Administrative Appeals Tribunal
- Proposed the provision of alternate visa and migration pathways for persons seeking to remain in Australia for the purpose of performing low or semi-skilled work
- Potential future permanent visa pathways option to those provisional work visa holders who have complete a requisite minimum period of low and semi-skilled areas.
Ajuria Lawyers Pty Ltd
Submission 6 – Changing the Training Levy
- Clients believed that the training levy imposes an additional and unnecessary impost on their businesses for no benefit that they can see as they still must also pay directly for training Australians.
- Suggested alternative to the levy of method of direct refund or subsidy to businesses who offer formal and structured training
- Refund provisions should be expanded to include withdrawals and more situations outside of sponsors control
- Also suggested refunds or credit in situations where visa holder who subsequently leaves
Submission 10 – Better align visa pathways with career progressions
- Argues current system restrains career progressions of employees on temporary visas
- E.g. Usual path for a chef starts at cook then progresses to Chef. However, current TSS programs draws a hard line between cooks and chefs and requires employers to not move between those occupations without a new nomination and visa application
- Difficult to rely on time spent as a cook to qualify for a new application
- Employers are prevented from advancing temporary visa holders which creates serious succession planning issues, insecurity in employees and lose of personnel.
THE BIG 4
- Clients flagged difficulties in attracting younger workers into their industry due to inability to recognise overseas qualifications
- Overseas graduates are required to undertake further study in Australia in order to be recognised
- Lifting the PR age restriction to 50.
- Introduction of digital nomad visa – provides unrestricted work rights for up to 90 days, not age restrictive and available to all passport nationalities.
- Recommends reforming SAF by spreading costs evenly over the visa term, making more provisions for refunds and providing credits for ‘Trusted Trainer’ business where certain conditions are met
- Removing the need for accredited sponsors to pay the SAF leve where they can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to the training and upskilling of Australian nationals
- if a sponsoring employer identifies an occupation not on a Priority Occupation List, KPMG recommends that the employer should still be allowed to nominate the role for a four-year Temporary Skilled Visa if the minimum salary for the role exceeds $90,000 plus superannuation ($100,000 for transitioning to a permanent visa).
- As a clearly ineffective requirement to enforce genuine testing of the Australian labour market, we believe that the imposition of SAF levy acts to sufficiently prioritise Australian workers, thus deeming LMT processes and requirements redundant.
Current sponsoring employers could also be incentivised to sponsor their TSS employees for permanent residency. Currently some employers are loath to do so for fear that the employee will leave once their residency is granted, especially given that the SAF levy is required to be paid a second time for the permanent residency application. TSS visa holders wanting to apply for permanent residency under the TRT stream must work for their employer for three years.30 If they change employer within that time they must restart the time period with the new employer. The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy should be removed where the employer is sponsoring the applicants under the TRT stream of the ENS. This would ameliorate the cost to the TRT stream sponsor and make it equivalent to that of the DE stream of the ENS, where the sponsor only pays the SAF levy once.
- The MIA recommends that the Skilling Australians Fund Levy be removed for Employer Sponsored Temporary Residence Transition stream applications.
Law Council of Australia
- The impact of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy in contributing to the broader skills development of Australians is unclear. It suggests the levy is often unaffordable for many smaller businesses or those sponsoring multiple employees. It suggests the SAF levy be abolished or reduced, and consideration be given to calculating it based on salary rather than business turnover—for example, one per cent of the base salary offered to visa applicants.
- Give states ability to choose how they use their allocation and reallocate further skilled independent visa places from CTH to state
- Reduce or remove fees for Employer-Sponsored visas and for some sectors – e.g., temporarily removing the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy or waivers for occupations in most demand for both business sponsors and employees. Any
- temporary removal of the SAF levy should not affect funding allocated to states and territories.
- Reduce or remove unnecessary barriers that prevent regional employers from timely access to skilled migrants – e.g., unnecessary expectations of years of experience.
- Pursue greater mutual recognition of overseas qualifications, licensing and registration procedures with major migrant source countries including supporting migrants to update their qualifications prior to arrival in Australia to expedite their ability to enter the workforce.
Visa Lawyers Australia
- Refunds of the SAF levy payment are available to employers in limited circumstances. We submit that the situations in which refunds of the SAF levy are made possible, should be extended given the purpose of the imposition of the SAF levy and the fact that the levy involves significant expenditure on the part of the employer.
- It follows that, if the position is not filled by a person who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, then the reason for the payment of the SAF levy does not arise or no longer exists. Given this, there is no justification for not refunding the SAF levy where the nomination application is refused or withdrawn, or the visa application is refused or withdrawn, for in such situations, the position is not being filled by a nonAustralian.
- For the government to retain the SAF levy in such cases, would be to penalise the nominator, who is already out of pocket for having paid non-refundable charges relating to the nomination application, and if they agreed to do so, the visa application.
- Recommendation 4.1: The SAF levy should be refunded to a nominator where the nomination application is refused or withdrawn, or the visa application is refused or withdrawn, for in such situations, the position is not being filled by a non-Australian. Alternatively, if the government seeks to retain the SAF levy in circumstances where the nomination and/or visa applications are refused or withdrawn, then it should clarify its policy for doing so. In addition, it should allow for further instances for refunds of SAF levy payments
- The majority of SA businesses (ie. those with an annual turnover of less than $10 million) will now pay an additional training levy of $1,200 for every 457 visa holder they sponsor, with larger businesses paying $1,800 per annum. For each permanent employer sponsored migration application, the business will pay an additional $5,000 levy. There is no guarantee that the levy funds will be invested in the region from which it was collected, potentially exacerbating the skills shortage.
- The average age of SA small businesses owner / managers is high, making identifying potential purchasers for their businesses important. In theory, the Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) visa could enable these businesses to sell to suitable migrants. The typical value of SA small and medium enterprises is, however, generally lower than the BIIP investment value, making most of them ineligible for purchase by someone entering on such a visa.
- ANZSCO should be replaced with a more flexible system that adapts to emerging labour market needs in consultation with industry.
- Employers should be exempt from paying the Skilling Australia Fund levy twice for the same applicant.
- The Skilling Australia Fund levy should be refunded where a visa application is unsuccessful.