Working holiday visas available for Vietnam

The Federal Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced that a mutual work and holiday visa arrangement, Work and Holiday Visa (462, between Australia and Vietnam commenced today.

The arrangement enables vietnamese nationals aged between 18 and 30 to apply to stay in Australia for a year to undertake short-term work. The Work and Holiday visa (462) is commonly referred to as a “backpacker visa” and is often held by non-citizens performing seasonal and temporary work, including in the wine industry.

If a holder of a Work and Holiday visa (462) is performing work they are subject to the so called “backpacker tax” of 15% from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, with ordinary marginal tax rates applying thereafter. For further information visit the ATO’s dedicated website with information on the “backpacker tax”.

SAWIA appointed national wine industry representative for training policy

The South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) is proud to announce that we have been appointed as the national representative for the Australian wine industry through membership of the Food, Beverage and Pharmaceutical Industry Reference Committee (IRC) for Vocational Education and Training (VET). The appointment is for a 3-year term.

IRCs drive the process of training package development and are made up of people with experience, skills and knowledge of their particular industry sector. IRCs are responsible for ensuring that VET training packages meet the needs of employers by developing and reviewing training packages and inform industry priorities.

Industries are grouped together on an industry basis to form an IRC, with a committee structure and membership providing the best possible industry coverage and expertise to support training package reviews and development for each industry sector.

We are very pleased with the broad support we received for our nomination from individual wine industry employers and National and State wine industry associations.

SAWIA will be working closely with the wine industry nationally over the next 3 years to ensure that the interests of the industry is taken into account when developing and reviewing training packages and that the VET system is able to respond to the needs of the wine industry.

For more information contact Business Services Manager, Sarah Hills.

An international student can give your business an edge

For a winery exporting wine overseas and wanting to provide an enhanced tasting experience in the cellar door for international tourists who may be speaking a language other than English, employing an international student can make great business sense.

Having someone in your business who can speak and read the language, use foreign social media and advise about cultural expectations when exporting and welcoming international tourists into your cellar door can give you a competitive edge. Other benefits include consumer insights enabling you to understand and connect with your customer better and connecting to offshore networks to attract new business.

StudyAdelaide, the SA Government agency responsible for promoting Adelaide as the premier destination for international education, has established the EmployerPORTAL to connect South Australian employers with international students and graduates from South Australian universities and higher education providers at no charge to the employer or student.


ATO Employer Registration – Backpacker Tax Compliance

Employers seeking to utilise the new backpacker tax of 15% from the first dollar earned up to $37,000 and ordinary marginal tax rates thereafter for income earned by an employee holding a working holiday visa (Working Holiday Visa 417/Work and Holiday Visa 462) on or after 1 January 2017 must complete a once-off registration with ATO.

The online registration form is now available from the ATO website

Further, to assist employers of working holiday makers in determining the correct withholding amount the ATO has produced a new tax table which can be downloaded as an excel spreadsheet from the ATO website.

Backpacker Tax Reforms passed

Federal Parliament on 1 December 2016 passed the Federal Government’s revised Backpacker Tax Reform Package. The key feature is an income tax rate of 15% from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, with ordinary marginal tax rates applying thereafter for holders of the Working Holiday (417) visa and the Work and Holiday (462) visa.

Employers who wish to utilise the backpacker tax arrangements are required to undertake a once-off registration with the ATO. Employers who do not register will be required to withhold tax at 32.5 per cent from the first dollar earned.

The provisions on the 15% income tax rate and the registration requirement commenced on 2 December, but does not take full effect until next year as it applies to income earned on or after 1 January 2017.

For further information on the registration requirements and other aspects of the Backpacker Tax Reforms, contact the South Australian Wine Industry Association.

Greater opportunities for the Riverland wine region

According to a report by ABC Rural “South Australia’s Riverland region will benefit from a $40 million investment by one of Australia’s largest wine companies.”

“Accolade Wines will spend between $35 million and $40 million setting up a new glass bottling plant and warehouse facilities at its existing winery in Berri.”

“It is anticipated 40 people will be employed once the plant is operating.”

