On 19 April 2016, a number of legislative changes regarding the subclass 457 visa programme came into effect. The main changes are outlined below.
Non-discriminatory recruitment practices
Business sponsors will now be subject to a new enforceable obligation to not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices as part of the wider sponsorship obligations –
- sponsors must declare in writing that they will not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices; and
- must comply with a new obligation not to engage in discriminatory recruitment practices.
‘Discriminatory recruitment practice’ has been defined to mean a recruitment practice that directly, or indirectly, discriminates against a person based on the immigration status or citizenship of the person, other than a practice engaged in to comply with a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.
Effectively, this means that previous ‘attestation provisions’ are now binding on standard business sponsors operating in Australia.
Simplification of English language exemptions
From 19 April 2016, 457 visa applicants are exempted from the Department’s English language testing requirements if they have already met the same, or better, English language requirements to gain an occupational registration or license.