What is the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) Levy?

From 12 August 2018, the training obligations (training benchmarks A and B) under the new 482 visa, the existing ENS (186 visa) and RSMS (187 visa) processes were replaced with payments required into a skilling Australians fund, known as the SAF levy. The SAF levy is managed by the Department of Education and Training with the intended purpose of contributing to the skills development of Australians.

What does paying the SAF levy involve?

The SAF levy is paid when a nomination application is submitted as follows:

Business Size TSS Visa ENS/RSMS Visa
Small (annual turnover less than $10 million) AUD$1,200 per year AUD$3,000 one-off
Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more)
AUD$1,800 per year

AUD$3,000 one-off

For example, if submitting a TSS Visa, as a small size business, AUD$1,200 is payable at the nomination lodgement stage if nominating 1 year, AUD$2,400 if nominating 2 years and so on. If not a small business, AUD$1,800 is payable at the nomination lodgement stage if nominating 1 year, AUD$3,600 if nominating 2 years and so on.

The SAF levy is payable even if the applicant is changing employer or occupation only.

The $3,000 (small business) or $5,000 (if not a small business) is payable when submitting an ENS or RSMS nomination application for a permanent position.

Despite the previous training obligations being replaced, existing standard business sponsors must still demonstrate that they met the training obligations before 12 August 2018 during their period as a standard business sponsor to meet ENS and RSMS nomination criteria i.e. the SAF levy AND the training obligations for any applicable period will apply.

Can I ask my employee to pay the SAF levy?

No. Sponsors are obligated to cover the costs of the SAF levy and cannot in any way recover the cost from their overseas skilled worker.

Can I request a refund of the SAF?

Refunds of the SAF levy is only available in any of the following scenarios:

  • The sponsorship and visa applications are approved, but the overseas skilled worker (visa holder) does not arrive/commence employment with the employer.
  • The employer's sponsorship and nomination application for the overseas skilled worker is approved, but the associated visa application is refused on health or character grounds.
  • A TSS visa holder leaves the sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment where the visa period was for more than 12 months. Refunds will only be available in this scenario for unused full years of the SAF levy. Note: This does not apply to ENS or RSMS holders who leave their employer within the first 12 months of employment.
  • The nomination fee is refunded (for example where a concurrent sponsor application is refused).

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