Skilling Australians Fund Receives Royal Assent

The government’s recently passed legislation enacting the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) has officially been given the go-ahead, after receiving Royal Assent earlier this month on 22 May.

This means that the government’s new regulations—which are set out in The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Act 2018—concerning labour market testing requirements, the nomination training contribution charge, and other provisions will soon apply to any business sponsoring temporary foreign workers.

However, the government has confirmed that the new regulations will not apply immediately, and instead are scheduled to come into effect from a date fixed by Proclamation, or on the day six months after 22 May.

Although the act is not yet in effect—and may not be for another six months—any business looking to avoid the new training contribution charge for sponsoring foreign workers should lodge its’ application immediately, as the new regulations may still come into effect by proclamation.

To do this the government would merely need to publish a separate short legislative notice providing the scheduled date of effect.

But, if no Proclamation is made within six months then the legislation will automatically come into effect on 23 November.

The Department of Immigration has also confirmed that the SAF tax levy will not be applied retrospectively, meaning that the nomination training contribution charge will only need to be paid for applications made after or on the day that the act comes into effect.

The new labour market testing requirements will also only effect applications made on the day or after the act comes into effect.

While there are some changes that will be applied retrospectively, these are not expected to have any effect on the majority of visa applications, as they mostly pertain to updated wording in the Migration Amendment Act.

However, employers should be aware that a new regulation now allows for a civil penalty not exceeding 60 penalty units—which constitutes approximately $9,420—for underpayment of the SAF tax levy.

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).