Federal Budget Impacts Businesses Employing Foreign Workers

There are many businesses, right across Australia, taking advantage of the skills and knowledge that foreign workers bring to the workplace. If you’re one of them, you’ll need to be aware of the changes announced in the Federal budget on 9 May… because they will impact you!

In essence, the government is imposing an annual foreign worker levy on your business plus a one-off levy for every foreign worker you employ.

What Does This Mean to You?

Small businesses pay:

  • $1200 per worker for every year the temporary visa worker is under their employment
  • A one-off payment of $3000 for each employee they sponsor for a permanent skilled visa.

Larger businesses, with a turnover of more than $10 million pay:

  • $1800 per worker per year under their employment
  • A one off $5000 levy for permanent skilled visas.


The new levies are expected to raise $1.2 billion over the next four years. This will contribute to a new Skilled Australians Fund which will support around 300,000 apprenticeships and traineeships in high-demand occupations that currently rely on skilled migration.

What Else Do You Need To Know?

The Federal Budget announcement comes hot on the heels of a reform to the 457 Visa program for skilled migrants which came into effect in mid-April 2017.

The reform saw the 457 Visa program replaced by a short-term two-year visa and a medium-term four-year visa with a new, more targeted occupation lists which better aligns with the skills needed in the Australian labour market.

Additionally, the reform lifted charges for Visa applications; with the short-term (two-year) stream increasing from $1,060 to $1,150, and the medium-term (four-year) applications costing $2,400. By the time the reforms are completed in March 2018, further restrictions on permanent residency will come into effect. Read more here.

Questions? We’re here to help

For expert advice on how these changes will impact your business and how you can prepare for a future with all the skilled foreign workers you need, contact your Ayers Group account manager.