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Skilling Australians Fund

The Skilling Australians Fund received Royal Assent on 22 May 2018. The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Act 2018 (Cth) and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Act 2018 (Cth) both received Royal Assent and the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF Levy) is therefore now in effect.

 

Skilling Australians Fund (SAF Levy)

In summary, the SAF Levy will commence and come into force some time prior to 23 November 2018.

Further details regarding the Skilling Australians Fund will be provided for in regulations.  These include:

(a)          when the SAF Levy is due and payable;

(b)           the method of paying the SAF Levy (including the currency in which the charge must be paid);

              (c)           the remission or refund of the SAF Levy;

              (d)          the overpayment or underpayment of the SAF Levy;

(e)           the payment of a penalty in relation to the underpayment of SAF Levy; and

(f)            the giving of information and keeping of records relating to a person’s liability to pay the SAF Levy.

 

Which visa subclasses are affected?

There are several visa classes affected by the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF Levy).

Temporary visas:
  • Temporary Skill Shortage visa (Subclass 482 visa)
 Permanent visas:
  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa (Subclass 186 visa)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (Subclass 187 visa)

 

What is the Skilling Australians Fund levy?

The Skiilling Australian Fund levy (SAF Levy) replaces the training benchmarks scheme. In his second reading speech, Minister Dutton stated that it is intended that the charge will vary depending on whether a business has an annual turnover of more or less than $10 million. It is expected that:

  • Small businesses (i.e. those with a turnover of under $10 million) will be required to pay $1,200 per year for each temporary overseas worker, and a one-off levy of $3,000 for each permanent overseas worker; and
  • Businesses with an annual turnover of $10 million or more will be required to pay $1,800 per year for each temporary worker and a one-off payment of $5,000 for each permanent worker.

Regulations are awaited in this regard. 

 

What will the maximum levy be?

It has been confirmed that for the financial year commencing 1 July 2017, the SAF Levy must not exceed:

  • $8,000 for a temporary visa; and
  • $5,500 for a permanent visa.

The $8,000 limit for temporary visas is of some concern given previous announcements which indicated $1,200 per year for small businesses and $1,800 per year for larger businesses.

The SAF Levy will increase year on year in line with the All Groups Consumer Price Index.

 

What do existing sponsors need to do?

  • Ensure compliance with existing sponsorship obligations; and
  • Stay tuned for further announcements and be prepared to pay the SAF Levy very soon.

 

What are the penalties for non-compliance with or underpayment of the SAF levy?

A maximum penalty of 60 penalty units i.e. $12,600 applies.

 

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