Government Fundraising or Money Grab? Millions Collected from Australian Businesses

A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) report, shared by the Migration Institute of Australia, implies a staggering $7 million dollars has potentially been taken by the Australian Government for Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) nomination applications that went nowhere.

The FOI report shows the number of TSS nominations that have been refused or withdrawn under a standard business sponsorship between 14 August 2018 and 31 December 2018, with a shocking 2324 failed applications over a 4-month period.

This money has been generated via the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy, a fee payable per applicant, per year of nomination, with an amount based on the turnover of the company (under or over $10 million per annum). Payments into the SAF are intended to be used to fund apprenticeships and traineeships in the vocational education sector in order to “boost the number of people who choose and succeed in this pathway and help address skills shortages across Australia

The SAF – payable up-front and in full at the time of lodgement – is not refunded if the TSS Nomination application is refused or withdrawn. In fact, there is no legislative ability to even apply for a refund on this basis!

Representatives of the Migration Institute of Australia have been canvassing politicians on the subject of SAF payments and refunds – even going directly to Canberra to raise the issues – but there have been no reports on what has been discussed or decided.

It is surprising that business groups do not appear to be complaining about this money-raising exercise, as many of these applications would have been lodged by businesses themselves.

The moral of the story? It is crucial to ensure that your TSS Nomination application is accurate, compliant, and complete. Not only could your business miss out on skilled workers to meet your needs, you could also incur losses of thousands of dollars that cannot be recovered.