A high number of Australian businesses recruit overseas workers to fill positions when they find it hard to recruit Australians in such positions. The percentage of these overseas workers can vary depending on the type of business and the location of the business.
Most businesses are under the impression that they have to worry about Immigration laws only if they sponsor any overseas worker or in many cases, the thinking is they only have to worry about the person whom they have sponsored.
This is not the case. Immigration laws are applicable for any employee who is not an Australian permanent resident or an Australian citizen working for the business. This includes international students, people on working holiday visas and on a number of other visas which allow them to work with varying conditions and restrictions in Australia.
As a Small Business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that every employee working for you has appropriate working rights. Furthermore, if you have sponsored anyone on temporary working visas, you need to meet a number of ongoing sponsorship obligations.
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By taking the following steps, you can ensure that your business is compliant with the Immigration laws:
- Ensure that every temporary visa holder you are recruiting has appropriate working rights -You can check the working rights of every person through “VEVO” available on the Department of immigration’s website.
- Have appropriate internal policies and procedures in place to ensure you check working rights of every employee at appropriate intervals – the Department of Immigration recommends once every three months is appropriate.
- Know how the national workforce relations system works with temporary workers and migrant worker engagement laws – The working rights of an overseas worker are no different to an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Terms and conditions of employment must be according to Fairwork Australia.
- Know what your lawful employer sponsorship obligations are – The obligations would have been provided by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection when approving your business to be able to sponsor overseas workers. You can also request for the list of obligations to be provided by your migration consultant or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
- If your business needs the skills of an overseas worker, sponsoring them for work visas will ensure they have full time work rights and can work in a specific position as required by your business. They will not be restricted by any work conditions that might otherwise stop them from fulfilling their job duties.
Breach of any employment and immigration laws can be very expensive and sometimes result in closure of the business. Heavy fines are issued to each senior executive in the business and sanctions are placed on the businesses by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection which has combined forces with Fairwork Australia to ensure appropriate employment conditions are available to every person that works in an Australian business.
Overseas workers bring in a variety of skills to the business. It is no longer affordable or efficient to operate a business by ignoring employment laws and immigration laws or worst not recruiting overseas workers for the purpose of being cautious.
By having proper policies and procedures in place for the recruitment of overseas workers, you will not only ensure your business is compliant with immigration laws but also increase the efficiency of the business.