Accredited Sponsors Scheme – Subclass 457 Visas

In 2011, in recognition of the fact that there are many Australian businesses and agencies that have a long and constructive history of sponsoring employees from overseas into specific jobs, then Minister for Immigration Chris Bowen enacted a scheme to allow such employers ‘accredited status’ (Direction no. 52).

In practice, accreditation provides these bodies with three major advantages:

1. An extension of the sponsorship agreement from the standard 3 years to 6 years; and
2. Priority processing in their nomination and visa applications – their applications are processed ahead of standard applications; and
3. streamlined processing of nominations where the nominated base salary is equal to or greater than prescribed amounts (usually the Fair Work High Income Threshold or $75,000).

How do I get my business accredited?

On 1 July 2016, new requirements were introduced to govern these arrangements. Now, in order to apply for accredited status, an organisation must meet a number of specific criteria. These are listed below:

In order to qualify for Accredited Status, a sponsor must meet all the requirements for standard business
sponsorship and have all of the following additional characteristics:

  • be a government agency, a publicly-listed company or a private company with at least AUD four million
    annual turnover for the last three years;
  • have been an active 457 sponsor for at least three years (with no more than a six month break in the past
    36 months), with no adverse information (based on monitoring, including formal warnings and sanctions);
  • have sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to the application for
  • 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 workforce in Australia;
  • engage all 457 holders as employees under a written contract of employment that includes at least the
    minimum employment entitlements as required under the National Employment Standards (unless their
    occupation is exempt from this requirement);
  • a copy of a template contract used for this purpose must be attached to the application;
  • have all Australian employees paid in accordance with an Enterprise Agreement or an internal salary
    table that reflects the current market salary rates for all occupations in their business;
  • a copy of the Enterprise Agreement or internal salary table must be attached to the application in
    addition to evidence and a description of how the business used the evidence to determine that the
    salary rates contained in the document reflect the current market salary rates for occupations in their
    business (for example: Awards, remuneration surveys, job advertisements, the Australian
    Government’s Job Outlook);
  • have provided details of all business activities undertaken by their business to the department;
  • evidence relating to the other business activities must be attached to the application (for example:
    profit / loss statements, Business Activity Statements, annual reports); and
  • have provided details of all Principals / Directors of their business to the department
  • if the business is a company, a current / historical extract from the Australian Securities and
    Investments Commission (ASIC) must be attached to the application.