The Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017

There has been an announcement of a Bill called The Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017  which will from next March 2018 replace the current Training Benchmarks.  The current training benchmarks require a sponsor for a 457 or ENS and RSMS visa application to show that they have spent 1% of their payroll on training local Australian staff over the previous 3 years.

Please note that at this stage this is a Bill only that is yet to be debated in Parliament so although the Fund is going to come in next year, it is not guaranteed to be exactly the same charges as detailed below.

What are the proposed changes going to look like ?

The monies charged by the Government will be provided to and administered by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to support skills development of Australians such as funds for further education, vocational education and skilled training.

The training contribution charge imposed by this Bill is expected to generate revenue of $1.2b and the expected expenditure from the Skilling Australians Fund is to be $1.47b.

What is going to be the cost of the new charge ?

457 charge - the nomination charge will be calculated according to the number of years set out in the nomination, e.g. for business with turnover less than $10 million, the nomination fee will be $1200 per 12 month period per person. 

For example, if the business was to nominate a single person for a 4 year visa , the fee would be $1200 per annum x 4 years = $4,800

  • 457 charge - the nomination charge will be calculated according to the number of years set out in the nomination, e.g. for business with turnover more than $10 million , the nomination fee will be $1800 per 12 month period per person. 

For example, if the business was nomination a single person for a 4 year visa , the fee would be $1800 per annum x 4 years = $7,200

  • Permanent Visa Charge -  the nomination charge will be calculated according to the annual turnover of the business.  For businesses with turnover less than $10 million , the nomination fee will be a flat  $3000
  • Permanent Visa Charge -  the nomination charge will be calculated according to the annual turnover of the business.  For businesses with turnover more than $10 million , the nomination fee will be a flat  $5000

How is this charge to be paid ?

The maximum amount of the nomination training contribution charge is capped at $8000 - for nominations relating to a temporary visa there are no pro-rata provisions payment of the charge for parts of a financial year
the fee will be payable at the time of the lodgement of the nomination application

What do HR Managers need to understand ?

The 457 charge will have to be included in your Budgets as this amount will have to be paid by the sponsor.  The permanent residence charge can be paid for by the visa applicant.
We have not yet been advised by the Immigration Department whether the current Training Benchmarks (1% of payroll spend) will continue to be  enforced for current 457 visa holders.  Sponsors may face the possibility of having to pay the above charge for new 457 applications PLUS having to maintain the 1% for current 457 visa holders.

What affect are the vast raft of changes to Australia’s Migration Program having on our economy ?

For our clients interested in some reading that with a glass of wine in hand, will give you a good night’s sleep, you may be interested in a story written by Adam Creighton and published in The Australian on 9 August 2017 that reports on claims by a researcher that changes to migration rules will reduce the annual migration intake significantly. The research was conducted by Bob Birrell – a long term opponent of the migration program. An extract from the article: The study, by the Australian Population Research Institute, suggests tightening of the migration programme could ease congestion and house price growth. Demographer Bob Birrell says the number of Australia’s permanent employer sponsor visas will plummet by “at least two-thirds” and the number of temporary 457 visas issued will fall by “up to half”, particularly as the government’s changes from March 2018 make it harder for foreign students to stay on after their studies.

Attached below is a copy of the Report for your night time entertainment.

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