Businesses that employ overseas workers on 457 visas must also actively contribute to training Australian workers, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection has said.

It is reminding people that significant changes to the 457 visa programme that came into play almost a year ago should be taken on board.

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Employers participating in the 457 visa scheme must contribute funds to train Aussie workers​

A spokesman said that there should be no excuse for not complying. 'As it stood prior to the changes on 1 July 2013, businesses have always needed to show they actively contribute to the training of Australian workers,' the spokesman explained.

This means that businesses need to demonstrate that they have spent, in the 12 months prior to applying to be a sponsor, specific amounts on either training their own Australian employees, or provided funds to an industry training fund in the industry they operate in.

Since 01 July 2013, the training obligation takes this a step further by requiring businesses in the programme to continue contributing to the training of Australians for the entire time they are approved as a sponsor and employ 457 visa holders.

Australian businesses sponsoring 457 visa holders must meet at least one of the following training benchmarks: expenditure of at least 2% of the payroll of the business, in payments allocated to an industry training fund that operates in the same industry as the business, or expenditure of at least 1% of the payroll of the business, in the provision of training to Australian employees of the business.

Businesses are also required to continue to meet one of these benchmarks for as long as they employ a 457 visa holder and are approved as a sponsor.

The DIBP undertakes regular checks of businesses that sponsor 457 visa holders to make sure they are complying with all of the sponsorship obligations, including meeting one of the training benchmarks.

'If during these checks we become aware they have not fully met the training requirement, we have a range of options available to us, including a formal warning, barring the business for up to five years from sponsoring overseas workers and cancelling the business' sponsorship,' the spokesman said.

The DIBP can also issue an infringement notice to a maximum value of $10,200, enter into an enforceable (a court-enforceable undertaking between the minister and sponsor) and apply for a civil penalty order with a maximum penalty of $51,000.