Australia – Department of Home Affairs No Longer Considering Priority Processing of Work Visas; Skilling Australians Fund Levy Cannot be Paid by Employee

What has changed?

Effective immediately, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) will no longer consider priority processing requests for Australian work visas. This is due to the receipt of large volume of requests which have impacted the resources available to process visa applications.
Previously, the DHA was considering priority processing requests from sponsors who were NOT accredited in limited circumstances.
The DHA has also confirmed that the Skilling Australians Fund levy cannot be paid by an employee.

Who is affected?

Clients with employees who will/have an employee who needs to apply or renew an Australian work visa.

What to expect

The DHA has announced the following direction by the Minister for the order of processing Temporary Skills Shortage (Subclass 482) visas.
  1. Applications lodged by accredited sponsors
  2. Applications lodged for positions that are located in regional Australia
  3. Applications lodged under the Labour Agreement stream
  4. All other applications
Applications which do not fall into categories 1-3 above, will receive the least priority as per the ministerial direction. Such an application should, however, be processed within the timeframes advertised by the authority, which are currently the following:
Processing Times
Visa      Stream   75% Processed within     90% Processed within
482 Temporary Skill Shortage    Short-Term    50 days     67 days
482 TemporarySkill Shortage    Medium-Term    48 days     57 days

Emigra Worldwide’s (EOW) current experience is that most of our cases are processed within around 40 days. It is important to understand that the above indicates a percentage of cases finalized within the 50 or 67 days; it does not indicate that each and every case will take that long.
EOW strongly urges all eligible clients to become Accredited Sponsors in order to receive the top priority in applications. EOW can assist the majority of clients who meet this criterion, which includes having no adverse record, a low proportion of foreign employees as a percentage of the total workforce and a low refusal rate.
Clients who are not accredited and do not seek to become accredited need to note that their cases are likely to only be approved within the above timeframes and plan accordingly.
The only other recourse for urgent cases is to make an official complaint but this will not likely receive any attention until after the standard processing time period has elapsed in any case.

Skilling Australians Fund Update

The DHA has also confirmed that the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy may not be paid by or retrieved from nominated employees. The SAF levy is now in place since August 12. Employers are reminded that, in relation to the SAF levy for permanent visas, the cost cannot be paid by or retrieved from the employee.
A nominee being asked to pay the SAF levy for an Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) visa or Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (Subclass 187) visa application may be a breach of payment for visa sponsorship legislation.
The amount of the levy for these visas is $3000 for employers with an annual turnover of under A$10 million and $5000 for employers with a turnover above A$10 million.
The SAF levy also cannot be paid by or retrieved from an employee in relation to a Temporary Skills Shortage (Sublcass 482) visa.

What you need to do

  • Emigra Worldwide strongly urges all eligible clients to become Accredited Sponsors in order to receive the top priority in applications. EOW can assist the majority of clients who meet this criterion, which includes having no adverse record, a low proportion of foreign employees as a percentage of the total workforce and a low refusal rate.
  • Contact EOW, Australia office for any clarifications.