The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Sponsorship Obligations

Ariel Brott

NOTE: The below is a simplified version of Sponsorship obligations for TSS Sponsors. These may not cover all scenarios and apply to all situations. Sponsorship obligations may also vary as they apply to TSS and 457 visa holders. More detailed information can be found here.



When it applies

Cooperate with inspectors

Sponsors must cooperate with appointed inspectors who are investigating whether:

  • Sponsorship obligations have been complied with
  • A Sponsor has hired an illegal worker
  • Any other reason

A Sponsor may need to provide access to their premises, produce documents within certain timeframes, provide an interview and not do anything to prevent an inspection.

Starts on the day the Sponsorship is approved.

Ends five years after the day the approved Sponsorship ends.

Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment

If the salary for the nominated role is below $250,000 per annum:

  • The annual earnings of the person sponsored must not be less than:
  • The salary indicated at the time the nomination was approved
  • The earnings that an equivalent Australian worker earns or would earn
  • The employment conditions received by the sponsored person must not be less favourable than those that are received, or would be received by an equivalent Australian worker.

Starts on whichever is earlier:

  • When the sponsored person is granted a TSS visa
  • The nomination transfer is approved (if they already hold a TSS or subclass 457 visa)

Ends either:

  • On the day the sponsored visa holder stops working for the Sponsor
  • The sponsored worker is granted a further visa other than another TSS visa (or a bridging visa)

Keep records

A Sponsor must keep records to show their compliance with the obligations. Records that need to be kept include the following:

  • Written requests for payment of outward travel costs for a sponsored visa holder (or their family), including when the request was received
  • How the outward travel costs were paid, how much was paid, for whom they were paid, and when they were paid
  • Any notification of an event required to be reported to us
  • Tasks performed by the sponsored visa holder in the nominated occupation and where the tasks were performed
  • Money paid to the sponsored visa holder (unless salary is over AUD250,000)
  • Any money applied or dealt with in any way on behalf of the sponsored visa holder as they directed (unless salary is over AUD250,000)
  • Any non-monetary benefits provided to the sponsored visa holder, including agreed value and when provided (unless salary is over AUD250,000)
  • If there is an equivalent worker, record of T&C that apply to that worker (unless salary is over AUD250,000)
  • Contract of employment for each sponsored visa holder
  • If an Australian business approved prior to 12 August 2018, evidence of complying with the training obligation
  • If party to a work agreement, records required to be kept under the work agreement

Starts on the day the Sponsorship is approved.

Ends two years after:

  • Sponsorship ceases
  • Sponsor no longer has a sponsored visa holder

Notify when certain events occur

A Sponsor must keep records to show their compliance with the obligations. Records that need to be kept include the following:

  • Legal name
  • Trading name
  • Registration details
  • Business structure
  • Ongoing communication contact
  • Owners/Directors/Principals/Partners
  • Business address

A Sponsor must also notify Immigration of business changes such as:

  • Insolvency / bankruptcy / receivership / liquidation / administration
  • Cessation of existence as a legal entity

A Sponsor must also notify of changes to the sponsored person, such as:

  • Cessation of employment
  • Changes in duties
  • If the sponsored person did not commence employment
  • Information regarding the training requirement

For the most part, changes need to be notified within 28 days. Notifications should be sent via email to


Visa holder to work in nominated occupation only

The sponsored person must participate only in the occupation for which the Sponsor nominated them.

If a Sponsor wants to employ a visa holder for a different occupation, they must lodge a new nomination application.

Starts on the day the visa of the sponsored person is granted. If they already hold a visa when the nomination is lodged, obligation starts on the day the nomination is approved.

Ends on whichever is earliest:

  • Visa holder has a Nomination approved for another approved sponsor
  • Visa holder is granted another substantive visa of a different type (unless that other visa is a bridging visa)
  • Visa holder has left Australia and visa is no longer in effect

Not recover, transfer or charge certain costs to another person

A Sponsor must not take any action that would result in the transfer or charging of costs (including Migration Agent costs) to another person, including the visa holder or their family members. This includes costs that relate to:

  • Recruitment of the person you sponsored
  • Becoming a sponsor
  • The Nomination and Migration Agent costs

Starts on the day the Sponsorship is approved.

Ends on the following two events:

  • Approved Sponsorship ceases
  • Sponsor no longer employs visa holders

Pay travel costs to enable sponsored people to leave Australia

A Sponsor must pay reasonable and necessary travel costs to enable a visa holder and their sponsored family members to leave Australia. They must ask the Sponsor in writing. Immigration can also make a written request on their behalf.

Reasonable and necessary costs include all of the following:

  • Travel from the usual place of residence in Australia to their place of departure from Australia
  • Travel from Australia to the country of passport
  • Economy class air travel or a reasonable equivalent

Travel costs must be paid within 30 days of receiving a request.

Travel will only need to be paid once. If a sponsored person returns to Australia (whilst holding the same visa) after you have paid their return travel costs, you will not need to pay again.

Starts on the day:

  • Visa is granted (if not a nomination transfer)
  • Nomination is approved (if the person a nomination transfer)

Ends on whichever is earliest:

  • Another Sponsor transfers the Sponsorship of the visa holder
  • Another visa (other than a TSS visa or a bridging visa) is granted to the sponsored person
  • The sponsored person has left Australia and the relevant visa (and any subsequent bridging visa) is no longer in effect

Pay costs to locate and remove an unlawful non-citizen

If a sponsored person (or any of their sponsored family members) becomes unlawful, a Sponsor might be required to pay costs incurred by the government to locate or removing them from Australia.

Starts on the day the person sponsored becomes unlawful.

Ends five years after they leave Australia. This means that Immigration might, up to five years after the sponsored person has left Australia, require payment of the costs!

Provide training to Australians and permanent residents

Australian-based Sponsors must contribute to the training of Australians by either:

  • Spending an equivalent of at least two per cent of payroll to an industry training fund OR
  • Spending an equivalent to at least one per cent of payroll training Australians

Starts on the day of sponsorship approval, and must be met each year the Sponsor employs a visa holder.

Ends either:

  • 5 years after sponsorship approval (for Standard Business Sponsors)
  • 6 years after sponsorship approval (for Accredited Business Sponsors)

Not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices

Australian-based Sponsors must not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices that adversely affect Australian citizens.

Our many years of experience means we understand how the Department of Immigration, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and other decision-makers analyse applications; we understand where they exercise discretions and where they will not. We know which strategies work and which don’t. We know which information to provide, and which to ignore.

We also have access to resources and information outside the reach of the general public. As such, we know the difference between the law and what DIBP says is the law. When DIBP puts out a statement on their website, we know what they really mean. And when DIBP publishes a checklist, our lawyers know how to read between the lines.

Our experience and expertise means that we are often in a position to help people who, based on poor advice or inadequate representation, might otherwise have assumed their case is hopeless.