Global Immigration Updates: Australia, China, and Germany

August 10, 2018

Recent immigration updates include a new act requiring contributions to the Skilling Australians Fund in Australia; an announcement that residents from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan will no longer need work permits in the People’s Republic of China; and amended approval requirements for immigration forms in Germany regarding non-EU nationals.


The Australia Department of Home Affairs recently announced that the Migration (Skilling Australians Fund (SAF)) Changes Regulations Act will take effect on August 12, 2018. The implementation of the SAF will impact Labor Market Testing (LMT) requirements, as well as the fees associated with sponsoring employees under the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS), Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS), and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) programs.


Starting August 12, businesses seeking to sponsor employees on the TSS, ENS, or RSMS program will be required to make a contribution to the SAF at the time of nomination.

The contribution will be determined by the turnover of the business as follows:

Visa Type

Annual Turnover:
Less than AU $10 million

Annual Turnover:
AU $10 million or more

Temporary Visa Nominations
(i.e., nominations of holders of subclass 457 and subclass 482)

$1,200 per year of the proposed visa period

$1,800 per year of the proposed visa period

Permanent Visa Nominations
(i.e., nominations of holders of subclass 186 and subclass 187)

$3,000 (one-time payment) per nomination

$5,000 (one-time payment) per nomination

Labor Market Testing

The SAF Act also amended the LMT requirements for employers seeking to sponsor employees on the TSS program. The amendment includes increasing the period for which a job advertisement must be active from 21 days to 28 days, and reducing the period in which LMT must have been undertaken from 6 months to 4 months.


On August 3, 2018, the People’s Republic of China State Council announced that residents from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan (HMTs) will no longer need to obtain work permits in order to work lawfully in the PRC. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and its local counterparts are expected to release relevant rules to implement this development and issue guidance on related issues, such as social insurance and potential housing fund contributions and eligibility for open-ended contracts.

PRC employers (or their agents) will need to check with each local labor authority as to whether the work permit requirement has been waived already. At present, not all cities have done away with the work permit requirement for HMTs.


The German labor authority has amended approval requirements for the employment of non-EU nationals. Where a non-EU national transfers to Germany on an assignment, he or she is already required to provide details regarding gross salary and confirm equal pay as part of the application. Applicants will now be required to confirm equal pay on the amounts being paid abroad and/or in Germany. The benchmark for equal pay is an average German employee in the same region performing the same work and having the same level of work-related/relevant experience. Expenses that are reimbursed or limited accommodation allowances can no longer be considered as salary when calculating whether an assignee’s gross salary meets the equal pay threshold, and all salary components will need to be itemized on the pay slips for extension applications. Non-EU nationals that are employed under local employment contracts will be required to provide additional information on collective payment commitments, overtime arrangements, and number of vacation days as part of their applications.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers: 

Jennifer Connolly

K. Lesli Ligorner