An immigration audit is an internal business review of employees that hold Australian visas, whether they are sponsored and unsponsored, in order to ensure that all visa holders continue to hold the requisite right to work in their role for the employer.
This includes checking visa status, visa conditions, employment conditions, and any record keeping/reporting obligations owed to the Department are adequately maintained.
What is an immigration audit for employer sponsorship visas and corporate visas?
It is important that businesses conduct an audit every quarter to ensure they are able to produce records if they receive a request from the Department of Home Affairs and to ensure they are not breaching the Migration Act. There can be severe business and personal penalties for breaching the Migration Act.
WLW offers immigration auditing services to ensure businesses remain compliant with the Migration Act and to advise how to deal with any issues of non-compliance.
We also regularly complete immigration audits as part of the due diligence process in company merger and acquisition deals. It is important for businesses looking to acquire or merge with another company to understand if there are any potential risks relating to sponsorship non-compliance due to the severe nature of the penalties that can be imposed.
What are an employer’s sponsorship obligations for corporate visas in Australia?
A comprehensive list of sponsorship obligations for employers sponsoring visa holders in Australia can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website. Some of the key obligations include:
- Notify the Department of Home Affairs when there are certain changes to your business
- Notify the Department of Home Affairs if your sponsored visa holder leaves employment or the nature of the employment changes
- Ensure that the sponsored visa holder works only in the nominated occupation
- Ensure equivalent terms and condition of employment are met
- Not engage in discriminatory practices
- Keep detailed records to demonstrate compliance with your sponsorship obligations
- Provide these records and information as requested
- Assume all the costs associated with becoming a sponsor
- Payment of reasonable travel costs of the sponsored visa holder and their family
- Pay costs to locate and remove unlawful non-citizens
- Cooperate with inspectors
Why is an immigration audit important for employers in managing employer sponsorship visas and ensuring compliance?
Ensuring your company’s records and compliance are up-to-date and complete is important for employers in case of an audit by the Department of Home Affairs. Employing staff without the requisite work rights, failing to maintain adequate records, and failing to report important changes in employment of sponsored staff can result in potential penalties for employers ranging from cancellation of a Standard Business Sponsorship to significant financial penalties and even criminal penalties.