Australia


Skills shortage, 457 Visa and the Fair Work Act

Many changes to Workplace Law have been introduced recently and with more companies now employing internationals, it is vital that these changes be understood in order to continue successfully operating the most affective work practices. Over previous editions we have looked at the Australian Skills Shortage; we are now able to look at how these shortages and the Fair Work Act are linked.

The skills shortage in Australia is still relatively high and once we turn even further away from the financial crisis, these skill shortages look to be greater than ever before. Australia will be forced to obtain skills from overseas through the 457 work visa option or through ENS Employee Nomination Scheme; both are relatively fast in being processed. However, the new rules to this visa, linked with the Fair Work Act changes, make working under this process slightly different.

The changes were introduced to monitor the exploitation of overseas workers; it ensures the overseas workers are skilled at a particular level, as well as overcoming criticisms of the Minimum Salary Level (MSL).

So what do they wish to achieve by the reform? The reform hopes to streamline the process for low risk sponsors as well as increase flexibility and mobility for the visa holders. With the greater emphasis on training and development, not only will the overseas workers benefit but also those local Australian employees.

On April 1st, 2009 seven reform measures to the 457 visa were announced. Here we look at the reform which seems to be the biggest question on most organisations’ mind, The Minimum Salary Level

With the implementation of a market base rate for all new and existing 457 visa holders from mid September 2009. This will result in a fairer, simpler and more transparent method of determining the terms and conditions of employment.

Market Rates
Regimenting the market rates, will ensure local labour is not a less attractive option for employers, as well as continuing to provide those industries with needed skills where local labour is unavailable. Overseas workers will also benefit from receiving the same remuneration and working conditions as an equivalent Australian worker doing the same work at the same location.

Guiding Principles
The salary offered should be the same as an equivalent Australian worker at that location; the employer will determine the terms and conditions for the 457 worker in the same way as for an Australian worker. The employer may be required to provide appropriate evidence of these terms to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The commencing TSMIT is $51,400 (as of July 1st 2012) and will look to be indexed annually; if the Market Rate in the workplace is lower, nomination will be refused. As well as this, the agreed Non-Monetary Benefits can be allowable, as long as they are also available to Australian workers.

High Income Threshold
Where the nominated salary is above the High Income Threshold $180,000, the equivalent terms and conditions assessment does not apply;

Health Costs
The onus has previously been on the employer to cover health costs of the worker. However, under the new reform, some responsibility shifts to the visa applicant.

Improved information sharing
The Commonwealth and State/Territory government agencies, including, Taxation; Industrial relations; Workplace safety; Fair trading; Registration & licensing; Law enforcement as well as many others have full transparency between one another.

The introduction and implementation will be a lengthy process with possible disruption to your workplace. At Pendragon, we understand these changes, we assist you with ways to work with the new rules but not leave yourself open to employment issues making the New Year a great one for all concerned.

Sponsoring International Workers


Bizarre as it seems, despite the rise in unemployment, Australia is still suffering from a severe shortage in many skilled occupations. Even when having to downsize in one area, many employers have requirements in other departments that are near impossible to fill in a reasonable time, often leaving key roles open for months on end, resulting in more inefficiencies and further poor results – it’s a vicious cycle.

Although the migration program has recently been pared back, these changes relate only to the permanent visa classes. Employers seeking access to the international resource pool are still able to apply to become approved sponsors under the Standard Business Sponsor program and thereby be eligible to offer sponsored temporary residence visas to suitable international candidates.

In the past, accessing foreign talent was the domain of the multinational blue chip corporations only. SME’s were unsure of how to tackle this complex beast, and more often than not, simply steered away from it. However, with the assistance of registered migration agents and the expertise of consultants who specialise in this niche area, smaller and medium sized enterprises are now starting to realise the benefit of being able to expand their search for talent across the globe. The application costs are relatively minor, especially when compared to the returns realised by having the right person on board on time.

