One of the stated motivations for the skilled temporary visa reforms is to improve the integrity of the program.
At a time of heightened compliance activity, the Department of Home Affairs is currently focusing its attention on recruitment arrangements of business sponsors. Charging workers directly or indirectly for recruitment costs, may lead to legal and reputational risks for sponsoring employers including:
- Being barred from sponsoring foreign nationals;
- Being publicly identified as a non-compliant employer;
- Civil sanctions including fines;
- Criminal prosecution.
The term “recruitment costs” is not defined in legislation, however, under the policy, such costs are considered to include:
- administrative costs and any sundry costs an employer incurs when they conduct recruitment exercises, including:
- recruitment agent fees;
- the cost of job advertising;
- screening of candidates, short listing, interviews and reference checks;
- salaries of recruitment or human resource staff;
- the cost of outsourcing background checks, police checks and psychological testing, if these relate to an employer determining an applicant’s suitability for the position;
- responding to queries for prospective candidates, and advising unsuccessful applicants;
- travel costs for the sponsor to interview and/or meet the applicant either overseas or in Australia.
Whether other costs incurred in the post-arrival settlement process would be considered “recruitment costs” will require a case by case analysis.
While Ajuria Lawyers is not generally privy to the particular terms of agreement between a sponsor and a recruitment company, or between the recruitment company and a visa applicant, we urge our clients to review their arrangements with recruitment companies, and discuss any concerns with us.
DISCLAIMER This information is current as at 2 May 2018 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.