Skilling Australians Fund levy (SAF)

The Skilling Australia Fund (SAF) became active legislation in August 2018, and importantly it must be remembered that this directly affects Australian sponsoring businesses, NOT those seeking sponsorship.

It’s important that both migrants hoping to lodge visas and their employers are familiar with SAF, as it will continue to impact lots of decisions on whether businesses choose to sponsor workers from abroad across a range of occupations. Even though it is illegal for businesses to pass on the associated fees to those they sponsor, it changes the nature of sponsorship for everyone.

What’s the basic idea of the SAF?

In a nutshell, the Australian government is forcing Australian businesses who must hire workers from overseas to fill skills shortages to pay additional government fees for each sponsorship they make. The purpose of the money raised is to invest it into additional training for Australians in these occupations, including automotive trades, to reduce our need for foreign labour in the coming years. It’s an ambitious scheme.

Why does this matter to me?

With increased costs for sponsors, these businesses have become understandably fussier about the experience and skills of the person they sponsor. They are also more sensitive to the risk that a sponsored employee leaves them during a TSS visa, so establishing loyalty is now more financially important than it was before.

What sort of costs are we talking about, and can they be passed on to a sponsored worker? 

For most Australian automotive sponsors, the SAF fee for each sponsored visa will be AUD $7200, and another $5000 is payable when they support an applicant for permanent residency. Importantly though, these costs cannot be passed on to a sponsored person or family under any circumstances – it is illegal, and serious penalties apply.  

Still got questions? Anything we can clear up? Please don’t hesitate to ask Nat – nat.richards@techsonthemove.com.au