The cost of hiring an overseas worker in going up. While it is all for the bigger picture, a company that is really struggling to find the right candidate would be paying the price. The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) legislation has been passed and is to come into effect on 12 August 2018. It is a foreign worker levy that is to be imposed on businesses who sponsors and has in their current employ, and overseas worker holding one of the following visas:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa (subclass 482)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) visa (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) visa (subclass 187)

Holders of the 457 visa who require a new nomination under the TSS 482 visa to change employer or occupation will also be implicated by the fee.

This fee must be paid at the time of nomination. It is a cost that cannot be transferred by the employer to the applicant.

The SAF is a training fund that will be administered by the Department of Education and Training for apprenticeships and traineeships in occupations that are in high demand and currently rely on skilled migration or have future growth potential, including in regional Australia.

Find: Skilling Australians Fund Department Website


Small business (under AUD $10 million in annual turnover)

TSS: AUD $1,200 per year of the proposed visa period

RSMS/ENS: AUD $3,000 one off payment


Other businesses (AUD $10 million and above in annual turnover)

TSS: AUD $1,800 per year of the proposed visa period

RSMS/ENS: AUD $5,000 one off payment



A business has an annual turnover of less than AUD $10 million per year and wants to sponsor an applicant for the medium term TSS 482 visa for a period of four years. They will need to make a contribution of AUD $1,200 for each year of the proposed term totalling AUD $4,800.


Annual turnover

Annual turnover for Australian businesses is defined as the total ordinary income from the most recent income year ending before nomination day. For businesses outside of Australia, annual turnover is the total income in the most recent financial year (financial year may vary with country). Nomination day is taken to be the day the application is lodged.



The only exception is the nomination is made under a labour agreement and the nomination is for the occupation of Minister of Religion or Religious Assistance.



Refunds are available under specific circumstances:

  • The nomination needs to be withdrawn for specific reasons and it is withdrawn before a decision on the application is made. Reasons include:
    • Information in the nomination being incorrect, such as the proposed visa period or is in relation to the businesses annual turnover, which would result in the nomination training contribution charge being incorrect
    • The standard business sponsorship application was withdrawn or refused
    • Information in the nomination relates to the wrong occupation or wrong stream for the Temporary Residence Transition (TRT) stream ENS 186 or RSMS 187 visa
  • The nomination is approved but the applicant is refused a visa on health or character grounds
  • The nomination is approved and the applicant is granted a visa but for reasons outside the employer’s control, the visa holder does not commence work in the position
  • The nomination is approved and the applicant is granted a visa but employment within in under 12 months. This refund is only available for temporary visas and the refund will be partial; less the first year of the levy.



Underpayments of the nomination training contribution charge (contribution to SAF) must be resolved before another nomination by that employer can be approved.

Find: Legislative instrument – Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Regulations 2018

Find: Legislative instrument – Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Regulations 2018


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