Introduction of the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)

Updated: Aug 31, 2018

The Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2018 came into effect on 12 August 2018.

The Bill follows announcements from the Australian Government on 18 April 2017 about the abolition of the much-maligned subclass 457 visa and its imminent replacement with the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa in March 2018.

The most significant proposed changes will be in the following areas:

  • Increasing the period prospective visa applicants must have been working in their skilled occupations prior to lodging their visa application for both temporary and permanent visas

  • the introduction of a training levy (Skilling Australia Fund) for all employer-sponsored visas

  • Increasing the English language requirements for permanent visas

  • Reducing the age of applicants who wish to remain in Australia permanently.

These changes have the potential to reduce the pathways for international students and short-term stream TSS visa holders to obtain a permanent migration outcome to Australia.

For more information please see the link below:


While I fully support the ‘Australians first’ mantra, there also needs to be recognition from the government that Australia’s labour market is not homogeneous. Without genuine ‘concessions’ for regional Australia (which includes the whole Northern Territory) these changes have the potential to limit the attractiveness of the Territory as a place for people from overseas to live, work and study and therefore further inhibit the NT’s population growth.

Minister Dutton may very well have ‘taken the sugar off the table’ in relation to boat people, but he needs to put it back on the table if regional Australia is going to be able to compete with Sydney and Melbourne for its share of Australia’s annual migration program.

We need our politicians to focus on Australia’s North, not themselves!