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.