Another anticipated change to the Visa program has been approved in parliament. The Skilling Australians Fund legislation passed in Senate this week, which will result in changes to the requirements of businesses looking to sponsor talent for working visas.

The Skilling Australians Fund (Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017) is a levy designed to raise funds by charging upfront fees to employers choosing to sponsor international talent on certain visa types. The money raised is to be managed by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to fund training and education programs for Australian workers. While it may make the process of sourcing skilled workers from overseas more costly, it is a positive step towards ensuring that local talent is being nurtured.

The legislation now has to go through a process to receive Royal Assent (endorsement from the Governor General), which can take up to 10 days. Although none of the changes will come into effect until the regulations are released, businesses should be aware of the following key differences:

1. No more training benchmarks – The training benchmarks required of businesses sponsoring workers have been scrapped. This will be good news for companies struggling to meet current training quotas in order to be eligible to sponsor.
2. Additional fees –Whilst training benchmarks will become a thing of the past, additional fees will be payable for each application. Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (Subclass 482) visa applications will attract an upfront payment of between $1,200 and $1,800 for each year the employee is sponsored. Permanent Residence visa sponsors (PR visa under Subclass 186) will be required to pay fees of $3,000 up to $5,000 upfront – the amount is determined by the turnover of the sponsor company.
3. Changes to Labour Market Testing (LMT) – Adjustments have also been made to Labour Market Testing requirements. Changes include extending the length of time job advertisements must be run for to 4 weeks (previously 3 weeks). In an effort to ensure that testing is current, LMT must now be carried out no more than 4 months prior to submitting an application for sponsorship. The time frame previously allowed was up to 1 year.

Entity Solutions will keep you updated on the regulations, including when they are released and when the legislation will come into effect. If you have any questions or concerns about how these changes might affect your business, please contact our team of expert Migration Agents today on (03) 9600 0333 or via email at enquiries@entitysolutions.com.au.