It is a criterion for approval as a standard business sponsor under the Temporary Work (Skilled) (Subclass 457) visa program. It includes a requirement to meet a benchmark for the training of Australian citizens and permanent residents (if trading for 12 months or more) or have an auditable plan to meet those benchmarks (if trading for less than 12 months).
Australian businesses sponsoring 457 visa holders must meet at least one of the following training benchmarks:
- expenditure of at least 2 per cent of the payroll of the business, in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business, or
- expenditure of at least 1 per cent of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to Australian employees of the business.
Businesses are required to continue to meet one of these benchmarks for as long as they employ a 457 visa holder and are approved as a sponsor.
DIBP (Department of Immigration and Border Protection) undertake regular checks of businesses that sponsor 457 visa holders to make sure they are complying with all of the sponsorship obligations, including meeting one of the training benchmarks. If during these checks DIBP become aware they (businesses) have not fully met the training requirement, DIBP have a range of options available, including:
- issuing a formal warning
- barring the business for up to five years from sponsoring overseas workers
- cancelling the business’ sponsorship
- issuing an infringement notice to a maximum value of $10 200
- entering into an enforceable undertaking (a court-enforceable undertaking between the minister and sponsor) applying for a civil penalty order with a maximum penalty of $51 000.
The business is not required to demonstrate that they are an industry leader in training.
The business is required to show that the training that has been, and continues to be, provided to employees who are Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents is related to the purpose of the business.
The training benchmarks for an established business are:
Training Benchmark A)
Recent expenditure, by the business, to the equivalent of at least 2% of the payroll of the business, in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business.
Training Benchmark B)
Recent expenditure, by the business, to the equivalent of at least 1% of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to employees of the business.
Expenditure that can count towards this benchmark includes:
- paying for a formal course of study for the business’s employees who are Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents or for TAFE or University students, as part of the organisational training strategy
- funding a scholarship in a formal course of study approved under the Australian Qualifications Framework for the business’s employees who are Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents or, for TAFE or University students, as part of the organisational training strategy
- employment of apprentices, trainees or recent graduates on an ongoing basis in numbers proportionate to the size of the business
- employment of a person who trains the business’s Australian employees who are Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents as a key part of their job
- evidence of payment of external providers to deliver training for Australian employees
- on-the-job training that is structured with a timeframe and clearly identified increase in the skills at each stage, and demonstrating:
- the learning outcomes of the employee at each stage;
- how the progress of the employee will be monitored and assessed;
- how the program will provide additional and enhanced skills;
- the use of qualified trainers to develop the program and set assessments; and
- the number of people participating and their skill/occupation
Expenditure that cannot count towards this benchmark includes training that is:
- delivered on-the-job, other than on the job training which meets the requirements outlined above under the heading ‘expenditure that can count towards this benchmark’
- confined to only one or a few aspects of the businesses broader operations, unless the training is in the primary business activity
- only undertaken by persons who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents
- only undertaken by persons who are principals in the business or their family members
- only relating to a very low skill level having regard to the characteristic and size of the business.