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Managing your Sponsorship Obligations during COVID-19

Sponsorship Obligations during COVID-19

We understand that these are extremely difficult times, and we are working to ensure that we help reduce any uncertainty around the implications for you as a business sponsor and for your visa holders.

Travel bans and restrictions

Please refer to our COVID-19 (Coronavirus​) Immigration Updates page.

Expiring visa holders

If you have visa holders in Australia, whose visa will expire before their intended departure date, they will need to apply for another visa to remain in Australia lawfully. Failure to apply for a further visa will lead to them becoming unlawful and possible detention. If you have a visa holder whose visa is expiring, please contact us for a free consultation to determine the most appropriate visa in the circumstances.

Part-time work and reduced hours

Under the TSS visa program, visa holders are required to be employed on a full-time basis and under current policy, such employment arrangements are expected to continue for the entire period of the TSS visa.

There are circumstances where this policy is not strictly applied, for example, sponsored workers returning from maternity leave or reducing hours due to health reasons, however under current policy a downturn in business activity is not considered an exception. While the government has not yet advised a change to this policy, we suggest that as a minimum:

  • That the sponsored worker remain in their nominated occupation
  • Be paid their guaranteed annual earnings on a pro rata basis
  • That any change in arrangements be documented in writing

Please also note that the decision to make a sponsored worker part-time may affect a future application for Permanent Residency.

Please feel free to contact us for a consultation and for tailored advice.

Redundancies and stand downs

We understand that this may be an extremely difficult decision for your business to make, and we are working to resolve the limitations in the current policy that apply in these circumstances. Under the current policy TSS visa holders who have been made redundant or stood down will be considered to have ceased employment and will be required to find a new sponsor within 60 days. This also triggers a sponsorship notification event, and you will be required to notify the Department of Home Affairs within 10 days of the event occurring.

Please contact us for further advice.

Leave without pay

TSS visa holders on unpaid leave are not automatically considered to be in breach of condition 8607 solely on the basis of this unpaid leave. This is because these visa holders may be considered to continue to be in the employ of the sponsor (although not working or receiving a salary).  To ensure that your business continues to satisfy its sponsorship obligations, and to discuss the best course of action in the circumstances, please contact us for a free consultation.

Visa holders working from home

For 457 and TSS visa holders there are no restrictions in terms of work location, and they will be able to work from home. Employers should maintain records of the physical location of any employee work (i.e. home address).

Where work from home is not possible due to the nature of employment, it may be necessary to look at leave arrangements including paid leave, unpaid leave, sick leave, etc.

We recommend seeking further advice in these circumstances.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not legal advice and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Hammond Taylor does not accept any liability for any damages suffered by persons who rely on the general information provided on this website. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.