Australia: Proposed Law Would Increase Enforcement of Immigration Rules

A proposed bill would among other things, allow the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to publish information on employers that are sanctioned for immigration-related violations, use foreign nationals' tax filing numbers for compliance purposes and enter into a legal agreement with a sponsor who has breached its immigration-related obligations. If the Bill is passed, it is expected to come into effect by the end 2017.

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Aug 22, 2017
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A proposed bill would among other things, allow the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to publish information on employers that are sanctioned for immigration-related violations, use foreign nationals' tax filing numbers for compliance purposes and enter into an enforceable undertaking - a legal agreement with a sponsor who has breached its obligations. If the Bill is passed, it is expected to come into effect by the end 2017.

The measures are intended to strengthen the integrity of the subclass 457 visa and its replacement, the Temporary Skill Shortage visa, and to protect Australian and overseas workers.

Proposed Publication of Employer Information
This bill would publish on the Department of Immigration's website information on businesses that have been subject to any of the following actions on or after March 18, 2015:

  • Sponsorship bar
  • Cancellation of sponsorship
  • Civil penalty order
  • Enforceable undertaking
  • Infringement notice
  • Security taken

Businesses that have been subject to counselling or warning notices would not be subject to the proposed rule.

Published information would include the sponsorship obligation that was breached, the sanction imposed and the details of the business.

Enforceable Undertakings
The proposed bill would also include an avenue for the Department of Immigration to force a sponsoring employer to rectify a breach of immigration laws, or other corrective measure, through a binding legal agreement as an alternative to court adjudication. To date, enforceable undertakings have not been used for immigration matters but they are used against companies in other practice areas.

What This Means for Employers
Employers should continue to work with their immigration professional to ensure compliance with sponsorship obligations and other immigration laws, as a proposed bill would publish information about violators, which would affect a company's reputation.

Fragomen will continue to monitor the passage of the Bill and will provide updates as soon as available.
This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to fragomenclientcorrespondence@fragomen.com.

© 2017 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

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