TSS Sponsorship Obligations – Taking on more than just an Applicant | AMVL Migrations



When an employer enquires about sponsoring a worker for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa, at some point in the conversation they will inevitably ask “What am I required to do as a sponsor?”.


It would be too simple to say that they just need treat the sponsored worker like they would an Australian employee. Sponsoring a foreign worker is a little more involved than you might expect, but it is not onerous if proper record-keeping practices are in place.

The first step in the TSS application process is for the business to apply to become an approved sponsor which is usually by submitting an application for a Standard Business Sponsorship (SBS). This requires the business to show that they are actively and lawfully operating in Australia, and have no adverse information against the company.  

During the application process, the business makes a number of commitments to the Department of Immigration that are activated once the SBS is approved. Over the life of their sponsorship they are required to abide by nine primary obligations including:


  1. Cooperate with inspectors – Sponsors must comply with requests from Department of Immigration agents and Fair Work agents to provide information and documentation as part of monitoring processes

  2. Ensure equivalent terms and conditions of employment – ensure that the sponsored worker’s wages and employment conditions are at least the same as those offered to an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

  3. Pay travel costs to enable sponsored persons to leave Australia – If the sponsored worker ceases employment, they can make a request in writing for the sponsor to pay reasonable travel costs for them and their dependants to return to their country of origin.

  4. Pay costs incurred by the Commonwealth to locate and remove unlawful non-citizen – the sponsoring business may be required to pay costs incurred by the government in locating and removing a sponsored worker who has let their visa expire and has not left Australia (i.e. they have become ‘unlawful’).

  5. Provide information to Immigration when certain events occur – Immigration must be advised within 28 days of a foreign worker ceasing employment, if there is a change of work duties, a change of business details (trading names, owners/directors, contact details) or of payment for return travel costs.

  6. Ensure primary sponsored person works or participates in nominated occupation – The applicant must work only in the nominated occupation for their visa. If you require the applicant to work in a different occupation then an entirely new application must be lodged.

  7. Must not engage in discriminatory recruitment practices – During the recruitment process, the business must not engage in, or have not engaged in, discriminatory recruitment practices that adversely affect Australian citizens or any other person, based on their visa or citizenship status.

  8. Not to recover, transfer or take actions that result in another person paying for certain costs – The sponsoring business cannot seek to recover costs that relate to the recruitment, sponsorship, or nomination processes, including lodgement fees, migration agent fees, and advertising/recruiter fees.

  9. Keep accurate records – Records must be kept showing your compliance with your sponsorship obligations, as well as records of wages paid to the sponsored worker, superannuation, notifications made to Immigration, and any payments for travel costs.


While most of the obligations are just good work practice, businesses must be aware of the commitments they make when signing up to be a sponsor. We have seen several cases where sponsors have not met their obligations and have been subsequently fined, had a suspension or bar on sponsorship, and/or have been prosecuted, which can have devastating effects on the business and their workers. 

If you would like to discuss becoming a Standard Business Sponsor, or would like a compliance check to ensure your business is meeting the above obligations, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.