Australia – Training Levy and Increased Visa Application Charges Announced

What has changed

On May 9, 2017, it was announced in the annual Federal Budget handed down by the Australian government that a training levy will be introduced in 2018 to replace the existing training benchmarks which must be met by employers sponsoring foreign workers. This additional levy will be called the Skilling Australians Fund Levy and will add expenses for employers for both temporary and permanent visas. Currently, employers must satisfy certain training benchmarks to qualify as sponsors (please see ‘What to expect’ for more information).

In correlation with the Skilling Australians Fund Levy was the announcement that visa application charges will increase effective July 1, 2017.

Who is affected?

  • Employers sponsoring foreign workers
  • Foreign employees applying for Australian visas

What to expect

Currently, employers may satisfy training benchmarks by either paying an amount equivalent to 2% of payroll to an industry training fund or demonstrating expenditure on training employees to the equivalent of 1% payroll. Employers addressing the 1% of criteria needed to show evidence such as payments to external training providers, expenses related to sending employees to training events, or payments for educational expenses of employees or for training materials, or similar.

The total expense of bringing a person to Australia for four (4) years for a company with more than A$10 million annual turnover will increase from A$1,060 now to A$9,600 beginning March 2018 when counting both the Visa Application Charge and the Skilling Australians Fund Levy. The total expense for a permanent visa would rise from A$4,140 now to A$9,140.

Employers sponsoring foreign workers will need to pay the following amounts effective March 2018:

Temporary Skills Shortage visa for company with less than A$10 million turnover – A$1,200 per employee per year or part thereof of the visa.

Temporary Skills Shortage visa (two (2) years) for company with more than A$10 million turnover – A$1,800 per employee per year or part thereof of the visa.

Permanent Visa under Employer Nomination Scheme (186 or 187 visa) – for company with less than A$10 million turnover – A$3000.

Permanent Visa under Employer Nomination Scheme (186 or 187 visa) – for company with more than A$10 million turnover – A$5000.

Precise arrangement for payments, whether they are made at the time of application or decision, are yet to be detailed.

What you need to do
Planning ahead
  • Clients wishing to acquire a permanent visa under the Employer Nomination Scheme are advised to apply prior to March 2018 to avoid paying the additional A$3,500 expense. Also, given other changes to that visa subclass coming to narrow eligibility, any prospective applicants who now meet the criteria should consider applying as soon as possible.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.