The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that the government’s new Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) tax levy will officially come into effect this Sunday on 12 August.
The introduction of the SAF will replace the previous Training Benchmarks, which required visa sponsors to demonstrate that they had spent at least 1% of their payroll on training local staff over the last three years.
The legislation is intended to support 300,000 new apprenticeships, traineeships, and other forms of employment related training, and will see an estimated $1.5 billion made available to the public, with matched funding from the state government.
The SAF levy will apply to the following visa programs:
- The Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa,
- the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) subclass 186 Visa,
- the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) subclass 187 Visa.
A spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs has announced that the new nomination training contribution charge will be capped at $8,000 for temporary work visas. There will also be no pro-rata provision payments of the charge for parts of a financial year.
Employers looking to sponsor foreign workers will now need pay the following fees to the Department of Home Affairs:
- Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $10 million.
- An upfront annual payment for each employee sponsored on a TSS visa of $1,200.
- A one-off payment for each employee sponsored on a permanent ENS or RSMS visa of $3,000.
- Businesses with an annual turnover that exceeds $10 million.
- An upfront annual payment for each employee sponsored on a TSS visa of $1,800.
- A one-off payment for each employee sponsored on a permanent ENS or RSMS visa of $5,000.
Further refund provisions have also been added to the legislation for the SAF levy. In addition to the existing refund provisions in place for refusal of sponsorship applications, refunds for the tax levy will also be officially made available in the following circumstances.
- The applicant’s sponsorship and visa applications have been approved but the visa holder fails to commence work with their employer.
- A TSS visa holder leaves their job within 12 months of commencing employment. In this scenario a refund will only be provided for the full unused years of the levy, if the visa period is longer than 12 months.
- An employer’s sponsorship application has been approved, but the employees visa application is declined on health or character grounds.
The Department of Home Affairs have also announced that religious organisations will be exempt from paying the SAF tax levy for either the TSS (subclass 482) or ENS (subclass 186) visa, under the Minister of Religion Labour agreement.
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