The following information has been gathered and written based on general information that is available at the Department of Home Affairs website. It has been reviewed by an experienced Lawyer and Migration Agent registered with the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority MARA accredited Migration Agents to ensure its accuracy as of the date of publishing.
The information in this article is not legal advice and should be used for general information purposes only. At Visa Jobs we strongly recommend you consider engaging a Registered Migration Agent who can assess your documents and personal situation before submitting any visa applications
If, like a number of Australian businesses, you struggle to find skilled staff from within the local labour market then sponsoring overseas workers on a Temporary Skill Shortage (Subclass 482) visa could be the answer. In order to sponsor skilled overseas workers on this visa, your business will need a Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS).
The following article will look at the SBS in more detail.
What is an SBS?
An SBS is an agreement with the Department of Home Affairs, allowing your business to nominate overseas workers to work for your business through the TSS visa scheme. Once your business has been approved as an SBS it will be valid for a period of five years, during which time you are able to nominate as many employees as you like.
Why become a Standard Business Sponsor?
The main benefit of becoming an approved standard business sponsor is that you are able to fill positions within your company with skilled workers you can’t find locally. This is especially useful if you are a global company, as it makes logistics easier.
What are the requirements?
Your business can be in or outside of Australia, but in order to become a standard business sponsor you must:
- Have a legally established business which is lawfully operating a business (either inside or outside Australia)
- Have no adverse information known about the business (although the Department may disregard this in reasonable circumstances); and,
- Declare that you have a strong record to employing local labour and that you will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.
If you are an overseas business, you must be applying to become an SBS to either:
- Establish business operations in Australia; or,
- Fulfill contractural obligations in Australia
Adverse information is deemed as unfavourable information that could potentially impact your suitability to sponsor oversease workers. It can be against you, your organisation, or someone associated with your organisation.
Some common scenarios of this are if your organisation has become insolvent, you or your organisation have been found guilty of an Commonwealth or State or Territory offence, or is being investigated of such an offence.
Adverse information also includes where the business has been found to breach its sponroship obligations.
Do you still have to prove you meet training benchmarks?
With the previous 457 visa scheme, businesses had to prove that they met the training benchmarks. This is no longer the case when applying for an SBS.
Instead of providing evidence that you spend a certain percentage of your payroll on industry training funds or staff training, you now have to pay into the Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) levy instead. The amount you will need to pay depends on your business’ turnover and how many years you would like to nominate and sponsor the employee for. Make sure you are aware of SAF costs and how much you will be required to pay. You will need to pay the SAF at the time of lodgement of the TSS nomination application.
Does an SBS cover multiple businesses?
Once your SBS has been approved it will be linked to your business’ ABN. The business will be able to nominate overseas workers to fulfil positions in the business with the approved SBS or an associated entity of that business. An associated entity is defined in section 50AAAA of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
Determining if your SBS covers different associated entities can be a very complex process and a number of documents may be required. We highly recommend you consult with a Registered Migration Agent or lawyer who will assess the relationships between the entities.
What are your sponsorship obligations?
As an approved standard business sponsor there are a number of sponsorship obligations you must meet in order to ensure overseas workers are not being exploited and are sponsored to fill genuine skill shortages. These obligations include:
- Cooperating with inspectors appointed under the Migration Act 1985
- To not recover, transfer or charge certain costs to the employee or family members
- Inform the Department of Home Affairs of certain changes to your business, or when certain events occur
- Ensure the nominated employee works only in the nominated occupation
- Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices
- Ensure the employee is being paid at least what was stated in the approved nomination, and the employment conditions are equivalent to those of an Australian worker in the same role
This is only a summary of some obligations; you should make sure you understand all of your obligations in detail.
Documents required for an SBS Application
For the SBS application you will need to provide the following documents:
- Evidence that your business is legally established
- Evidence that your business is currently operating
- Written declaration
Proof of legally established businesses
In order to prove your business is legally established you can provide either:
- An Australian Business Number (ABN) registration certificate
- An Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) registration certificate
- Evidence of registration in the country you operate in if you don’t currently operate in Australia
Depending on the legal entity of your business you may need to provide additional documents.
