Engaging Foreign Workers to work in your Bakery

Engaging Foreign Workers

The current skills shortage in the Australian baking industry has increased the number of employers considering engaging foreign workers on a sponsored visa. Whilst this can be an effective choice for employers there are some obligations and unique challenges which come with it.

The relevant visa for these workers is the “Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage Visa)”. Employers who sponsor foreign workers under the Subclass 482 visa have a number of obligations they must fulfill, including:

  1. Sponsorship obligations: Employers must comply with the sponsorship obligations for the duration of the visa. This includes notifying the Department of Home Affairs of any changes to the visa holder’s employment, paying associated costs, and keeping records.
  2. Market salary rate: Employers must ensure that the terms and conditions of employment provided to Subclass 482 visa holders are no less favourable than those provided to Australian citizens or permanent residents performing equivalent work in the same workplace. This means that visa holders must be paid no less than the applicable Award rates.
  3. Skilling Australians Fund: Employers who sponsor foreign workers under the Subclass 482 visa must pay a levy to the Skilling Australians Fund. The levy amount varies depending on the size of the sponsoring business and the length of the visa being applied for.
  4. Working conditions: Employers must provide working conditions that are no less favourable than those provided to Australian workers performing equivalent work in the same workplace. This includes providing access to entitlements such as leave, breaks, and allowances mandated by the relevant Award.
  5. Adherence to Australian laws: Employers must comply with all relevant Australian laws, including those relating to workplace health and safety, discrimination, and workplace relations.
  6. Notification obligations: Employers must notify the Department of Home Affairs of certain events, such as when a visa holder ceases employment or when there is a change in the visa holder’s duties or location of work.

It is important for employers to be aware of their obligations when sponsoring foreign workers under the Subclass 482 visa. Failure to comply with these obligations can result in penalties, including fines and sanctions, and may impact future visa applications.

In addition to these obligations, each employer must consider the specific requirements individual employees may have, even if they are not specifically addressed in their application.  In our experience, we have come across situations where workers have come from very populous environments who where then employed to work on remote mine sites and small regional towns.  For these employees, the new environment was too different to what they were used to and caused significant psychological difficulties which required them to return home quite quickly.

Employers should therefore consider the place of origin for their potential employees and how we can try to make their new “home” as comfortable and welcoming as possible.  This may involve engaging in the local community with other immigrants from the same location as your employee, and offering additional contact opportunities with their family back at home via internet access, video calls and telephone access as required. 

When engaging foreign workers there is significant investment in finances as well as time in making this process work, so ensuring your new employee feels comfortable, welcomed and valued will ensure that this investment is not wasted, and you are not having to engage in the process again anytime soon.

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If you have any questions about IR/HR please call the NBIA Membership
Hotline on 1300 557 022 or email the NBIA Membership Officer.