The TSS visa program allows employers to sponsor overseas workers for skilled positions in an Australian or overseas business.
The process to sponsor an overseas worker is:
- the employer applies for approval as a TSS Standard Business Sponsor (SBS)
- the employer nominates a position for approval under the TSS visa scheme (Nomination)
- the visa applicant (the nominee) applies for a TSS visa (Visa)
When a business applies for approval as a TSS Standard Business Sponsor they make the application under the Migration Act and Regulations and must meet stringent legal criteria both to become an approved sponsor and will have ongoing sponsorship obligations for the period of the approval.
The basic criteria for approval as a TSS Standard Business Sponsor is:
- Lawfully operating a business. The business should be registered for tax purposes and have an ABN. The TSS scheme is available for all types of business, including small business with or without employees and different entities such as company, partnership or trust.
- No adverse business history. Businesses must demonstrate that they: do not have a history of non-compliance with immigration and workplace laws, have not sought payment from visa applicants for sponsorship or to recover costs of the application process, and a demonstrated commitment to non-discriminatory employment practices/employing local labour.
Approval as a TSS Standard Business Sponsor will generally be approved for 5 years where the business has traded for more than 12 months.
Businesses must comply with ongoing Sponsorship Obligations under the Migration Regulations, including: meeting training benchmark expenditure each year, advising the Department of Immigration of any changes to the business and position, keep records, ensure primary sponsored person works in the nominated occupation, not to recover, transfer or take actions that would result in another person paying for certain costs etc.
Nomination of the Skilled Position
As an approved TSS Standard Business Sponsor, the employer is able to nominate
positions for approval by the Department of Immigration. The basic criteria for approval of a nominated position is:
- the nominated occupation is on the MLTSSL or STSOL occupation list and the duties of the position match the description as per the ANZSCO dictionary
- the business sponsor will be the direct employer and provide a signed employment contract that complies with relevant legislation
- the nominated position is a genuine position in the business which is an important and complex issue at this stage. It is assessed on a case-by-case basis. More evidences are required for specific occupation such as Restaurant Manager or Cook.
- market salary for the position is above the minimum salary level of $53,900.00 (TSMIT) and the terms and conditions offered to the TSS worker are at least equivalent to those offered to Australian
Labour market testing requirements are also assessed at this stage of the process, if applicable. Generally Labour Market Testing requirements are particularly relevant to trade, nursing and engineer occupations.
TSS Visa Application: Key Criteria
The key criteria for the TSS visa applicant is that they must have skills to perform the nominated role, which means a formal qualification or equivalent years of relevant work experience in the nominated position and a level of English language ability to meet the TSS visa standard.
The key criteria for a TSS visa applicant are:
- Qualification or equivalent relevant work experience as set out for the nominated occupation in the ANZSCO dictionary (generally at or above trade qualification, diploma or degree level or equivalent years of employment experience)
- English language ability (IELTS overall score of 5.0 with no less than 4.5 in 4 bands or equivalent acceptable test or exempt)
- Meet health criteria and obtain health insurance for the period of the visa
- Meet character and other public interest criteria
A TSS visa is generally granted for a period of 4 years for occupations on the MLTSSL and 2 years for occupations on the STSOL. The TSS visa is not a general work visa for Australia rather it is a visa granted to work for a specified employer in a specified occupation for a specified period of time. The TSS visa is granted subject to conditions, including condition 8107 which requires the applicant to work for the nominated employer in the nominated position.
Where the TSS visa holder ceases employment for more than 60 days then the visa may be subject to cancellation by the Department of Immigration. During the 60 days the TSS visa holder may find a new sponsor and after a nomination application is lodged and approved, may be able to transfer the TSS visa to the new sponsor.