Know your obligations

One of the areas of highest concern is the obligations that the business bears in order to sponsor a visa. There are many horror stories about companies being caught short, and ending up out of pocket when an employment relationship goes sour. While most are urban legends, there certainly have been incidents where companies have been burned simply because they weren’t aware of what their rights and obligations were. Make sure that you fully understand your obligations before you make any offer of employment. DIAC publishes Information Booklets from time to time, stating the requirements. Take the time to familiarise yourself with these obligations to prevent nasty surprises later on. If using an employment management company, find out if they are willing to underwrite some of the more onerous obligations, or how you can protect yourself against later claims through having a solid employment contract in place. Once understood, the visa undertakings are easy to meet.

The role of the migration agent

Migration agents are there to make your dealings with the DIAC as pain-free as possible. They should know the legislation thoroughly and be willing to spend time with you explaining the ins-and-outs of the visa classes. Only use an agent registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority, and make sure that your agent is well versed in the employer nominated visa classes. Migration law is a vast and complex area, and many agents choose to specialise in only one or two categories. Don’t be afraid to ask for references - a good agent should be happy to supply you with these.

The role of the employment management firm

Employment management firms are often able to simplify the process of employing international workers by offering an outsourced management service. This generally comprises of a payroll service (to offer benefits such as the Living Away From Home Allowance) and a monitoring service, to ensure that the DIAC requirements are being met). The more established firms should also be able to offer you a full package, complete with visa assistance, negotiation between the potential employee and the business, employment law advice and ongoing employment management services. Once again, don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Moving Forward

If you have roles within your business that have traditionally been hard to fill, or one that you are currently struggling to find a suitable candidate for, step out and consider the international workforce. For a relatively small investment, you could tap into a fresh skills pool, where you aren’t clamouring against competing employers or getting involved in bidding wars for the right candidate. There are many thousands of people looking for the opportunity to move themselves and their family to our country. Being offered a sponsored visa is often their only choice, and once secured, their gratitude is evident in their work ethic, with them often going on and rising rapidly through the ranks at their new organisation. Good Luck!


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Oz Migration Blogs

Want to work in Australia?


John Glover from OzMigration Solutions explains how you can work & immigrate to Australia.

International’s/ Migrants still needed in Australia


Skills shortage, 457 Visa and the Fair Work Act

Many changes to Workplace Law have been introduced recently and with more companies now employing internationals, it is vital that these changes be understood in order to continue successfully operating the most affective work practices. Over previous editions we have looked at the Australian Skills Shortage; we are now able to look at how these shortages and the Fair Work Act are linked.

The skills shortage in Australia is still relatively high and once we turn even further away from the financial crisis, these skill shortages look to be greater than ever before. Australia will be forced to obtain skills from overseas through the 457 work visa option or through ENS Employee Nomination Scheme; both are relatively fast in being processed. However, the new rules to this visa, linked with the Fair Work Act changes, make working under this process slightly different.

The changes were introduced to monitor the exploitation of overseas workers; it ensures the overseas workers are skilled at a particular level, as well as overcoming criticisms of the Minimum Salary Level (MSL).

So what do they wish to achieve by the reform? The reform hopes to streamline the process for low risk sponsors as well as increase flexibility and mobility for the visa holders. With the greater emphasis on training and development, not only will the overseas workers benefit but also those local Australian employees.

On April 1st, 2009 seven reform measures to the 457 visa were announced. Here we look at the reform which seems to be the biggest question on most organisations’ mind, The Minimum Salary Level

With the implementation of a market base rate for all new and existing 457 visa holders from mid September 2009. This will result in a fairer, simpler and more transparent method of determining the terms and conditions of employment.

Market Rates
Regimenting the market rates, will ensure local labour is not a less attractive option for employers, as well as continuing to provide those industries with needed skills where local labour is unavailable. Overseas workers will also benefit from receiving the same remuneration and working conditions as an equivalent Australian worker doing the same work at the same location.

Guiding Principles
The salary offered should be the same as an equivalent Australian worker at that location; the employer will determine the terms and conditions for the 457 worker in the same way as for an Australian worker. The employer may be required to provide appropriate evidence of these terms to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC)

Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT)
The commencing TSMIT is $51,400 (as of July 1st 2012) and will look to be indexed annually; if the Market Rate in the workplace is lower, nomination will be refused. As well as this, the agreed Non-Monetary Benefits can be allowable, as long as they are also available to Australian workers.

