Individuals and Travellers

Employer Sponsored Skilled visas - Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy

This page provides information regarding the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy.

What is the SAF levy?

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

The levy funds the SAF, which is managed by the Department of Education and Training (DET). 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. For payment options, see: How to Pay.

Business sizeTSS visaENS / RSMS visas
Small (annual turnover less than $10 million) AUD1200 per year or part thereof AUD3000 one-off
Other business (annual turnover of $10 million or more) AUD1800 per year or part thereof AUD5000 one-off

Information provided in the online nomination application form is used to calculate the required SAF levy amount payable.

Example: a business with an annual turnover of more than AU$10M per year which wishes to nominate a TSS worker for a period of four years, would be liable to pay a SAF levy of AUD7200 (4 years x AUD1800).


  • The nomination application form only allows sponsors to select one of the radio-button selections, being one, two, three or four year nomination period. The SAF levy payment is calculated based on the selected option.
  • The SAF levy is payable at the time of lodging any nomination application. This includes where a nomination application is being lodged to allow a TSS visa holder to change employer or occupation.

When will the SAF levy payments commence?

The SAF levy will commence on 12 August 2018. The SAF levy only applies to TSS, ENS and RSMS nomination applications lodged on or after 12 August 2018.

Are there any exemptions to the SAF levy?

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.

Can I ask my employee to pay the SAF levy?

No. Sponsors must not pass on the costs of the SAF levy to overseas skilled workers.

Can I request a refund of the SAF levy?

Refunds of the SAF levy are only available in any of the following scenarios:

  • The sponsorship and visa applications are approved, but the overseas skilled worker (visa holder) does not arrive/commence employment with the employer.
  • 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.
  • 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).

What about the training benchmarks?

The training benchmarks will no longer apply from 12 August 2018.

For ENS and RSMS visas, the training benchmarks will only apply to nomination applications lodged before 12 August 2018.

For TSS visas, the sponsorship obligation regarding the training benchmarks will only apply for the 12 month period ending on or before 12 August 2018.