Federal Budget 2017: red tape reduction and visa reforms for SMEs

The Federal Government has announced that $300 million will be given to states and territories over the next two years in order to reduce the amount of red tape facing small businesses.

The idea behind the changes is that too many licensing and registration requirements are holding businesses back from getting started quickly.

So a new group will be formed called the National Partnership on Regulatory Reform. The group will make payments to states and territory governments as long as the states fund reforms that help economic performance – with a key focus on business regulation.

Another $12.9 million will be given to the National Competition Council over the next years to assess these reduction proposals and if they were effective.

One of the examples used by the Government in the Budget was of a café owner – currently the licensing and building requirements for opening a café are cumbersome. Streamlining those would make for a better business experience and help the economy faster.

Meanwhile, significant changes will be made to skilled visas.

The Government has already announced that 457 visas will be scrapped and replaced with two new types of visas. But other changes are coming too.

From March 2018, any businesses that employ foreign workers on some visas will be required to pay a levy. Any business with turnover less than $10 million per year, and which currently has an employee on a Temporary Skill Shortage Visa, will be required to pay a levy of $1,200 per visa, per year.

They will also be made to pay a one-off payment of $3,000 for each employee being sponsored for a permanent Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) visa or a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa.

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