On 18 October 2017 a Bill (Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017) was introduced before Parliament which provides a detailed framework for the Skilling Australians Fund. The Skilling Australians Fund (“SAF”) will replace the current training benchmarks for the employers of overseas workers from 1 March 2018. It is anticipated that the SAF will provide $1.5 billion within the first four years of its establishment for the ongoing funding of vocational education and training of Australians.
The SAF will replace the existing training benchmarks for employers using the 457 and Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) programs. Currently, to meet the training benchmark a business must have:
- committed to investing 2% of payroll in an industry training fund (Benchmark A); or
- invested in training Australian citizen and permanent resident employees in accord with statutory training benchmarks currently set at 1% of the payroll (Benchmark B).
The SAF will require a payment to be made in relation to both the Temporary Skills Shortages (TSS) visa and permanent employer sponsored visas (ENS & RSMS). The amount payable will depend on the turnover of the business.
Businesses with turnover of less than $10 million per year will be required to:
- Make an upfront payment of $1,200 per visa per year for each employee on a TSS visa
- A one-off payment of $3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.
Businesses with turnover of $10 million or more per year will be required to:
- Make an upfront payment of $1,800 per visa year for each employee on a TSS visa
- A one-off payment of $5,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.
What does Visa Australia think about the Skilling Australians Fund?
The team at Visa Australia welcomes the simplicity of the SAF and the clarity it provides. It will enable business to more clearly budget for ongoing visa costs. We also look forward to the benefits that the SAF will provide to the vocational education and training opportunities for Australian citizens and permanent residents.
If you would like to apply for an Australian visa or have your migration eligibility assessed, please contact our team of Registered Migration Agents.