Australia
Update: The Skilling Australians Fund is Approved by Senate
May 11, 2018
What has changed
As expected, t he Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy legislation has now passed through the Australian Senate this week, but has yet to be fully implemented. The bill must now pass through Parliament in order to come into effect. No official launch date has been announced but it is very close to implementation. The essential details remain unchanged from previous bulletins . In addition, a further change to Labour Market Testing will be implemented, which increases the period of advertising up to four (4) weeks if no exemption applies.
Who is affected
Clients who would like to employ foreign workers to come to work in Australia.
What to expect
As detailed in previous bulletins, the SAF is a training levy payable by employers sponsoring both temporary and permanent visas. It is intended to fund training of Australian apprenticeships and trainee programs. Religious organizations covered by a Labor Agreement are exempt from this fee.

The applicable levies will be as follows:

Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (482) Nomination
  • Small Business A$1200 per year
  • Large Business (turnover A$10million or over) A$1800 per year

Employer Nomination Scheme visa
  • Small Business A$3000
  • Large Business A$5000

Refund provisions will be available as follows:
  • If the visa is approved but the employee does not start work with the sponsoring employer.
  • If the employer's sponsorship is approved but the employee's visa application is refused due to health or character reasons.
  • If an employee was granted a TSS (482) visa for more than twelve (12) months and ended their employment with within the first twelve (12) months of sponsorship.

Once the SAF is in effect it will replace the current training benchmarks for employers, which required demonstration of sufficient expenditure on training taken as the equivalent of a percentage of the business’s payroll.

Further changes were also announced for Labour Market Testing, which was only recently expanded in March. These additional changes are included in the same bill but not yet in effect:
  • Testing will need to be conducted no more than four (4) months prior to submission of a nomination application.
  • Advertising must run for four (4) weeks, rather than twenty-one (21) calendar days. Exemptions under International Trade Obligations still apply. 

The SAF will be be reviewed in eighteen (18) months’ time. 
What you need to do
  • Clients are urged to stay informed and prepare for the upcoming change.

  • Clients must be mindful of the impact the introduction of the upcoming Skilling Australians Fund will have on costs.

  • Emigra Worldwide will be issuing bulletins with further details in the upcoming days.

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.
         
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