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  • Alberto Fascetti

482 VISA AND COVID-19 - OPTIONS FOR WORKERS AND EMPLOYERS



We are receiving a lot of calls from employers and 457/482 visa holders worried about the visa consequences of losing their job or reducing their working hours. They all want to do the right thing and not breach their visa conditions.


To clarify all doubts, below we analyse what the 482 visa policy says regarding the following common scenarios:


  • Part-time work

  • Leave Without Pay (LWOP)

  • Travel restrictions and working from home

  • Changing positions

  • Termination of employment

  • Travel costs of returning home




Part-time work

In short, the only scenarios where part-time work would NOT BREACH the sponsorship obligations is in case of:


  • Sick leave

  • Maternity leave

  • Work-related

  • Significant personal reasons


The Department of Home Affairs still has to clarify whether the coronavirus crisis would fall under "Significant personal reasons". We expect some official Department communications in the next weeks.


In any of the above scenarios, there are certain CRITERIA to be met for the part-time work to be COMPLIANT:


  • the visa holder's hourly rate calculated on a pro-rata basis does not decrease

  • the visa holder's duties and responsibilities stay the same

  • the visa holder's is not employed under a Labour Agreement not allowing part-time work

  • the visa holder and the sponsor agree in writing and keep records



Leave without pay (LWOP)


Same as for part-time work, the only scenarios where LWOP work would NOT BREACH the sponsorship obligations is in case of:

  • Sick leave

  • Maternity leave

  • Work-related

  • Significant personal reasons

In general, LWOP should not exceed 3 MONTHS, unless Australian workplace laws provide otherwise.

In any of the above scenarios, there are certain CRITERIA to be met for the LWOP to be COMPLIANT:

  • both the visa holder and the sponsor agree

  • the sponsoring employer has formally the visa holder's application for LWOP



Travel Restrictions and Working From Home

If you've been caught overseas by the travel ban and you cannot come back to Australia, you can still work for your employer overseas and be compliant with your sponsoring obligation if:


  1. you are able to perform your job remotely, and

  2. you and your employer have agreed this in writing, and

  3. you and your employer keep records



Termination of employment

If employment is terminated, sponsoring employers must notify the Department in writing, and the visa holder will have 60 days from his last day of work to:


  • find a new employer who has lodged a new Nomination (lodgement is enough, no need to wait for approval), or

  • obtain a different visa (it's not enough to apply for another visa, it must be granted), or

  • depart Australia


If a visa holder stops working for more than 60 days, his/her visa could be cancelled.

A sponsor is taken to have paid reasonable and necessary costs under regulation 2.80 if:

  • one-way travel costs from the sponsored person’s usual place of residence in Australia to the place of departure from Australia are paid

  • one-way travel costs for all sponsored persons from Australia to the country (for which the person holds a passport), as specified in the written request, are paid

  • the travel costs are paid within 30 days of receiving the written request for costs

  • the travel costs equate to economy class air travel.



Travel cost of returning home

Is the sponsor's obligation to pay for return travel costs for all sponsored persons, including family members of the sponsored person who are on the same visa.


In general, these costs are considered cover one-way travel costs from the sponsored person’s home to the airport, and one-way economy flight tickets from the airpot to the sponsored person’s home country.


In any case, the costs that sponsors must reimburse are only those considered ‘reasonable and necessary’.



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