TSS visa - changes to training

On 28 April 2017, the Department announced the new TSS scheme which will replace the 457-visa programme in March 2018.

Among other changes announced, the Department will introduce the Skilled Australia Fund levy (SAF) to be managed by the Department of Education and Training.

The SAF will replace the current training benchmarks that sponsoring employers are required to satisfy for Subclass 457 and Subclass 186 visas.

Currently employers are required to spend at least 1% of their annual gross payroll towards the training of Australian employees or pay over 2% towards an approved training fund, to satisfy the training benchmarks.

From March 2018, sponsoring employers will instead be required to pay the SAF levy “up front” as part of the nomination and will be required to do so for each nomination lodged.

The SAF levy costs will be as follows:

  • Small business (annual turnover less than 10 million)
    • TSS visa - $1,200 per year/part thereof
    • ENS/RSMS - $3,000 one-off
  • Other businesses
    • TSS visa - $1,800 per year/part thereof
    • ENS/RSMS - $5,000 one-off

This means if a small company wishes to sponsor a person who has an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) for a period of 4 years, the company will need to pay $4,800 upfront towards the SAF levy.

Fortunately for Standard Business Sponsors that received approval prior to March 2018, the SAF will not apply to them, unless they are renewing their sponsorship after that date.

The Department has also announced an increase to the Visa Application Charges (VAC) relating to 4-year TSS visas:

 Primary Application VAC                    Adult Dependent VAC                   Child Dependent VAC

          $2,400                                              $2,400                                                  $600      

If you are an employer who has been considering becoming a Standard Business Sponsor, the time to do so is now, before the levy is implemented. 

Contact Putt Legal for further information in relation to the upcoming changes to the 457-visa programme and TSS scheme.

Mandatory publication of sanctions against 457 Sponsors

In August 2017, the Migration and Other Legislation Amendment (Enhanced Integrity) Bill 2017 was introduced into the House of Representatives. The Bill, among other things, proposes to amend the Migration Act to allow the public disclosure of sponsor sanctions.

Businesses approved as sponsors under the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) programme administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection are required by law to meet the sponsorship obligations outlined in the Migration Act.

The measures in this Bill will apply to the subclass 457 visa and its 2018 replacement, the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. This means that any 457 employer who is subject to sponsorship obligations should be aware that any sanctions taken against them for non-compliance will be liable for public disclosure.

The government’s justification for this amendment is as follows – ‘The purpose of publishing information about actions taken in relation to approved or former approved sponsors is to deter businesses from breaching their sponsorship obligations, and to allow Australians and overseas workers to inform themselves about a sponsor’s breaches.  It will also increase public awareness of the Department’s sponsor monitoring activities.’

457 sponsors should be aware of this proposed change and ensure that they are compliant with their sponsorship obligations. These include (but are not limited to) –

  • Ensuring equivalent terms and conditions of employment
  • Engaging in non-discriminatory recruitment practices
  • Ensuring that sponsored persons continue to work in the nominated occupation
  • Keeping records
  • Reporting changes

It is important to note that not all sponsorship obligations cease when the sponsored subclass 457 visa holder stops working for the sponsor.

A full list of sponsorship obligations is available on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website – http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/457-#tab-content-3


As of 1 July 2017, the immigration department changed the English language requirements in relation to:

  • the Temporary Residence Transition stream of the subclass 186 and 187 visas; 
  • the subclass 187 visa; and
  • the subclass 457 visa.

From 1 July 2017 onwards, all applicants for the subclass 186 and 187 visas must now provide evidence of Competent English (unless you hold a UK, US, Canadian, NZ or Irish passport or can provide evidence of 5 years' full-time secondary or higher education study in English).

Meanwhile, the English Language Salary Exemption Threshold (ELSET) which exempted applicants (whose salary was over AUD$96,400) from the English language requirement has been removed for subclass 457 visa applications.

If these changes affect your prospects of success, or you need to improve your English test score for a Skilled Independent Visa, then we highly recommend that you undergo English Language training before you sit your test or book another one.

If you live in Perth, we are pleased to announce that a new English Tests Training Centre has recently opened which is dedicated to helping you improve your scores on the IELTS and PTE tests.

Check out their website here https://www.ettc.com.au/ or drop into their premises at Level 3,
23 Barrack Street in Perth.  

We have personally inspected the centre and met with their staff.  We do not receive any commission or other payments by recommending their services.  But if you come and see us, then we can provide you with a discount card for your course.






Putt Legal overseas consultations - September 2017

Alisdair Putt and Jessica Edis will be available for overseas consultations over the following periods –

  • 16th – 17th September– Beijing
  • 18th – 21st September – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • 22nd – 23rd September – Hong Kong

Please email Alisdair (aputt@puttlegal.com.au) or Jessica (jessica@puttlegal.com.au) for more details.