November 15, 2018

As predicted in our update on 2 July 2018, crucial changes to the Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage) (the new “457”) and Subclass 186/187 visa programmes commenced on 12 August 2018. While several changes took effect, the most crucial for employers from a financial and recruitment perspective are the following:   

1. Skilling Australians Fund Levy (SAF): The SAF Levy commenced, requiring employers to pay an amount based on the organisation’s turnover for employer nominated visas; and

2. Labour Market Testing (LMT): The new requirements for LMT came into force, requiring employers to satisfy new advertising requirements when recruiting for employer nominated visas.

We answer some crucial questions about the above changes below.

SKILLING AUSTRALIANS FUND LEVY

1. Q: I am sponsoring/nominating a non-Australian resident to work for our company – will we have to pay the SAF levy?

A: Yes, the following employer sponsored visas attract the SAF Levy:

  • Subclass 482 Temporary Skill Shortage visa – this visa is often referred to as the “new 457”. It enables employers to address Australian labour shortages by bringing in genuinely skilled workers to fill a nominated position. The length of stay under this visa is between one to four years, depending on the circumstances. This is a temporary visa and does not grant permanent residency.
  • Subclass 186 Employer Nomination Scheme Visa – this visa is similar to the Subclass 482 visa described above, but grants the employee permanent residency in Australia if the visa eligibility requirements are met.  

In summary, you will have to pay the SAF levy if you seek to employ overseas talent to work in your organisation

2. Q: How is the SAF Levy calculated?

A: For the Subclass 482 visa (Temporary Skilled Shortage), the SAF Levy is calculated based on your organisation’s annual turnover and the length of the visa period:

Duration of Visa
<$10 million turnover
>$10 million turnover

1 year

$1,200

$1,800

2 years

$2,400

$3,600

3 years

$3,600

$5,400

4 years

$4,800

$7,200

The SAF Levy must be paid when the nomination application is lodged.

3. Q: If we pay the SAF levy and the visa application is rejected, will we get a refund?

A: Depending on the circumstances, a refund may be made where:

  • The nomination is for a Subclass 482 occupation and the standard business sponsorship application was withdrawn or refused;
  • The application is for a Subclass 482 visa, where the visa is refused because the applicant does not meet the character, health, or other specified criteria; and
  • The visa applicant fails to commence employment in the position associated with the nominated occupation.

LABOUR MARKET TESTING

1. Q: How long do we need to advertise a position before it is filled?

A: Positions must be advertised for at least 4 weeks. The period of advertising must not start earlier than 4 months before the lodgement of the nomination application

2. Q: Do we have to advertise in any particular way?

A: Yes, the advertisement must satisfy the following requirements:

  • At least two advertisements must be published:
    • On a recruitment website with ‘national reach’ in Australia (e.g. jobactive.gov.au). LinkedIn's online recruitment platform is acceptable for LMT purposes. Job vacancies restricted to LinkedIn profile members only are NOT acceptable for LMT purposes;
    • in print media with national reach in Australia; or
    • On radio with national reach
  • The advertisement must be in English and must include the following details:
    • the title, or a description, of the position;
    • the skills or experience required for the position;
    • the name of the approved sponsor or the name of the recruitment agency being used by the sponsor; and
    • the salary for the position (if the intended annual earnings for the nominated position are lower than AUD96,400).It is acceptable to publish a salary range - for example AUD80,000 to AUD90,000;
  • The advertisement must accept applications or expressions of interest for at least four weeks after it is first published

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR US?

The recent changes to the requirements for employer nominated visas are complex. The impact of these changes will depend on the size of your organisation and the overseas talent you are looking to employ. We regularly provide technical legal and practical advice regarding employer nominated visas to help organisations access critical skills where Australian employees are not available.

If you are seeking to recruit and employ a non-Australian resident to satisfy a skill shortage, we strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice to get the best outcome for your business. If you require migration assistance or are interested in more information about these changes and how they impact your organisation, please contact Senior Associate and Migration Agent, Jerome Quinn (MARN 1799131).