457 visa holders must be paid at the applicable “market rate”. The market rate depends on the occupation and location of the employee. Evidence must be provided by the employer as to what the market rate is for the occupation, unless the base salary is over $250,000.
SALARY THRESHOLD FOR MARKET RATE SALARY ASSESSMENT EXEMPTION
For employees to be paid above $250,000, no evidence is required to establish that the employee is being paid at the market rate.
CALCULATION OF MARKET RATE
If the salary level is below $250,000, employers must provide evidence that the salary is in accordance with market rates for the position.
The applicable rate will depend on whether there is an Australian working in an equivalent position in the same location. Reference can be made to what the salary level is in other workplaces (ie competitors) operating in the same location.
If so, then a comparison is made between the gross incomes of the Australian and the employee to be sponsored. Benefits such as a car allowance can be taken into consideration, but items whose value cannot be estimated ahead of time, such as reimbursements, cannot be counted.
If there is no Australian working in a similar position in the location, then the following will need to be taken into consideration in assessing the market rate:
Any applicable industrial awards
Local knowledge sourced from unions or employer associations
Earnings data published by the ABS or market surveys
Recent job ads for equivalent positions
TEMPORARY SKILLED MIGRATION INCOME THRESHOLD (TSMIT)
For a nomination to be approved, the base salary must be at least equal to the TSMIT (Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold) – currently $53,900.
If the market rate for the occupation is less than the TSMIT, then the nomination will not be approved even if the salary offered is higher than the TSMIT. This is intended to stop employers artificially “inflating” salaries for positions requiring a lower level of skill.