Skills Australia Funding (SAF)

The Skills Australia Funding (SAF), which passed through Parliament on 9 May 2018 and was implemented on 12 August 2018, is a nomination training contribution charge on employers nominating workers under the temporary and permanent employer sponsored migration programs.
The money raised will be used to fund vocational education and training for Australian workers. SAF replaces the ‘training benchmark requirements’ that employers had to meet previously.

How is the SAF calculated for temporary 482 visas?

The SAF is determined by multiplying the relevant base amount by the visa period requested.

The base amount for organisations with less than $10 million annual turnover is $1200. In any other case the base amount is $1800.

Visa Period <$10 million turnover >$10 million turnover
One year A$1200 A$1800
Two years A$2400 A$3600
Three years A$3600 A$5400
Four years A$4800 A$7200

How is the SAF calculated for permanent 186 and 187 visas?

  • If the annual turnover of the nominating organisation is less than $10 million – a one-off $3000 payment applies.
  • If the annual turnover of the nominating organisation is more than $10 million – a one off $5000 payment applies.

Who has to pay the SAF? Can I ask the Nominee to pay this?

The SAF is a cost which is payable by the nominating entity only and cannot be transferred to a visa applicant in any way. Significant penalties apply if you do, or you could risk cancellation of your sponsorship approval.
If your employee does not end up starting with you, or they leave you earlier than expected, you may be eligible for a total, or partial SAF refund.

I’ve changed my mind- can I get a SAF refund?

It may be possible to obtain a refund of the SAF, including in the following circumstances:

  • The nomination is approved but the employee’s subsequent visa application is refused based on health or character grounds
  • The visa application is approved but the visa holder does not commence work
  • A Subclass 482 Visa holder leaves within the first 12 months of employment and the agreed visa period was for more than 12 months (the refund available in this case will be for the unused full years of the levy).
  • Home Affairs approves the nomination by mistake
  • The nomination is withdrawn before it is decided because the amount used to calculate the training contribution charge was incorrect
  • The nomination relates to a visa in the TRT stream and the nomination is withdrawn before the decision is made, because the wrong occupation was nominated in relation to the position
  • The nomination is withdrawn before decision because the wrong stream was identified

Am I still obliged to train my employees, or keep records of training?

You are no longer required to train your Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident employees. The relevant regulation requiring this will be repealed from 12 August 2018.
You should keep records of training which accords with the previous benchmark A or B system, up until 12 August 2018.
You may still be required to present evidence of having met historical training records to the Department in certain circumstances.