What’s changed with the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Training Levy?

Effective as of 12 August 2018 the Department of Home Affairs issued a new Skilling Australian Fund (SAF) training levy. The SAF applies to all new TSS visas (subclass 482) nominations and permanent visa nominations (subclasses 186 and 187).

Let’s learn some more about the levy – from payment schedules to refund policies.

What is the SAF levy?

According to the Australian Department of Home Affairs, SAF is a levy payable by employers nominating overseas skilled workers for any of the following visas:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482).
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186).
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187).

These levies fund the SAF managed by the Australian Department of Education and Training (DET). This levy is intended to ensure employers who sponsor temporary and permanent overseas skilled workers are required to contribute to the broader skills development of Australians.

You’re¬†expected to pay the full levy amount when lodging a nomination application. The cost of this application will depend on the size of the sponsoring business¬†and the proposed period of stay of the overseas worker in Australia – these payments are also tax deductible.

Once you've filed your application payment is expected. Once you’ve filed your application payment is expected.

Is it possible to request a refund?

Refunds of the SAF levy are only available in any of the following scenarios:

  • The overseas skilled worker (visa holder) doesn’t arrive/commence employment with the employer even though the sponsorship and visa applications are approved.
  • The associated visa application is refused on health or character grounds despite the employer’s sponsorship and nomination application being approved.
  • A TSS visa holder leaves the sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment where the visa period was for more than 12 months.
    • Refunds will only be available in this scenario for unused full years of the SAF levy. Note: This doesn’t apply to ENS or RSMS holders who leave their employer within the first 12 months of employment.

What happened to the training benchmarks?

The training benchmarks are no longer applicable for most. However, for ENS and RSMS visas, the training benchmarks still apply to nomination applications lodged before 12 August 2018.

For TSS visas, the sponsorship obligation regarding the training benchmarks will only apply for the 12 month period ending on or before 12 August 2018.

Still looking for more info?

If you’re still confused about what the changes to the SAF training levy have to do with you, reach out to our team and we can walk you through it!