Proof your business is currently operating
For large or established businesses you can provide:
- Profit and loss statements
- Annual reports for the most recently concluded financial year
Businesses that are small or only recently established can provide:
- A tax return for the most recently concluded financial year
- Business activity statements (BAS)
- Recent bank statements
- A letter from the business’ certified Accountant stating that the business is a profitable and ongoing concern
If your business is new you should provide a business plan including contracts to provide services and business bank statements. In addition you can also provide:
- Lease agreements relating to business premises
- Evidence of employing staff
- BAS statements
- Contract of sales relating to the purchase of the business if the settlement has occurred
Finally, if your business isn’t operating in Australia yet you can prove your intention to establish operations in Australia or the need to fulfil contractual obligations in Australia by providing:
- A company or business expansion plan
- Joint venture agreement
- A contract between you and a party in Australia
As part of the application form you will need to attest in writing that you have a strong record or a demonstrated commitment to employing local labour. You will also have to declare that you will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.
What is the process when applying for an SBS?
When applying for an SBS you can either apply yourself online or you can ask a Registered Migration Agent to lodge the application on your behalf. We always advise getting professional assistance, as they will be able to make sure you have provided the correct documents and information required. Incomplete or wrong applications may result in delayed approvals or even refusal which will cost your business money.
The first stage will be to gather the documents we just discussed. If you are using a Registered Migration Agent they will assess these before lodging the application. The next stage is creating an ImmiAccount which you or the agent will need to do online. The documents you gathered will need to be uploaded and Government fees paid.
Renewing an expired SBS
If you hold a current SBS it is recommended that you should apply to renew it two months prior to the current SBS expiring. In the application you will need to declare any changes to your business since your last SBS application.
If your SBS has expired you can simply apply for a new SBS on the basis that you still meet the requirements.
Becoming an accredited sponsor can be very beneficial for some businesses, especially if they often rely on sponsoring employees through the TSS visa scheme. The main advantages of becoming an accredited sponsor are:
- Receiving priority processing for TSS visa nominations and applications
- Labour Market Testing (LMT) can be met through advertising on the company website
- Low risk TSS nominations will receive streamlined processing
Applications through accredited sponsors are currently taking under five days to be approved. This is significantly faster compared to visa applications through a normal SBS, which are currently taking between 44 to 76 days, depending on the occupation being nominated.
In order to become an accredited sponsor you need to apply when creating or renewing your SBS. You will need to meet all of the requirements for the SBS and meet the characteristics for one of the four categories below:
- Category 1: Commonwealth, State and Territory Government agencies
- Category 2: Australian Trusted Traders
- Category 3: Low volume usage and high percentage of Australian workers (at least 85%)
- Category 4: High volume usage and medium percentage of Australian workers (at least 75%)
If you are interested in becoming an accredited sponsor it worth looking at the specific requirements for each of these categories.
The following costs only cover Government fees for the SBS application. If you decide to use a Registered Migration Agent to assist and lodge your application they will charge you a professional fee. This will vary depending on the agent used. Below is a price guide from a few immigration companies.
All prices are in Australian dollars (AUD) and must the application fees must be paid at the time of lodging the application.
|Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS)||$420|
|Professional Fees – Registered Migration agent||$2,000 – $2,400*|
*This range should be used as a guide and are excluding GST
This article has covered the main points required when applying for Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS). It is vital that you ensure you know the process and the documents required before you make your application. Failure to do so may result in a lengthy delay and possible refusal.
Want to speak to a Registered Migration Agent about getting an SBS?
At Visa Jobs we are not Registered Migration agents. If you are interested in applying for an SBS or Accredited Sponsorship and would like to discuss it further with a Registered Migration agent then our affiliated Migration Agents will be able to assist you. If you have created a Free employers account you will also receive their services at a discounted rate of $1,900 not including GST (may slightly vary if you are not an established business).
If you would like an agent to give you a call please send us a message through our contact us, with a brief message explaining a little about your business and that you would like a Migration Agent to contact you and we will pass your details on.