Universities Australia is the peak body representing Australia’s 39 comprehensive universities in the national interest. We welcome the opportunity to provide input to the Senate inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Skilling Australians Fund) Bill 2017 and the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund) Charges Bill 2017. This submission complements those made by individual universities and university groups, which reflect their own particular circumstances and perspectives.
The Skilling Australians Fund legislation was announced in the May 2017 Federal Budget. It will amend the Migration Act so as to oblige employers who nominate a worker under the temporary and permanent migration programmes to pay a ‘nomination training contribution charge’ of $1,800 per year for a TSS visa and $5,000 for nominations under the 186 visa pathway. The funds go to the Skilling Australians Fund, a training fund to be administered by the Department of Education and Training to support skills development improving employment outcomes. Under this policy, universities will be required to contribute to the fund, yet will not be eligible to draw from it. This will cost the sector more than $9.5 million despite its central role in training and skilling Australia’s future workforce. This would be in addition to existing funding invested by all universities to train their employees.
As the peak body representing Australia’s university sector, Universities Australia urges the government to reconsider including universities in this legislation.