The Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy impacts employers sponsoring overseas workers on both temporary and permanent visas. It officially came into force on August 12th 2018.

The SAF levy is a levy payable by employers nominating overseas skilled workers for any of the following visas:

  • Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) (subclass 482)
  • Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) (subclass 186)
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) (subclass 187)

The purpose of the SAF levy is to require employers who sponsor temporary and permanent overseas skilled workers to contribute to the broader skills development of Australians.

The SAF levy amount is payable in full when lodging a nomination application. The amount depends on the size of the sponsoring business and the proposed period of stay of the overseas worker in Australia. SAF levy payments are tax deductible.

Business size TSS visa ENS / RSMS visas
Small Business annual turnover < $10 million AUD1,200 per year or part thereof AUD3,000 one-off
Large Business annual turnover > $10 million AUD1,800 per year or part thereof AUD5,000 one-off

There are no exemptions for the SAF levy, except for religious workers nominated under the Labour Agreement streams of the TSS or ENS visas. All other sponsors who are party to a Labour Agreement must also pay the SAF levy


Refunds of the SAF levy are ONLY available in the following circumstances:

  • Visa Holder does not commence work:The sponsorship and visa applications are approved, but the overseas skilled worker (visa holder) does not arrive/commence employment with the employer.
  • Visa application is refused on health or character grounds:The employer’s sponsorship and nomination application for the overseas skilled worker is approved, but the associated visa application is refused on health or character grounds.
  • Visa Holder left the position within the first 12 months: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 holders who leave their employer within the first 12 months of employment.
  • The nomination fee is refunded: for example where a concurrent sponsor application is refused.

Contact us at info@australiamigrate.com or 61 2 94116000 for detailed information.