The Australian Government has now passed important new legislation to establish a Skilling Australians Fund, administered by the Department of Education and Training (DET), to support skills development of Australians. The Skilling Australians Fund replaces the outgoing Sponsorship Training Benchmark Obligations applicable under the 457 program, requiring employers to spend at least 1 percent of annual payroll on training their Australian employees.
The introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund supplants the previously uncertain training requirements for business sponsors which applied indiscriminately to businesses regardless of the number of overseas workers employed and were often inconsistently applied by the Department of Home Affairs.
In contrast, the new Skilling Australians Fund levy for the 482 visa is calculated based on a set fee of $1,800.00 or $1,200.00 per nominated employer per annum depending on the size of the business (based on annual turnover of greater or less than $10m per annum).
The cost of sponsor training contributions to the Skilling Australians Fund – borne by employers nominating workers under the temporary and permanent employer sponsored migration programs – will apply as follows:
- Employees for positions on the MLTSSL Occupation List nominated for the maximum 482 visa for 4 years the training levy will be $4,800.00 (for a business with a turnover of less than $10M) or $7,200.00 (for a business with a turnover of more than $10M)
- Employees for positions on the STSOL Occupation List nominated for the maximum 482 visa for 2 years the training levy will be $2,400.00 (for a business with a turnover of less than $10M) or $3,600.00 (for a business with a turnover of more than $10M)
- An Additional Training Levy payable where employers subsequently wish to nominate an employee for employer-sponsored permanent residence will be $3,000.00 (for a business with a turnover of less than $10M) or $5,000.00 (for a business with a turnover of more than $10M)
The Training fee is payable upfront on lodgement of the Nomination Application and will only be refunded in limited circumstances.
The Skilling Australia Fund legislation introduces a much more targeted approach to sponsorship training contributions where high volume employers of temporary overseas workers will contribute more to training Australians than an employer who may have a one-off need for a highly skilled temporary overseas worker.
The Skilling Australia Fund legislation has been passed and received Royal Assent on 22 May 2018, however, as at the date of writing it has not been implemented. Any 482 Nomination Applications lodged before it is implemented will not be subject to the Skilling Australians Fund levy.