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Senate Passes Skilling Australians Fund: May Immigration News


Written By Michelle O'Sullivan | Thu, May 10, 2018 Michelle O'Sullivan

Please click here for current LMT requirements in effect from 12 August 2018.

Please click here for current SAF levy requirements in effect from 12 August 2018.

On 8 May 2018, the Senate finally passed the Skilling Australians Fund Bill, with some amendments included.

The SAF will take the place of the previous mandatory training benchmarks, which applied to approved employer sponsors or those employers seeking to become approved as a sponsor, for the purposes of nominating candidates for the TSS visa, or employer nominated permanent residency.

The SAF will affect nominating employers as follows:

TSS Nominations

  • For Companies with a turnover of more than $10M, a fee of $1,800 per year a TSS visa is to be held, or part thereof, will be levied.
  • For Companies with a turnover of less than $10M, a fee of $1,200 per year a TSS visa is to be held, or part thereof, will be levied.

Refunds of the SAF Levy

The bill does provide for refunds of the levy paid in respect to TSS nominations, under certain circumstances, which are as follows:

  • In cases where the employer’s sponsorship application is refused
  • Where the employer’s sponsorship is approved, but an employee’s subsequent visa application is refused on health or character grounds.
  • When an approved visa holder does not actually commence work with the sponsor.
  • When a TSS visa holder leaves their sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment. The refund will only be for the balance of the years remaining on the visa.

Permanent Residency Nominations

  • For Companies with a turnover of more than $10M, a flat rate of $5,000 will be levied.
  • For Companies with a turnover of less than $10M, a flat rate of $3,000 will be levied.

At this stage, there appears to be no provision for a refund of a levy paid in respect to a permanent residency nomination.

The timeline for the implementation of the SAF is still uncertain, as the relevant Legal Instruments and Regulations are still to be codified into Law. TSS Immigration will provide an update as soon as the relevant Laws are enacted. In the meantime, we are working to submit any applications that are lodgement ready on behalf of our clients, so as to avoid the training levy where possible.

Labour Market Testing (LMT) provisions

One of the requirements of a TSS nomination is that the nominating employer provides evidence of having conducted Labour Market Testing. Evidence which meets the following criteria will generally be considered sufficient:

1. The nominated position has been advertised in Australia

2. The advertisement was in English and included the following information:

  • the title, or a description, of the position
  • the name of the approved sponsor or the name of the recruitment agency being used by the sponsor
  • the annual earnings for the position (unless the annual earnings will be greater than the Fair Work High Income Threshold, currently AUD 142,000).

3. A least two advertisements were published:

  • on a national recruitment website (for example, jobactive.gov.au) – that is, a prominent or professional recruitment website that publishes advertisements for positions throughout Australia.  A general classifieds website or an advertisement solely through a social media notification, such as Twitter or Instagram is not an acceptable method
  • in national print media – that is, national newspapers or magazines that are published at least monthly and marketed throughout Australia
  • on national radio – that is, radio programmes that are broadcast or syndicated nationally.
  • if the sponsor is accredited – on the businesses' website.

Whilst the required period of advertising is currently 21 days within the last 6 months, this is set to change to an advertising period of 28 days within the last 4 months. The date from which this new timeframe applies has not been confirmed, however TSS Immigration will provide updates as they are received. Please note that there are limited exceptions to the requirement to demonstrate LMT. TSS immigration will advise on these should they be applicable to your application.

Accredited Sponsorship

Employers seeking approval or who are already approved as a sponsor, may, under certain circumstances, be eligible to apply for or vary an existing approved sponsorship and seek sponsorship accreditation status.

If an employer gains accredited status, associated nominations and complete visa applications will benefit from significantly faster processing times and automated decisions.

To find out more about Accredited Sponsorship status, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Visa processing times

DHA regularly updates it’s published visa processing times. You can check the most recent estimates at the following link: https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/about/access-accountability/service-standards/global-visa-citizenship-processing-times

Police clearances

The majority of employer sponsored visas require the applicant to obtain police clearances from any country in which they have lived for 12 months, within the last 10 years. Many of our clients have experienced difficulty in obtaining FBI clearances in particular. This process has hopefully become less arduous, with the FBI clearances now available for application online at the following link:

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks#Electronically-Submit%20a%20Request

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