28 May 2019
Refund Provisions – Skilling Australians Fund Charges
Since the introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) charges (also known as the training levy) on 12 August 2018, much has been said about the limited refund provisions. A recent report released under Freedom of Information showed that between 14 August and 31 December 2018, an estimated AU$8 million was raised in revenue from refused applications.
Submissions have been made to Parliament for the refund provisions to be expanded including a suggestion that the levy should only be paid upon visa grant, and not at application lodgement. This will ensure that funds are not paid in circumstances where the visa does not come to fruition.
A formal and independent review of the Skilling Australians Fund will be undertaken after 22 November 2019, that is, 18 months after the date of Royal Assent of the relevant Act. This may create an opportunity for stakeholders to provide submissions on refund provisions and other aspects of the Fund’s operations and charges.
In the meantime, a reminder that refund provisions are ONLY available in the following scenarios:
- The sponsorship and visa applications are approved, but the foreign worker (visa holder) does not arrive/commence employment with the employer;
- The employer’s sponsorship and nomination application for the foreign worker is approved, but the associated visa application is refused on health or character grounds;
- A TSS visa holder leaves the sponsoring employer within the first 12 months of employment where the visa period was for more than 12 months. Refunds will only be available in this scenario for unused full years of the SAF levy. NOTE: This does not apply to ENS or RSMS permanent residence holders who leave their employer within the first 12 months of employment; or
- The nomination fee is refunded (e.g. where a concurrent sponsor application is refused).
A failure to submit required documentation at time of lodgement, such as evidence of labour market testing, leading to refusal of a nomination, is not a ground for a refund, nor is a credit available if the same application is re-lodged.
Ajuria Lawyers will advise our clients in the event refunds are possible in a particular case.
DISCLAIMER This information is current as of 28 May 2019 and subject to change. The information contained in this publication is of a general nature only. It should not be used as legal advice. To the extent permissible by law, Ajuria Lawyers and its associated entities shall not be liable for any errors, omissions, defects or misrepresentations in the information or for any loss or damage suffered by persons who use or rely on such information. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.