The cost of employing foreign workers on temporary working visas will increase significantly from March 2018 with the introduction of a ‘Skilling Australians Fund’.
Details of the fund were provided by the Federal Government in the budget papers released last night. The fund will be established by March 2018 and will replace the current training benchmarks for standard business sponsors. Once implemented, it will support the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa program, which will also commence in March 2018.
Employers will be required to make contributions to the fund based on the size of their business and the number of foreign workers they sponsor on a TSS visa. There will also be contributions required for businesses who sponsor employees for permanent residence visas.
The contribution amounts will be:
Small businesses (Turnover of $10m or less)
Temporary visa: $1,200 per visa per year
Permanent visa: $3,000 one-off fee per applicant
Medium to large businesses (Turnover of $10m or more)
Temporary visa: $1,800 per visa year
Permanent visa: $5,000 one-off fee per applicant
The Government expects this will provide $1.2 billion in revenue over the forward estimates.
What this means for your business
The obligation for sponsors to pay into the fund will replace the current 457 visa training benchmarks, which require sponsors to demonstrate that their expenditure includes training for Australian employees.
It appears that the levy will be applicable for each year of the TSS visa, however it is not clear if the Government will require payment to be made with each visa application or following the grant of the visa.
Businesses without formalised training programs may find it more efficient to use the new system, whereas business sponsors with established training programs will no longer be able to rely upon their training spend to meet their sponsorship obligations. It is unclear how the requirement to pay into the fund will apply to standard business sponsors who currently employ 457 visa holders.
The costs associated with fund contributions will need to be considered in the overall costs to sponsor foreign employees in coming years. The visa application charge will also increase from March 2018 to:
- $1,150 per primary applicant for a 2 year visa
- $2,400 per primary applicant for a 4 year visa
Interstaff are here to advise of how the changes will affect your business. We will work with you and your employees to advise on the current migration policy changes to continue to meet your business needs.
Department of Immigration and Border Protection