Short term international academic engagements

The University's international vision is to work "for the benefit of Australia and the wider world, attracting the best and brightest staff and students".

This information has been developed to provide hiring managers with options for bringing international academics to the University of Sydney for short term regular (repeated) periods. This will allow an academic the flexibility to serve part of the year in Sydney and part of the year in their overseas institution.

Engagement options

The nature of the role, the duration of the engagement (short or long term) and the remuneration (paid or unpaid) will determine whether the individual should be engaged as a staff member or an affiliate.

Employment

  • a. Fixed term (paid)
  • b. Part year (paid)

Affiliation

  • a. Independent Contractor/Consultant (paid)
  • b. University to University Collaborative Exchange (unpaid)
  • c. Visiting or Honorary Appointment (unpaid)
  • d. Occupational Trainee Subclass (unpaid)

Engaging the academic as a staff member

How to bring academics from overseas to the University of Sydney for short term, repeated periods, enabling an ongoing working relationship.

Employer obligations

Under an employment relationship the individual is engaged under the Enterprise Agreement or an individual common law contract and is paid via payroll.

To be engaged as a staff member, the individual will require a subclass 457 (or other relevant visa) and must meet Australia’s Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) - the minimum annual salary is $53,900 as at 1 July 2013.

As the sponsoring employer, the University will be required to meet a number of obligations associated with subclass 457 which includes notifying the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of any changes to their circumstances. The supervisor is required to notify the Immigration and Relocation Team - HR Service Centre within 5 days of those changes occurring.

Employment options

The two employment options outlined below have received favourable responses by DIAC, however, prior to finalising any offer of employment it is recommended that the proposal be reviewed by the Immigration and Relocation Team to ensure that any current approaches by DIAC are acknowledged and considered.

Employment options

Considerations

a) Fixed term employment

Visa: Temporary Resident subclass 457

  • Receives a salary from the University for the pre-determined fixed term period/s.
  • Each period of fixed term engagement will require a new fixed term employment contract and new subclass 457 visa. Refer to: Enterprise Agreement Fixed term categories.
  • To meet the TSMIT threshold, the staff member will normally have to be employed on a full time basis for the period they are physically located in Australia.
  • The University may need to consider additional costs such as fringe benefit tax liabilities for any benefits provided.

b) Part year employment

Visa: Temporary Resident subclass 457

  • Receives a salary (which must be paid at a full time rate) from the University of Sydney for the part/s of the year they are working at the University.
  • Can be an ongoing appointment or, for a specified period of years with the same pattern of part year work and Leave Without Pay (LWOP).
  • The University is legally responsible for the staff member while they are located in Australia and the staff member must not be located in Australia during the periods of LWOP.
  • The University may need to consider additional costs such as fringe benefit tax liabilities for any benefits provided.

The following employment structures are currently not permitted by DIAC:

  • payment of averaged or annualised salary over the whole year but only attending the University for a specified period during the year;
  • payment of a salary less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT);
  • employment of a staff member holding a visa that does not contain work rights.

The individual may be eligible for:

  • Relocation expenses (refer to the Relocation Policy) and compulsory superannuation;
  • Relocation expenses associated with accompanying family members may be supported for the first visit only;
  • The University, as the employer, will administer fortnightly payroll payments, superannuation contributions, PAYG withholding tax and on-costs such as Workcover premiums, payroll tax and relevant insurances.
  • If the academic is an Australian permanent resident or citizen who maintains an ownership interest in property in Australia may, if they meet certain eligibility criteria, be paid or salary package a Living Away From Home Allowance/benefit.

Individual obligations:

  • Seek personal taxation advice both in the home country and in Australia to ensure that they remain compliant in both jurisdictions;
  • Apply for an Australian Tax File Number and provide the relevant notification to the University;
  • Open an Australian bank account; and
  • Obtain appropriate health insurance in line with their visa conditions or health risk assessment.

When considering an employment option, hiring managers should also consider

  • Appointee’s status at their overseas University, e.g. are they on leave;
  • Ensure there is no conflict of commitment/interest between the individual’s role at the University and their role at their home institution;
  • Clarify communication arrangements during the period they are not working at the University;
  • Arrange access to the University systems eg myHRonline if they will be required to access systems during the period they will not be located at the University;
  • Availability and funding of appropriate accommodation for period/s of engagement which is subject to the Faculty or School's discretion.

Engaging the academic as an affiliate

How to bring academics from overseas to the University of Sydney for short term, repeated periods, enabling an ongoing collaborative relationship.

Where employment is not an option, an affiliation may be an appropriate form of engagement. Refer to the Affiliates Policy. The University will be required to meet a number of obligations associated with each visa type.

The supervisor is responsible for notifying the Immigration and Relocation Team - HR Service Centre of any changes to the individual's circumstances within 5 days of those changes occurring.

Affiliation options

Considerations

PAID OPTION

a) Independent  Contractor/Consultant 

(individual to invoice the University for services and paid  via accounts payable)   

  • For engagement of independent contractors based outside Australia, advice should initially be sought from the HR Relationship Group for Office of General Counsel advice.
  • To engage an independent contractor - a standard supply agreement needs to be completed (refer to your HR Advisor) as well as a Purchase order with set amount of payment, hours and allowances.
  • Individual is paid via an authorised invoice forwarded to accounts payable.  Payment for their work will be made in Australian dollars and may be made into overseas bank account.
  • Individual must organise their own visa which legally enables them to work in Australia on a contract basis and be paid for that work (not a visa sponsored by the University).
  • The University may need to consider on-costs such as payroll tax liabilities, fringe benefits tax liabilities for any benefits provided and whether PAYG withholding is required.  Tax advice may need to be sought.

UNPAID OPTIONS

b)  University to University Collaborative Exchange 

Training and Research Subclass 402 visa - Research stream

  • The individual remains employed by the home country University and continues to receive a salary, leave etc and social security entitlements from them.  The affiliate is not employed, or remunerated, by the University of Sydney.  The University of Sydney may contribute financially under the collaborative agreement via payments made to the home University at an agreed amount.
  • The collaboration is covered via a University to University agreement (refer to your HR Advisor for OGC customised templates).  DVC International must be consulted and engaged in the arrangements at the negotiation stage to ensure unexpected legal issues are resolved prior to signing any agreement.  Seek tax advice where the arrangement includes recharging of expenses or payment to the home university. 
  • Under the subclass 402 visa the individual must not work or be paid by the University. The individual is required to collaborate with and/or observe Australian based research. 

c) Visiting or Honorary Appointment 

Training and Research Subclass  402 visa - Research stream

  • Non-remunerated appointment, individual remains employed as a staff member of home University/Institution.
  • The individual is required to collaborate with and/or observe Australian based research. The individual can obtain a subclass 402 visa for up to 12 months, with the possibility of an extension of a further 12 month period. 

d) Training and Research  

Training and Research subclass  402 visa - Occupational Trainee stream  

  • For affiliates who will be offered structured or workplace based training.  This may be appropriate for current student in an overseas institution, a recently graduated student or workplace training/research (international visitor).

The individual is eligible for:

  • Reimbursement of fees;
  • Travel and living expenses;
  • Allowances (to be specified in contract);
  • Relocation expenses associated with accompanying family members may be supported for the first visit only;
  • May be offered a conferred academic title subject to the Honorary Titles policy.

The affiliate will need to seek personal taxation advice both in their home country and in Australia to ensure that they remain compliant in both jurisdictions.