February has proved to be a quiet month, with lots of parliamentary debate but very few bills passed. Nonetheless, there’s always something going on somewhere, so here’s our wrap up of recent events.
If your clients would like to know more, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help get the word out.
It’s time to start preparing for the changes to temporary visa program that will come into effect in March. The new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa will replace the 457 visa stream. It’s likely that the changes may cause some delays, so if your clients are planning on hiring any foreign workers they should start the visa process as soon as possible. It’s also important that your clients review the employment contracts of existing foreign workers to make sure they meet the new legal requirements.
Relevant to: Anyone who hires foreign workers
ASIC has released guidelines that will help Australian financial services licensees manage any conflicts of interest or inside information they may have with sell-side research. The guidelines look at each stage of the capital raising process and outline how to manage conflicts that may arise. The industry has until 1 July 2018 to comply with the guidelines.
Relevant to: Any clients who hold an AFSL and engage in sell-side research
ASIC has also released guidelines about how the risk management systems that responsible entities are required to have in place. The guidelines were developed after consultation with industry. Responsible entities must genuinely try to comply with the guidelines by March 2018.
Relevant to: Any clients who are responsible entities or operate managed discretionary accounts, investor directed portfolio services or unregistered managed investment schemes.
Property and real estate
From 1 February, foreign investors must satisfy a new test for FIRB approval when purchasing rural land. The sale of the Kidman estate is a contributing factor to the new rules, which require proof of an open and transparent sales process.
Relevant to: Foreign investors, real estate agents and anyone giving financial advice to foreign nationals interested in agricultural land.
The Fair Work Act 2009 has been amended to allow qualifying employees to take up to 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave per calendar year, or 2 days per permissible occasion.
Relevant to: All employers and any potentially affected employees