Even during the pandemic, visa holders were a key part of Australia’s workforce in almost all sectors. Many migrants arrive on Skills or Employer Sponsored visas. The most common sponsored employment visa is the subclass 482 visa.

But what happens when the employment relationship between a sponsor and the visa holder breaks down? Or what if the sponsoring employer goes into liquidation, leaving it no choice but to lay off its workforce (including visa holders)?

For a subclass 482 visa holder (or other sponsored visa holder) this can lead to some very difficult situations, and Australian migration law leaves little room for understanding. Under the current law, from the day that the Department of Home Affairs receives notice that the employment relationship has come to an end, a subclass 482 visa holder has 60 days to find another employer to sponsor them on that class of visa, before their visa is cancelled. In practical terms this is almost impossible.

If this applies to you, and you wish to stay in Australia, there are two options available :

  • You could apply for a points-tested skilled visa. Depending on your profession, you may be eligible for a ‘points-tested’ visa – either independently or through state sponsorship. Both temporary and permanent skilled visas are available, depending on your skill set and your current location. Of course, whether this is possible also depends on whether there is enough time remaining on the original visa to lodge an application onshore.
  • If you migrated with your spouse as an ‘additional applicant’, they may in fact have the skills that would entitle them to a visa independently. They can then include you, the original primary applicant, as an ‘additional applicant’.

If worst comes to worst, and you lose your job, it is worth knowing that:

  • There is nothing prohibiting you from returning to Australia at a future point in time, either on a sponsored 482 visa for a different employer, or on another visa.
  • Where the employment relationship comes to an end before the expiry date of the subclass 482 visa, the employer is liable to pay ‘reasonable and necessary’ travel costs for the sponsored employee and their family members to depart Australia.
  • Visa holders who depart Australia are entitled to receive a lump sum payment of the superannuation payments that were paid by their employer on their behalf (known as the ‘Departing Australia Superannuation Payment’), which can in many cases be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. Please note that this cannot be applied for until after the applicant has left Australia.

How Can We Help?

Snedden Hall & Gallop have extensive experience advising visa holders about their rights and responsibilities in Australia, and are available to assist. To discuss your situation, contact our Migration Team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.