On 14 December 2015, new criminal and civil penalties and visa cancellation provisions were introduced as part of a 'paying for visa sponsorship ' framework that allows for sanctions to be imposed on a person who asks for, receives, offers or provides a benefit in return for visa sponsorship or employment (that requires visa sponsorship).
'Paying for visa sponsorship' conduct is considered unacceptable by the Australian Government as it undermines the integrity of the skilled work programmes, which are designed to address genuine skill shortages in the Australian labour market by making employees available from outside Australia.
It is not acceptable for sponsors, nominators, employers or other third parties to make a personal gain from their position in a 'paying for visa sponsorship' arrangement, nor is it acceptable for current or prospective visa holders to obtain permanent residence in Australia, or have the opportunity to work in Australia by providing a benefit to an employer for a job.
To further strengthen this framework, sponsors, nominators and visa applicants will be required to, as part of the application process, state whether or not they have actively participated in conduct that contravenes the new 'paying for visa sponsorship' laws.
Note: While the legislation was cast broadly to include third-parties such as professional service providers because we were aware of circumstances where unlawful payments have been disguised in the context of fees charged for other professional services, there is no intention of using this legislation to sanction the delivery of legitimate professional services for profit.
Similarly, we have no intention of using this framework to sanction legitimate business activities or to pursue businesses which require visa holders to reimburse costs that are otherwise prohibited from being passed on under the individual visa programme (this does not, however, preclude the pursuit of unlawful activities under more appropriate legislative provisions).
Source : www.border.com.au