New Skilling Australians Fund Levy for Sponsors

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 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 SAF levy is payable upfront on lodgement of the Nomination Application and will only be refunded in very limited circumstances.

The Skilling Australia Fund legislation introduces a targeted and more equitable approach to sponsorship training contributions. Businesses that employ large numbers of temporary overseas workers are now required to contribute more to training Australians under the new training regime – they are required to pay a  nomination contribution fee for each overseas worker they employ. This is in contrast to the previous training contribution regime which required all businesses to demonstrate expenditure of at least 1% of annual payroll on training Australian worker in their business, regardless of the number of overseas workers employed.  Accordingly, the new contribution approach of a fee per overseas employee is significantly more advantageous to businesses that have a low volume or one-off need for a highly skilled temporary overseas worker.

UPDATE: The Skilling Australians Fund Charges Act came into effect from 12 Aug 2018. Any  482 or 186/187 nomination applications lodged after this date will be required to pay the relevant fee to the Department of Home Affairs at the time of lodgement.