Money wrapped in a bow

 

Skilling Australians Fund Guide

The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Changes Bill were recently passed by the Australian Senate.

The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy impacts employers sponsoring overseas workers on both temporary and permanent visas.

It has not yet been made into law, but we expect it to be finalised very soon.

What is the Skilling Australians Fund?

The SAF levy will be payable by Australian employers who wish to sponsor overseas workers. The money raised will be used to fund vocational education and training for Australian workers. SAF replaces the ‘training benchmark requirements’ that employers had to meet previously.

How much is it?

The amount payable depends on a few different factors, including the sponsor’s turnover in the 12 months prior to lodgement, and the number of employees being sponsored.

PR visas (186 and 187, TRT and DE) 

  • Turnover greater than $10 million: A one-off fee of $5,000payable at the time the nomination is lodged
  • Turnover less than $10 million: A one-off fee of $3,000 payable at the time the nomination is lodged

TSS/482 visa (MLTSSL, STSOL and RSOL occupations) 

  • Turnover greater than $10 million: $1,800 for each year of the TSS visa, payable at the time the nomination is lodged
  • Turnover less than $10 million: $1,200 for each year of the TSS visa, payable at the time the nomination is lodged

Is the amount capped?

Yes, the Skilling Australians Fund fee is capped.

For the financial year ending 30 June 2018, the capped limit is:

  • $5,500 for permanent residency visa nominations (186 or 187 visas, through Temporary Residency Transition or Direct Entry)
  • $8,000 for TSS visa nominations (regardless of the occupation list)

This at least provides some peace of mind to employers sponsoring multiple candidates.

It’s likely that the capped amount for future financial years will be similar.

Can the money be refunded if things don’t work out?

Things aren’t always plain sailing in the world of visas and, under certain circumstances, the SAF levy can be refunded.

Employers can be refunded if:

  • The employer’s sponsorship application is approved but the employee’s subsequent application is refused on health or character grounds

 

  • The employer’s sponsorship application is refused

 

  • The employer’s sponsorship application is approved but the nomination is refused

 

  • The visa holder does not end up starting work with the employer

 

  • A TSS visa holder resigns within the first 12 months with their employer and their visa period was longer than 12 months. In this case, the refund amount will be calculated based on the outstanding time on the visa. For example, if an employer paid SAF for four years and the employee quits after eight months, the employer will be entitled to a based on the unused portion

 

What about current sponsors?

The levy will apply to all nominations, including those made by sponsors who already employ apprentices or have other training expenditure.

*Please note: This information is all subject to the associated regulations and legislative instruments being put in place, we will update it if details change.

For more information on employer-sponsored temporary visas and employer-sponsored PR, contact True Blue Migration Services today.