If you are looking to apply for a TSS subclass 482 visa, subclass 457 visa, ENS subclass 186 Visa or subclass RSMS 187 visa subclass and you have all of your documents ready to lodge the application, you can avoid the Skilling Australians Fund by lodging it on or before 11 August 2018.
If you still have advertising to complete or have too much work left to do to complete the nomination application before 12 August 2018, it is likely that you will need to pay a contribution to the Skilling Australians Fund Levy.
The Skilling Australians Fund will affect any applications lodged on or after 12 August 2018.
This is going to cause significant additional charges to employers on top of the current application charges.
As we have previously written about, the Skilling Australians Fund is a levy which will be imposed on applications to nominate a foreign worker under a subclass 482, subclass 457, subclass 186 or subclass 187 visa.
How Much Does The New Skilling Australians Fund Levy Cost?
The size of your businesses contribution to the levy will vary based on the particular application, as well as the size of the business.
If you are a small to medium business with turnover of less than $10,000,000, your contribution will be less than for a large business with yearly turnover of $10,000,000 or more.
What Exceptions Are There?
The following kinds of applications are exempted from paying the relevant contribution charge:
- Subclass 482 visas lodged under the Labour Agreement stream
- Subclass 186 visas lodged under the Labour Agreement stream
- If the nomination is for the occupation of Minister of Religion (ANZSCO: 272211) or Religious Assistant (ANZSCO: 451816)
For any of the above applications, the contribution amount is cut down to $0.
Meeting The Training Benchmarks
Any applications lodged before 12 August 2018 will still need to continue to meet their training obligations under the current scheme. If you are currently sponsoring an employee or are planning to lodge a nomination before 12 August 2018, you will need to continue to keep clear records and spend:
- Spend 1% of payroll on the training of your Australian employees, or
- Contribute 2% to a industry training fund
For nominations on or after 12 August 2018, you will no longer need to meet the training benchmarks. It is important to be careful, however, if you have a blend of pre- and post-SAF nominees. If you have an employee who is looking to use the Temporary Residence Transition stream of 186/187 for a permanent application after holding a 457/482 which was nominated pre-SAF, you will need to show at the time of application that the training benchmarks have been met for all the sponsorship years.
There may be some cases of employers with a large payroll and low utilisation of the employer-sponsored migration scheme where the replacement of the Training Benchmarks with the Skilling Australians Fund Levy will bring an advantage.
Can The Nominee / Visa Applicant Pay The Skilling Australians Fund Levy Contribution?
No. Even if they want to, the SAF Levy Contribution has been added to the list of costs which cannot be recovered or transferred to anyone other than the nominating entity (the sponsoring business or organization).
While a lot of the focus is on the Temporary Skills Shortage subclass 482 visa, if you are nominating an employee who already holds a subclass 457 visa and is moving to you from their previous employer, you will still need to contribute to the Skilling Australians Fund Levy.
There is an interesting provision in the Instrument which has provided the date for the Skilling Australians Fund to be brought in. It says that if section 3 of the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Act 2018 does not commence (as it is always possible that things might change), then these regulations will not commence either.
If you are considering nominating an employee, it is important that you keep a very close eye on news about the Fund as the 12 August 2018 draws nearer.
What Will This Mean Overall?
With the increasing financial friction to nominating an employee for an employer-sponsored visa, it is likely that we will continue to see the number of applications under this stream decrease, even faster than we have previously noted.
Comments From Chris Johnston
I expect that the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund on 12 August 2018 is likely to reduce even further the already restricted number of applications we are seeing for employer-sponsored visas. A lot of applications will probably not go ahead because of the Skilling Australians Fund.
While the Department have projected high expected revenue from this levy, the decrease in the number of applications is likely to strongly affect this. These estimates may be out by up to 50%-75% due to the effect of dicincentivisation not being accounted for.
Do you need help with an Australian visa application?
At Work Visa Lawyers we are experienced in assisting applicants in all matters relating to Australian visa applications. Our areas of expertise include Skilled Migration visas, Business Skills Migration visas, Employer Sponsored Work Visas, Partner and other Family Migration visas as well as the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review, Judicial Review and Ministerial Intervention.
If you require further information regarding your Australia visa options you can contact us through:
(08) 8351 9956 or +61 8 8351 9956