If you are an approved sponsor, there are a range of sponsor obligations that you are required to meet. We can assist your business or organisation to maintain compliance with your sponsor obligations by:
- Conducting regular compliance checks to make sure your business is meeting its legal obligations as a sponsor
- Providing self-assessment tools and checklists for you to conduct your own internal audits
- Holding seminars or workshops to educate you and your staff on your sponsor obligations
The Migration Act 1958 imposes a range of sanctions on sponsors that fail to comply with their sponsor obligations. The Department of Home Affairs also has the power to monitor your compliance in a number of ways, such as by sending inspectors to your business/organisation premises or requesting you to provide records to demonstrate your compliance.
To minimise or avoid the risks associated with non-compliance with sponsor obligations, it is essential that you understand the sponsor obligations and ensure that you comply with them at all times.
The most common obligations are:
- To inform the Department of Home Affairs when certain events occur
- To keep records
- To provide records and information to the Department of Home Affairs
- To not recover from, transfer or charge the costs of sponsorship or recruitment to another person
- To ensure the visa holder participates in the nominated occupation, program or activity
Additional obligations apply to Standard Business Sponsors, including:
- To meet benchmarks for training Australian citizens or Permanent Residents
- To ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment for the sponsored employee
- To not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
Some obligations continue to apply after your approval as a sponsor has ended.
Are You Compliant with Your Obligations?
Offences related to Immigration Law
The Department of Home Affairs, administers amongst other functions, the task of upholding the integrity of its migration programme, which can be loosely summed up as concerns for the negative impact an abuse may have on the Australian community and economy at large, including (but not limited to):
- a. Unfair competitive advantage of Australia businesses
- b. Loss of government revenue including loss of taxes
- c. Reputational damage to Australia’s international standing
Department of Home Affairs also announced that from December 2017, they will commence the collection of Tax File Numbers from visa applicant and sponsors for data matching purpose with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). A list of sanctioned employers and organisation will also be published.
Types of Immigration related fraud and offences
Department of Home Affairs provides the following examples as fraud and offences relevant to business, employer or organization:
- a. Providing false and misleading information to the Commonwealth, including not disclosing that it was or is under investigation by an authority;
- b. Allowing people to work illegally or beyond their permitted work conditions (despite the mimicking of a contractor relationship);
- c. Breaching its Sponsorship Obligations (which commences at date of grant and ends 2 to 3 years after the sponsorship ceases) – for instance, fail to meet training benchmark obligations, failure to notify Department of Home Affairs of changes of circumstances, fail to maintain proper records, etc.;
- d. Engaging in discriminatory recruitment practices. As of 19 April 2016, the obligation commenced where documents must be kept demonstrating that the recruitment process did not discriminate based on citizenship, visa status, gender, race, social group, etc.;
- e. Recovering, transferring or charging certain costs to another person, e.g. travel costs for interviewee, training expenses, etc.;
- f. Failing to ensure the sponsored employee participates in the nominated occupation, for example, it is a breach if the sponsored employees maintains another part-time job outside (even if that part-time job is voluntary) or performs work beyond the scope of the roles and duties of the nominated occupation;
Other Migration Act offences, such as allowing an unlawful non-citizen to work, allowing a non-citizen to work in breach of a work-related condition, etc.
Effect of Breaches to Immigration Law
Department of Home Affairs can take actions against sponsors or employers should breach be found, such as:
- a. Commence monitoring and site visits;
- b. Bar from sponsoring more people and applying for new sponsorship, even with new entities;
- c. Cancellation of sponsorship where the visas for existing sponsored employees will cancelled;
- d. Infringement notice for each sponsorship breach of up to $10,200 for a body corporate and $2,040 for the individual;
- e. Civil penalty order for each sponsorship breach of up to $51,000 for a corporation and $10,200 for the individual;
- f. Referral to other Authorities for investigation and action (ACCC, AFP, ATO, FWO, etc.);
- g. Criminal penalty such as imprisonment, for some of the offences are categorized as criminal. For ease of reference, we provide a summary below, which is not exhaustive and does not include the civil penalties associated:
|s234||False documents and false or misleading information relating to non-citizens||10 years imprisonment or 1,000 penalty units|
|s245AB||Allowing an unlawful non-citizen to work||2 years imprisonment|
|s245AC||Allowing a non-citizen to work in breach of a work-related condition||2 years imprisonment|
|s245AE||Referring an unlawful non-citizen for work||2 years imprisonment|
|s245AEA||Referring a lawful non-citizen for work in breach of a work-related condition||2 years imprisonment|
How Can We Help?
With the experience of observing the procedures taken by Department of Home Affairs in relation to investigating immigration offences and reviewing their policies on investigating and appropriate actions DIBP takes, our firm specializes in an ‘audit’ service, focused on identifying immigration breaches and offences.
We can help you to investigate and identify any breaches and provide you with our findings and recommendation thereafter. The investigative stage includes (but not limited to) interviews with relevant party, anonymous telephone calls to illicit information, review and analysis of records, etc. We will also help you draft submissions to Department of Home Affairs addressing the concerns and preventing negative outcomes to current and future applications, including cancellation of current sponsorship and request the Minister reasonably disregard the breaches for future applications.
Contact us now for initial consultation and assessment so we can treat any issues that your organisation have and prevent any adverse consequences you may suffer from.