With end of financial year salary reviews beginning it is important for employers to note that from 1 July 2020 the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) rose to $153,600. This new salary threshold should be kept in mind for those employees wanting to qualify for the Employer Nomination, Regional Skilled Migration and Global Talent Schemes.
What is FWHIT and why is it important?
The FWHIT is revised at the end of each financial year by the Fair Work Commission and is used predominantly in an employment law context. Aside from use in employment law the FWHIT is also used to determine eligibility for some visas and allow access to relaxed requirements for others. This is just one of many areas where employment and migration law crossover.
Employer Nomination and Regional Skilled Migration Schemes
Most often the FWHIT is used to ensure the eligibility of senior staff for employer sponsored permanent residence. Both employer sponsored permanent residency visas [Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and Regional Skilled Migration Scheme (subclass 187)] allow exemptions from the upper age limit for applicants to apply for the visa. One of these is based on the applicant’s salary being at least the FWHIT.
The age limit for both subclass 186 and 187 visas is usually 45 years old (or 50 if transitional arrangements apply). However, if the employee meets the follow criteria there is no upper age limit, meaning older, more senior employees have a pathway to permanent residence open up for them.
- The employee worked for the same business on a 457 or 482 visa for 3 years (2 if transitional provisions apply) in the same role; AND
- For each of the 2/3 years earnt at least the FWHIT minimum.
Most skilled visas to Australia have an upper age limit of 45 years and so the lure of being able to apply at any age provided the above conditions are met, is a powerful recruiting tool used by companies across Australia to secure top talent. It is therefore important that businesses protect their staff’s eligibility to use this exemption pathway by reviewing their salary in line with the FWHIT each year.
Global Talent Schemes
Another use of the FWHIT in the new Global Talent Scheme. Both the Global Talent Employer Sponsored Stream (GTES) and Independent Stream (GTIS) use this as the minimum salary required by an applicant to be eligible for the program.
If an existing business wishes to nominate an employee under the GTES it must show their salary is at least FWHIT. While in the GTIS an applicant must be capable of earning at least FWHIT in order to qualify.
If your business or an employee are going through the Expression of Interest process for the GTES or GTIS it is vital that remuneration reviews keep an the employee’s salary at, at least the FWHIT minimum.
Hammond Taylor recommends that employers flag in their HRIS system employees who require the FWHIT to qualify for permanent residence and continue to review their salaries annually in line with this.
If your business would like assistance in determining which high value or senior employees should be flagged please contact Hammond Taylor. We would be delighted to review your visa populations’ eligibility for permanent residence using these relaxed requirements.