Australian Senate Approves Skilling Australians Fund Levy Legislation

The Australian Senate has recently passed the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy legislation aimed at developing a fund to provide training for Australians. This legislation is part of a larger group of initiatives that will change requirements for employers who would like to employ foreign workers to come to work in Australia. The SAF requires employers who sponsor temporary or permanent visas to pay levies. The SAF, while not yet fully implemented, is on track for implementation once the bill passes through Parliament.

The Skilling Australians Fund is seen as an important part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the private sector, growing the number of apprenticeships and traineeships and working in partnership with state and territory governments. The purpose of the SAF levy is to require employers who want to hire foreign workers to contribute to the skills development of Australians. This ensures those businesses that benefit from employing skilled foreign workers will also support training for Australians.

What are the key features of the Skilling Australians Fund legislation?

The SAF is designed to provide funds for Australian trainee and apprentice programs. When the legislation goes into effect, it will replace the current training requirement for employers. Currently, employers must demonstrate they are spending a sufficient amount of their business’s payroll on training programs.

Visa programs for which the levy will be assessed include:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186) visa
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187) visa

The applicable levies will be assessed in the following manner:

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

Additional changes in the legislation impact Labor Market Testing requirements. The changes included in the legislation require the following:

  • Conduct testing no more than four months prior to submission of a nomination application
  • Advertising must increase and run for four weeks, instead of the current 21 days

What should employers expect with this legislation?

Employers who have plans to hire foreign workers for positions in Australia should prepare for upcoming changes in labor market testing and advertising requirements. Employers should also plan for increased budgetary impacts due to the new SAF levy.

What should employers do?

Employers should review their hiring plans for foreign workers in Australia to determine timeframes for labor market testing and position advertising. Employers should also review the budget impact of the new SAF levy as it applies to temporary and permanent visa sponsorships.

Conclusion

Global Mobility Solutions’ team of global relocation experts have helped thousands of our clients with country-specific employment and work pass requirements. We can help your company understand how to plan for the SAF levy requirements in Australia. Contact our experts online or give us a call at 800.617.1904 or 480.922.0700 today.

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