The Australian Government has proposed and implemented a number of changes impacting different visa categories.

Education Cost for 457 Visa Holders in South Australia

From January 2017, as announced by the Government of the State of South Australia, temporary workers holding subclass 457 visa will be required to pay a contribution fee for enrolling their children in Government schools. This proposed change will be implemented to all subclass 457 visa holders from January 2018.

While this change does not affect any visa conditions, sponsors of 457 visa and/or subclass 457 visa holders sponsored to work in South Australia, moving with dependents need to view this as an extra cost. The amount of contribution will be A$5,100 for primary school and A$6,100 for secondary (high) school. However, the contribution will be means-tested, so that the contribution may be waived if the gross family income does not exceed A$57,000. A lesser contribution will be applicable to those whose gross family income is below A$77,000 and this threshold rises by A$10,000 for each additional child with a 10% discount applied where multiple children will be attending schools.

Introduction of the Entrepreneur Visa

Entrepreneur Visa category has been introduced within Australia's Business Innovation and Investment Visa Program which allows foreign entrepreneurs within 55 years of age who intend to initiate a "complying entrepreneur activity" to seek an invitation to apply for the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) (subclass 188) visa. These applicants must be competent with English language.

The Subclass 188 visa will be a provisional visa issued for four (4) years and three (3) months, during which time the visa holder must maintain a relationship with their nominating State or Territory. Subclass 188 visa holders may gradually obtain permanent residence in Australia after residing in the country for at least 2 years, subject to the success of their venture as measured by turnover, job creation and ongoing financial backing.

Foreign entrepreneurs looking to apply under this category will need to demonstrate funding of at least A$200,000 and have at least a 30% stake in the proposed venture and be nominated by a State or Territory Government. There are restrictions laid out towards the source of investment and there are exclusions for ventures involving residential real estate, labour hire or purchase of existing businesses. 

Proposed Taxation Reforms for Working Holiday Visas

As of January 1, 2017, the Australian Government will implement taxation reforms which will affect holders of Work and Holiday - Subclass 462, and Working Holiday - Subclass 417 visas and employers/sponsors of these visa holders.

The taxation rate for these visa holders will be reduced and also the visa application charges will be reduced from A$440 to A$390. The rate of taxation will be reduced from 32.5% to 19% on the first A$37,000 of earnings.

Employers of these visa holders will need to register themselves with the Australian Taxation Office and they will also be able to employ the visa holders in different regions of Australia for a total of twelve (12) months across the country, while still only being able to employ them for a maximum of six (6) months in a single location. To illustrate, under the current arrangements, the holder of one of these visas may only work for a single employer for a period of six (6) months in total and they would be in breach of their visa if they worked for the same employer in two (2) locations for a period of more than six (6) months in total. Under these changes they may work for up to six (6) months for the same employer in different regions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.