Skip to main content

Australian organisations that nominate overseas workers for positions, are required to pay a nomination training contribution charge (often referred to as the ‘SAF Levy’). However, if a nomination or visa application is refused or withdrawn, any SAF levy paid, would be refunded in limited circumstances.

 

Background

The SAF Levy was introduced 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 SAF Levy must be paid by employers who nominate foreign workers for the following visas:

  1. Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage)
  2. Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional))
  3. Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme) (DES and TRTS)
  4. Subclass 187 (Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme) (TRTS)

The SAF Levy must also be paid where an employer is seeking to transfer an existing subclass 457 (Temporary Work (Skilled)) or 482 visa holder from another employer’s business (even though in these cases, a separate visa application is not usually required).

For 482 visas, the cost of nominating one worker ranges from $1200 to $7200. The cost depends on the employer’s latest annual turnover and the amount of years the employer can and wants to nominates the worker for (the current maximum being four years at a time). For the remaining visas, the cost of nominating one worker ranges from $3000 to $5000 which depends on the employer’s latest annual turnover.

The SAF Levy must be paid by the employer before it can nominate a foreign worker to fill a position. Therefore, an employer should factor in this additional cost before it considers making an employment offer to a foreign worker.

 

When can the SAF Levy be refunded?

The Immigration Department has the discretion to provide a full or partial refund of the SAF Levy in limited situations where a request for a refund is made.

Below is a summary of the most common situations where an employer may request a refund.

 

457 and 482 visas

The SAF Levy may be refunded where:

  1. a nomination is lodged due to a mistake made by the Department;
  2. a nomination is withdrawn because the information used to calculate the SAF Levy was incorrect;
  3. a nomination is withdrawn because the employer’s application to become an approved standard business sponsor has either been withdrawn or refused;
  4. a prospective worker’s 482 visa application is refused on health, character or fraud-related grounds;
  5. a prospective worker’s 482 visa is granted, but they fail to commence work with their employer; or
  6. a nomination is approved, the employer nominated the worker for more than one year, and the worker ceases work within their first year of employment – in this case, the employer may obtain a partial refund.

 

494 visas

The SAF Levy may be refunded where:

  1. a nomination is lodged due to a mistake made by the Department;
  2. a nomination is withdrawn because the wrong occupation was mistakenly selected;
  3. a nomination is withdrawn because the wrong stream was mistakenly selected;
  4. a nomination is withdrawn because the information used to calculate the SAF Levy was incorrect;
  5. a nomination is withdrawn because the employer’s application to become an approved standard business sponsor has either been withdrawn or refused;
  6. a prospective worker’s 494 visa application is refused on health, character or fraud-related grounds;
  7. a prospective worker’s 494 visa is granted, but they fail to commence work with their employer; or
  8. a nomination is approved and the worker ceases work within their first year of employment – in this case, the employer may obtain a partial refund.

 

186 (DES and TRTS) and 187 (TRTS) visas

The SAF Levy may be refunded where:

  1. a nomination is lodged due to a mistake made by the Department;
  2. a nomination is withdrawn because the information used to calculate the SAF Levy was incorrect;
  3. a nomination lodged in the Temporary Residence Transition stream is withdrawn because the wrong occupation was mistakenly selected;
  4. a nomination is withdrawn because the wrong stream was mistakenly selected;
  5. a prospective worker’s 186 or 187 visa application is refused on health, character or fraud-related grounds; or
  6. a prospective worker’s 186 or 187 visa is granted, but they fail to commence work with their employer.

It should be noted, that even if the circumstances outlined above are met, the Department may decide, in exercising its discretion, not to refund the amount, or may elect to refund part of the amount paid. The Department could take a number of factors into account when exercising its discretion, including the conduct of the nominating organisation, its compliance record and whether there is any adverse information about the organisation.