Two key pieces of legislation passed Federal Parliament last week (8 and 9 May), to introduce a training levy for employers nominating overseas skilled workers, and provide for changes to the labour market testing provisions.

The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2018 and Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017 were introduced to amend the Migration Act 1958 to provide for the collection of the nomination training contribution charge from employers accessing workers under the temporary and permanent employer sponsored migration programs.

Employers looking to sponsor employees for a Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482) visa) will be required to make an upfront contribution of between $1,200 and $1,800 per worker per year. Employers wishing to sponsor employees for a permanent visa will need to make a one-off contribution of either $3,000 or $5,000 depending on turnover.

The nomination training contribution charge aims to offset expenditure from the Skilling Australians Fund, a training fund administered by the Department of Education and Training, to support skills development of Australians.

The legislation passed after the government agreed to amendments from the Senate. The amendments made changes to the labour market testing provisions, including that:

  • the position must be advertised for at least four weeks,
  • advertising must occur within the four months prior to the lodgment of the nomination, and
  • the manner of the advertisements must be targeted in such a way that a significant portion of suitably qualified experienced Australians would be likely to be informed about the position.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, said the amendments “largely go to things which we were planning on including in instruments, but which the Senate wanted to be included in legislation.”

An amendment was also accepted from Central Alliance (formerly the Nick Xenophon Team), to review the operation of the Skilling Australians Fund levy after 18 months.

The legislation is not yet in effect. The provisions will commence on a date to be proclaimed, or on 23 November 2018 (whichever is earliest).