Training Benchmarks for Approval as a 457 Business Sponsor

As the employer, you must pay the Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy. The below training benchamrk payment obligations do not apply to new applications.

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

For the ENS visa, 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.

Businesses which have been operating for 12 months or more must show that they are able to meet a training benchmark to be approved as a business sponsor. The benchmark has been created by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and is intended to be an objective measure of the employer’s commitment to training Australians in the business.
Startup companies which have been operating for less than 12 months must show that they have an auditable plan to meet the benchmarks.

Businesses have two options in meeting the training benchmark:

  • Payment to an industry training fund of at least 2% of payroll; or
  • Expenditure of at least 1% of payroll on training of employees.

The business must show recent expenditure at the required level, and also commit to maintaining this level of funding for each 12 months period following approval of the sponsorship.

For the second option, costs which would be considered will include:

  • Paying for or funding a scholarship for formal study by employees at TAFE or University
  • Employment of apprentices, trainees or recent graduates in the business
  • Employment of a training officer
  • Payment to external providers for training

On the job training can only be included if it is structured with a clearly defined time frame and skill progression.

Expenditure will not be counted towards the benchmark if the training is:

  • Informal on the job training; or
  • Undertaken only by temporary residents; or
  • Undertaken by the principals of the business or their family members; or
  • At a very low skill level or confined to only one or a few aspects of the business.

Recent expenditure for Training Benchmark A is defined as expenditure made in the previous financial year or the previous 12 months, as evidenced by a receipt for the payment or a letter from the relevant fund.