Alert: Foreign Worker Levy to be Debated in Senate

On Tuesday this week, the Australian Senate will introduce the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017, and the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2018 for parliamentary debate.

The legislation—which is officially due to be debated in Parliament on May 8—was tabled last year to introduce a new tax levy on skilled sponsored visas.

The funding from the levy has been earmarked for the Coalition government’s Skilling Australians Fund (SAF), and if the legislation is approved then it will apply to both the TSS and Permanent Employer Sponsored visa program.

However, if the matter is not resolved this week then applicants will continue to be able to obtain a TSS visa without having to pay the training levy, or satisfy the training benchmarks that the SAF tax is intended to replace.

Although training benchmarks are not presently required for new TSS visa sponsorship, employers that are or previously were approved as a Standard Business Sponsor—or currently employ 457/TSS visa workers—must still continue to meet their obligated training requirements.

This means that any employer wishing to sponsor a Permanent Residency application will need to provide evidence that they have satisfied the Department’s requirement to provide ongoing training to local Australian workers.

If the legislation passes, then the tax levy will be payable up-front to the Department for the number of years that the visa will be valid for. The cost of the levy—which will be charged on a per person, per year basis—will include:

  • Temporary Visa Levy
    • Companies with an annual turnover below $10 million
      • $1,200.00
    • Companies with an annual turnover exceeding $10 million
      • $1,800.00
  • Permanent Visa Levy
    • Companies with an annual turnover lower than $10 million
      • $3,000.00
    • Companies with an annual turnover greater than $10 million
      • $5,000.00

The CEO of Absolute Immigration, Jamie Lingham, has urged businesses not to treat the upcoming levy as a source of panic, explaining that some companies may be better off under the new scheme.

“While we have provided the fees and levy costs that businesses can expect from the TSS visas, we have also found that there are a number of companies who will significantly benefit from the introduction of the new training levy,” Lingham said.

“We have undertaken financial modelling with some of our current clients and found that they will be better off paying the levy, as opposed to the current tax of 1% of total staff salaries on training local Australian Citizens and permanent visa holders.”

“In addition, we have also developed a number of strategies that will ensure clients of Absolute Immigration are able to significantly reduce their financial exposure when employing workers from overseas. In some cases we may even be able to assist clients in avoiding exposure to the training levy altogether.”

“We would suggest that you contact one of Absolute Immigration’s Registered Migration Agents to discuss your individual situation,” he said.

If you have any questions or would like us to assist with your global immigration queries, simply click this link to schedule a call with one of our Registered Migration Agents OR call 1300 ABSOLUTE (1300 227 658).