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We have seen a lot of negativity about new visa sponsorship requirements, but it’s not all bad news.  For some business, the new Skilling Australians Fund Levy represents a saving.  Here are some details about how the new visa regime will impact your visa sponsorship.

Here are some more details about the new visa requirements prepared by our partners at Carman& Associates and Visa Solutions:

Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)

Although the new levy looks like an additional cost for sponsors, it is balanced by the removal of the ongoing need to meet the Training Benchmarks requirements.  For most visa sponsors this amounted to an imposed annual training budget towards its Australian employees of at least 1% of business payroll. Depending on your business’ circumstances and amount of nominations you may need to make, the introduction of the SAF may even represent a cost saving. It should come as some relief that this complex bureaucratic burden can now be ignored!

The SAF is a new levy applicable to the TSS, ENS & RSMS visa classes which will be implemented during the first quarter of the 2018-19 Financial Year (July-Oct 2018).

The SAF levy charges are payable up front at the time of nomination with the following proposed amounts:

TSS Nominations

  • Businesses with a turnover of less than $10M – $1,200.00 AUD per year requested in the TSS Visa nomination
  • Businesses with a turnover of more than $10M – $1,800.00 AUD per year requested in the TSS Visa nomination

ENS/RSMS Nominations

  • Businesses with a turnover of less than $10M – $3,000 AUD flat one-off charge
  • Businesses with a turnover of more than $10M – $5,000 AUD flat one-off charge


Your business has a turnover of $8m pa and you are nominating a GP for a TSS Visa with the maximum permitted stay period of 4 years. At the time of nomination, you will be required to pay a SAF levy charge of $4,800 AUD ($1,200 for each of the 4 years)


Do I have to pay a charge for each person I nominate?

Yes, the SAF levy charge will apply to each main candidate that you nominate, even those that hold an existing 457/TSS Visa.

What about their family members?

The SAF will apply only to the main nominee and will not be applicable to each family member being included in the nomination.

What if my employee leaves the business before their visa expires, can I get a refund of the SAF?

It is proposed that under certain circumstances total or partial refunds of the SAF may be obtained. These are for example:

  • In cases where the employer has their sponsorship application refused
  • Where the nominee does not begin working for the sponsor
  • Where the nominee leaves within the first 12 months of employment (refund of the remaining years may be refunded)

Please note that as the SAF has not yet been made into law, the exact policy and details may differ.

Can I pass this cost onto the visa applicant?

No, the levy must be met by the sponsor and cannot be passed onto the nominee or any third party.

Why are the Government charging so much?

It is hoped that the SAF levy will help contribute to an overall budget of $1.5 Billion that will focus on the Vocational Education and Training sector and a drive to increase the opportunity for apprenticeships and traineeships for Australians.

“The visa information provided in this document was produced by a MARA registered migration agent of Carman & Associates Pty Ltd and accurate at the time of publication. Alecto provides no comment or explanation of the information contained”.