The 2017-18 Federal Budget saw several changes announced to the immigration programme which will affect the cost of visa applications from 1 July. Additionally, information has also been provided regarding the changes forecasted to the training benchmark, which will affect 457 and 186 applications, and their sponsors, from March 2018.
Increase to Australian Visa Application Charges from 1 July
The increase to the Visa Application fees will be minimal. The below fees do not include the credit card surcharges applied by the Department of Immigration at the time of lodgement
1. Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa – Subclass 457 visa
The visa application fees for Subclass 457 visa applications will increase for adults and children from AUD1,060 and AUD265 respectively, to the following:
- AUD1,080 for each adult applicant
- AUD270 for each child under 18
These application fees will apply until March 2018. After this time, the Subclass 457 visa will be replaced by the Temporary Skills Shortage Visa (“TSS”) and the cost of the application fee will depend on whether the nominated occupation falls within the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List or the Short-term Skilled Occupation List.
2. Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) Visa – Subclass 400 visa
The Visa Application fee for the Subclass 400 visa will increase from AUD275 to AUD280.
3. Employer Nomination Scheme – Subclass 186 visa
Currently, the Base Visa Application fee for a Subclass 186 is AUD3,600. The fee for an accompanying spouse or de facto partner is AUD1,800 and AUD900 for a child. These fees will increase to the following:
- AUD3,670 for the Base Visa Application fee
- AUD1,835 for each additional adult
- AUD920 for each child under 18
Replacement of Training Benchmark
Employers/Sponsors applying for business sponsorship approval have, to date, been required to satisfy a training benchmark in order to be approved as a Standard Business Sponsor under the Subclass 457 visa scheme. This benchmark currently requires expenditure towards training existing employees or investing into a training fund.
This training benchmark also applies to Employer Nomination Scheme – Subclass 186 visa applications. Effective from March 2018, the existing training benchmark will be replaced by a ‘Skilling Australians Fund Levy’, affecting employers sponsoring Subclass 457 visa holders and those applying for the Subclass 186 visa.
The requirements of the Skilling Australians Fund Levy will be based on two categories – determined by the annual turnover of the business:
1. Turnover of less than AUD10 million per year
- For each employee sponsored on a TSS, an upfront payment of AUD1,200 per visa per year
- For each employee’s Subclass 186 visa application, a one-off payment of AUD3,000
2. Turnover of AUD10 million or more per year
- For each employee sponsored on a TSS, an upfront payment of AUD1,800 per visa per year
- For each employee’s Subclass 186 visa application, a one-off payment of AUD5,000