The nomination ceiling is the limit of positions that a 457 sponsor is allowed to nominate under the 457 program.
The PAM3 - Sponsorship applicable to Division 3A of Part 2 of the Act – Sponsorship was amended on 14 February 2014 to remove references to sponsorships ending on the event of the number of approved nominations (the nomination ceiling) being reached.
Policy relating to Reg 2.63(2) now refers only to the end date of approval of the sponsorship as the expiry of the approval.
Sponsorships approved after the 14 February 2014 will be able to keep making nominations, after the requested number of nominations has been reached, as long as the three year sponsorship approval is still valid.
Sponsorship approved before the 14 February changes will still be subject to the sponsorship ceilings, and will cease once the ceiling is reached.
Reaction from Interest Groups:
Various media have reported the change as the opening of a loophole or similar negative event.
Commentary by Chris Johnston:
The removal of the Sponsorship ceiling does not mean that 457 visa applications and 457 sponsors will be without appropriate conditions and monitoring.
The nomination ceiling was only one of the many limitations and check that are part of the 457 process. The 457 is still subject to many criteria designed to protect Australian workers and Australian wage standards. These include that the salary for the nominated position must be above the TSMIT, which is currently $53,900.00. Another protection is the requirement that the salary be at the Market Salary paid to equivalent Australian workers.
The Department of Immigration monitors 457 sponsors to make sure that the approved 457 conditions are met by the employer. If breaches are found then sponsorship bars, sanctions and fines can be imposed.
The 457 ceiling has previously been introduced and then subsequently removed. So the cycle of changes continues.