Guide to Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy

The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy came into existence on 12th August 2018 and has substituted the previous training benchmarks. SAF is now payable by employers who want to sponsor permanent and temporary overseas skilled workers on an Australian skilled work visa. The SAF payments will contribute to the skills development of workers in Australia.

SAF levy is applicable to nominations for TSS subclass 482, RSMS subclass 187, and ENS subclass 186 visas. The amount to pay depends on the size of sponsoring businesses and the proposal of a foreign worker for a period of stay in Australia.

What is SAF or Skilling Australians Fund?

The SAF or Skilling Australians Fund is also known as the Fund, emphasizing on Vocational Education and Training or VET sector offering support to grow the numbers of traineeships and apprentices to support the future productivity as well as jobs.

As revealed by the Department of Education and Training, the 2017-2018 budgets announced an ongoing SAF to emphasize on traineeships and apprentices. The government has enhanced its commitment to the 2018-19 budgets by confirming a level of funding to the states in addition to revenue gathered accumulated through the Skilling Australians Fund Levy.

What is the Skilling Australians Fund Levy?

The SAF is partially financed by the employer-sponsored visa program, also known as the Skilling Australians Fund Levy that came into existence on 12 August 2018. Employers who are interested to sponsor skilled overseas workers will be needed to pay a Nomination Training Contribution Charge or NTCC, which is known as a levy.

In brief, the SAF levy funds are managed by the Department of Education and Training or DET.

The Skilling Australians Fund Levy has replaced the previous Training Benchmarks and is placed so that all the employers who intend to sponsor foreign workers for permanent and temporary skilled work visas also contribute to the skills development of Australian workers.

The Employer Sponsored Work Visa affected are:

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

How to Pay the SAF Levy?

The total amount of SAF levy is payable in full and at the time of filing the nomination application. It is tax deductible and the amount levied has to be paid by the sponsoring employer. This might differ depending on the business size and the proposed period for which the foreign worker will be sponsored.

Businesses that have an annual turnover of less than AUD10 million has to pay AUD1,200 per year under TSS visa and AUD3,000 one-off under RSMS or ENS visa.

Businesses that have an annual turnover of AUD 10 million or more have to pay AUD 1,800 per year under TSS visa and AUD5, 000 one-offs under RSMS or ENS visa.

Is it Possible to exempt from paying SAF Levy? Are there Refunds Available?

It is possible to exempt the SAF levy only for religious workers who are nominated under the Labor Agreement streams of TSS visa. Other sponsors who act like a party to the Labor Agreement must pay the SAF levy and it cannot be exempt.

SAF levy is refundable only in a few circumstances and as follows:

  • The foreign workers fail to commence the employment with the sponsoring employer.
  • The TSS visa application leaves the sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment but the TSS visa is valid just for 12 months. Only the unused full year periods of SAF are refunded. This does not apply to RSMS or ENS visa holders who left the employer within the first 12 months.
  • The associated visa application is refused as the applicant is not able to meet character or health requirements.
  • The nomination fee is refundable.

Who Has to Pay for the SAF Levy?

The SAF Levy has to be paid by the sponsoring businesses. The sponsor cannot pass this fee on to the applicant.

You can book a consultation with our migration experts who will go through specific needs with you and customize your application in accordance with the circumstances of you and your employer.