For more information on this expansion, see ABC Rural


Backpacker Tax Reform passes first hurdle

Following on from the announcement by the Federal Government that it would withdraw its proposed backpacker tax in favour of a tax rate of 19% from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, legislation now has been passed by the House of Representatives to this effect. However, the legislation also would need to pass the Senate.

The legislation also gives effect to other aspects of the Government’s policy announcement, including new registration requirements for employers and changes to the visas rules for working holiday makers.

The legislation now has been referred to a Senate inquiry which will hand down its report by 7 November 2016. SAWIA’s submission to the inquiry supported the lower tax rate of 19% as a workable compromise, but opposed other measures that simply will add red tape and increased compliance costs on wine industry employers.

SAWIA advocacy results in greater access to skilled regional migration

Annually, the South Australian Department of State Development (DSD) undertakes detailed labour force analysis to determine the occupations in which skills shortages could benefit from migration. The advocacy by the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA) has resulted in that the wine industry can continue to enjoy greater access to skilled regional migration.

In 2015 SAWIA was able to convince DSD to add the viticulturist and winemaker occupations to the list of skilled occupations that can be utilised to apply for the Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489) and the Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190). This gave wine industry employers greater access to skilled labour through the migration system.

For 2016 our focus was to ensure that the viticulturist and winemaker positions should be retained on the list of skilled occupations. Given that the wine industry is a significant export industry, having employees of a cultural and linguistic background that is relevant to the key export markets may provide a major benefit. For example, they can provide an insight into the culture and values of the export market that will assist the winery with their export efforts. Secondly and equally important, they can describe the winemaking process and sensory aspects to tourist and business visitors. Both of these provide a valuable resource to the South Australian wine industry especially as exports to China increases, supported by the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and Chinese visitor numbers increase.

SAWIA is pleased that wine industry employers are able to utilise the regional skilled migration system to fill skills shortages. To access the State-Nominated Skilled Occupation List, visit Immigration SA.

Government proposes new tax arrangements for backpackers

Following widespread stakeholder concern with the Federal Government’s proposal in 2015-16 budget to tax working holiday visa holders at 32.5 per cent from the first dollar earned, known as the “backpacker tax”, the Federal Department of Agriculture has consulted with stakeholders, including the South Australian Wine Industry Association (SAWIA).

During the consultation SAWIA was able to provide practical examples by members of the importance of working holiday visa holders to the wine industry and how the “backpacker tax” would be detrimental to the wine industry. SAWIA argued that the working holiday visa stream has been very successful and that the “backpacker tax” should be withdrawn as it would have a damaging impact on wine industry employers who despite their best efforts cannot fill casual vintage jobs with local applicants.

In response to the review, the Federal Government on 27 September 2016, announced a set of changes to the tax and visa arrangements for working holiday visa holders. The proposal by the Government, includes but is not limited to:

  • withdrawing the original proposal of a 32.5 per cent tax for working holiday visa holders; and
  • introducing a tax rate of 19 per cent from the first dollar earned up to $37,000, with ordinary marginal tax rates applying thereafter.

The proposed changes will require the enactment of laws and regulations. SAWIA will continue to monitor the implementation of the legislation. For more information contact SAWIA on telephone +61 8 8222 9277 or email.

Don’t get stung: Formalise your labour hire and contractor arrangements

Following media allegations earlier in the year of underpayment and mistreatment of labour hire staff in fresh food industries, Federal and State Agencies, including the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), Department of Immigration and Border Protection, ReturntoWorkSA and RevenueSA are taking a closer look at host businesses engaging labour hire firms.

Under workplace relations laws, a host business may held liable for underpayments of wages and other breaches by their labour hire firm. A host business also has responsibilities in relation to work health and safety, migration law and discrimination law. Breaches of workplace and employment laws by the labour hire/contractor not only expose a wine industry employer to potential penalties but could also cause long term reputational damage.

If you have not formalised your labour hire/contractor arrangements, now is the time!

SAWIA can assist wine industry employers with specific advice and assistance regarding labour hire and contracting arrangements to manage the risk.

To assess your current risk profile, print out and complete the attached checklist.

For more information and assistance contact the Business Services Team (Sarah, Egon and Henrik) via email or phone 08 8222 9277

Host Business Checklist December 2015

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