High Income Threshold
Where the nominated salary is above the High Income Threshold $180,000, the equivalent terms and conditions assessment does not apply;

Health Costs
The onus has previously been on the employer to cover health costs of the worker. However, under the new reform, some responsibility shifts to the visa applicant.

Improved information sharing
The Commonwealth and State/Territory government agencies, including, Taxation; Industrial relations; Workplace safety; Fair trading; Registration & licensing; Law enforcement as well as many others have full transparency between one another.

The introduction and implementation will be a lengthy process with possible disruption to your workplace. At Pendragon, we understand these changes, we assist you with ways to work with the new rules but not leave yourself open to employment issues making the New Year a great one for all concerned.

Sponsoring International Workers


Bizarre as it seems, despite the rise in unemployment, Australia is still suffering from a severe shortage in many skilled occupations. Even when having to downsize in one area, many employers have requirements in other departments that are near impossible to fill in a reasonable time, often leaving key roles open for months on end, resulting in more inefficiencies and further poor results – it’s a vicious cycle.

Although the migration program has recently been pared back, these changes relate only to the permanent visa classes. Employers seeking access to the international resource pool are still able to apply to become approved sponsors under the Standard Business Sponsor program and thereby be eligible to offer sponsored temporary residence visas to suitable international candidates.

In the past, accessing foreign talent was the domain of the multinational blue chip corporations only. SME’s were unsure of how to tackle this complex beast, and more often than not, simply steered away from it. However, with the assistance of registered migration agents and the expertise of consultants who specialise in this niche area, smaller and medium sized enterprises are now starting to realise the benefit of being able to expand their search for talent across the globe. The application costs are relatively minor, especially when compared to the returns realised by having the right person on board on time.

Know your obligations

One of the areas of highest concern is the obligations that the business bears in order to sponsor a visa. There are many horror stories about companies being caught short, and ending up out of pocket when an employment relationship goes sour. While most are urban legends, there certainly have been incidents where companies have been burned simply because they weren’t aware of what their rights and obligations were. Make sure that you fully understand your obligations before you make any offer of employment. DIAC publishes Information Booklets from time to time, stating the requirements. Take the time to familiarise yourself with these obligations to prevent nasty surprises later on. If using an employment management company, find out if they are willing to underwrite some of the more onerous obligations, or how you can protect yourself against later claims through having a solid employment contract in place. Once understood, the visa undertakings are easy to meet.

The role of the migration agent

Migration agents are there to make your dealings with the DIAC as pain-free as possible. They should know the legislation thoroughly and be willing to spend time with you explaining the ins-and-outs of the visa classes. Only use an agent registered with the Migration Agents Registration Authority, and make sure that your agent is well versed in the employer nominated visa classes. Migration law is a vast and complex area, and many agents choose to specialise in only one or two categories. Don’t be afraid to ask for references - a good agent should be happy to supply you with these.

The role of the employment management firm

Employment management firms are often able to simplify the process of employing international workers by offering an outsourced management service. This generally comprises of a payroll service (to offer benefits such as the Living Away From Home Allowance) and a monitoring service, to ensure that the DIAC requirements are being met). The more established firms should also be able to offer you a full package, complete with visa assistance, negotiation between the potential employee and the business, employment law advice and ongoing employment management services. Once again, don’t be afraid to ask for references.

Moving Forward

If you have roles within your business that have traditionally been hard to fill, or one that you are currently struggling to find a suitable candidate for, step out and consider the international workforce. For a relatively small investment, you could tap into a fresh skills pool, where you aren’t clamouring against competing employers or getting involved in bidding wars for the right candidate. There are many thousands of people looking for the opportunity to move themselves and their family to our country. Being offered a sponsored visa is often their only choice, and once secured, their gratitude is evident in their work ethic, with them often going on and rising rapidly through the ranks at their new organisation. Good Luck!