The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy came into effect on 12 August 2018 and have replaced the previous Training Benchmark. The SAF is now payable by employers who wish to sponsor temporary and permanent overseas skilled workers on a skilled work visa in Australia. The SAF payment will contribute to the skills development of Australian workers.
The SAF levy applies to nominations for TSS subclass 482, ENS subclass 186 and RSMS subclass 187 visa. The amount payable will depend on the size of the sponsoring business and the foreign worker’s proposed period of stay in Australia
What is Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)?
The Skilling Australians Fund, also known as the Fund, focuses on Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector providing support to grow the number of apprentices and traineeships, support for future productivity, as well as jobs.
Department of Education and Training revealed that the 2017-2018 budget introduced ongoing SAF to focus on apprentices and traineeships. The Government strengthened their commitment to the 2018-2019 budget by guaranteeing a level of funding to the states in addition to the revenue collected through the Skilling Australians Fund Levy.
What is Skilling Australians Fund Levy?
The SAF will be partially financed by the employer sponsored (work) visa program, known as the Skilling Australians Fund Levy which came into effect on 12 August 2018. Employers who wish to sponsor skilled overseas workers will be required to pay a Nomination Training Contribution Charge (NTCC), known as a levy.
In short, the levy funds the SAF and is managed by the Department of Education and Training (DET).
The Skilling Australians Fund Levy replaces the previous Training Benchmarks and is put in place so that all employers who wish to sponsor foreign workers for temporary and permanent skilled work visas also contribute to the skills development of Australian workers.
Employer sponsored (work) visas that are affected are:
- Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa subclass 482
- Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa subclass 186
- Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa subclass 187
Paying the SAF Levy
The total SAF levy amount is payable in full at the time of lodging the nomination application and it is tax deductible. The SAF levy amount that the sponsoring employer will need to pay, differ depending on the size of the business and the proposed period the foreign worker will be sponsored for.
|Business Size||TSS Visa||ENS/RSMS visas|
|Business with an annual turnover of less than AUD10 million||AUD1,200 per year||AUD3,000 one-off|
|Business with an annual turnover of AUD10 million or more||AUD1,800 per year||AUD5,00 one-off|
Source: Department of Home Affairs
Business A has an annual turnover of less than AUD10 million and wishes to nominate a foreign skilled worker under the TSS visa for four years. Business A will be liable to pay a SAF levy of (1,200 x 4 years =) AUD4,800 at the time of lodging the nomination application.
Can you be exempt from paying the SAF Levy and are there refunds available?
The SAF levy can only be exempt for religious workers who are nominated under the Labour Agreement streams of the TSS visa. ALL other sponsors including sponsors who are party to a Labour Agreement must pay the SAF levy – it cannot be exempt.
SAF Levy are only refundable in certain circumstances and it is as follow:
- The foreign worker fails to commence their employment with the sponsoring employer.
- The associated visa application is refused because the applicant cannot meet health or character requirements.
- The TSS visa applicant leaves the sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment but the TSS visa is valid for more than 12 months. Please noted that only the unused full year periods of the SAF levy will be refunded. This does not apply to ENS or RSMS visa holders who leave their employer within the first 12 months.
- The nomination fee is refunded.
Who needs to pay for the SAF Levy?
The required SAF Levy will need to be paid by the sponsoring business. The sponsor cannot pass this fee to the applicant.
How Can Crux Migration Help
Crux Migration can assess your eligibility and help you understand the processes and requirements involved. We can also assist with your application from start to finish, enhancing your Australian employer sponsored work visa application chances of success without the costly mistakes along the way.
You can book a consultation with our Immigration Lawyers Migration Agents at AGape Henry Crux (also known as Crux Migration). We will go through specific requirements with you and tailor your application in accordance with your and your employer’s circumstances.