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Free Cash for tempoary visa holders


Guest Lisajonesey

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Guest Lisajonesey

Hello everyone!

 

There's something I've only just found out about, that will REALLY benefit any of you on TEMPORARY visa's, such as the 475.

 

There's a benefit called Living and Working away from home allowance. Anyone who is in work, and on a temporary visa is eligable - and it's quite substantial.

 

Here's a link - check it out:

http://www.lafha.com.au/Home.aspx

 

All you have to do, is complete a quick form to check your eligability.

 

It can make quite a difference, so please, if you're on a temporary visa, just give them a call. I'm really frustrated that I hadn't seen this years ago.

 

Hope this helps some of you!

lisa :cute:

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Guest Mitchell

Just a note on this. I asked hr today and they said that although I'm on a 457 my intent is to become perm as I have a perm job. I therefore don't qualify for the benefit. They deal with this all the time as they get secondees as well as migrants. They suggested I ring the help line if I want to check before I fill in the form for nothing.

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Be careful. I've just looked at this and completed the quick assessment and apparently will qualify for the payments. Further research online warns that many people are told by 'commercial' agencies to apply for the payment (for which the agency gets a cut / commission) and indeed get it but then are told a month or year later by the ATO that the never really ought to have got it and that they have 14 days to repay the total or get stung with very high interest on the outstanding amount.

If you do qualify, take a good close look at whether you REALLY qualify.

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Just a note on this. I asked hr today and they said that although I'm on a 457 my intent is to become perm as I have a perm job. I therefore don't qualify for the benefit. They deal with this all the time as they get secondees as well as migrants. They suggested I ring the help line if I want to check before I fill in the form for nothing.

 

 

Yes, you must have an intention to return to your "usual place of residence" - otherwise you can't be considered to be living away from home.

 

The fact that you have a permanent job doesn't in itself preclude you from being entitled to the LAFHA though.

 

Best regards.

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Guest guest3462
I think you'll find 457 visa DO qualify!

Have a good read through this http://www.gomatilda.com/news/documents/The_Living_Away_From_Home_Allowance.pdf

 

They only qualify if you intend to return to your original point of residence at the end of your visa. We had already started proceedings for skills assessment and therefore were not eligible on the 457. It is not made clear and people who do slip through the net often get stung later on when they get found out and are made to pay it back!

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Guest Lisajonesey

it seems this is a bit of a contraversial one.. I've wondered about it too.. but according to my research, just being on a temporary visa is "intention" enough - as you intend not to stay, until you qualify for your permenant residency.

 

I just hope that this could help some of you, as its a lot of money, and I know we could all do with a bit extra in our pay packet. :cute:

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Guest benandkelly

"Just to confirm that while you are on a 457 visa and your current intent is to return back to your normal place of residence then you are eligible for LAFHA, should you apply for Permanent residence then you would no longer be eligible for LAFHA"

 

Above was quoted from an email I received from the company the OP linked to :)

 

Hope this clears things up.

Basically if you have a job offer on a 457 have a chat to your sponsor and ask them to make the job offer for 2 - 3 years.

Then after that period apply for PR but beware you will lose the LAFHA as soon as you apply for PR.

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<snip>

 

Then after that period apply for PR but beware you will lose the LAFHA as soon as you apply for PR.

 

Not necessarily, but the bar is certainly raised in evidencing the fact that you are intending to return to a usual place of abode.

 

Most prudent employers would though be well advised to remove the LAFHA entitlement should the 457 visaholding employee apply for permanent residency - and would have a condition in the employment contract to ensure the employee is under an obligation to notify the employer if a permanent visa application is lodged without the employer's involvement.

 

Best regards.

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Guest benandkelly

Thanks Alan.

Could you give us any hard advice on how to avoid being made to pay it back then?

From my own research I've stumbled across many who have fallen victim to these 'agencies' telling them they are entitled purely because they are on 457 These people have then been made to pay it back as they have either applied for PR and not stopped claiming OR they have had a permanent contract of employment which would prove intent to stay rather than go home.

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* I would have thought that you can only be "made" to repay a sum of money if there is a contractual obligation to do so in the event of a stated occurrence (eg applying for permanent residency).

 

* Remember that the tax liability in the event that the ATO considers the LAFHA is not properly due falls on the employer, as the LAFHA is administered under the Fringe Benefits Tax regime.

 

Beyond that I can't really comment, as I am not privy to the financial incentives or contractual arrangements you have described.

 

Best regards.

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Guest benandkelly

Thanks Alan,

You have been most helpful.

 

The info I have gained is from reading a lot of forums.

So the people who say they have been forced to pay it all back to the ATO are lying???

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Guest mez10

I'm on a 457 visa and I get LAHA, I've filled the LAHA form in again (every year prior new tax year) stating that I intend to return to the UK after the 4years. They have told me I must inform them if apply for PR (after 2years) or buy an house, in which case the LAHA will stop. The LAHA I get is in tax free relief off my salary, if it stops then the money goes back into the normal tax bracket. If you don't inform them on any changes then you have to pay it back.

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Guest benandkelly
I'm on a 457 visa and I get LAHA, I've filled the LAHA form in again (every year prior new tax year) stating that I intend to return to the UK after the 4years. They have told me I must inform them if apply for PR (after 2years) or buy an house, in which case the LAHA will stop. The LAHA I get is in tax free relief off my salary, if it stops then the money goes back into the normal tax bracket. If you don't inform them on any changes then you have to pay it back.

 

Thanks Mez. Are you planning on applying for PR? Do you have a permanent contract?

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Guest mez10

Don't tell anyone, but yes I will be applying for PR next April.

All the other POMs who work for our company have started on a 457 then after 2years applied for PR.

Contract: I suppose I'm on a 4year permanent contract (457 visa is for 4years) but the others have just carried on working once they get the PR.

If they don't want to keep you then they could cancel after the 4years. There is so much work out there not sure if I'd stay with the same company anyway (who knows)

Good luck

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Guest Ryan T. Lion

Hi all

 

I'm sorry, but "free cash for 457 holders" is a little optimistic!

 

I'm about to come out on a 4 year 457 visa (transport engineer) and I have been offered LAFHA and have looked into it extensively. Friends of mine all over Oz already get it.

 

As far as I am aware, you cannot "demand it" just because you are on a temp visa. The employer has to offer it as a fringe benefit / salary sacrifice type arrangement.

 

It comes in 2 elements, Food and Accommodation. Size of the allowance depends on where you are living and how many dependents you have.

 

You sign a declaration stating that Adelaide/Oz is not your usual place of residence, but you need to be there for work. Your taxable salary is reduced by the LAFHA amount, which is then made up by a tax free allowance.

 

Like I said - I am almost 99% sure that it is a benefit (like the old profit related pay etc) that your employer must offer you. So if you haven't heard of it, your employer "probably doesn't do it".

 

I'm not sure where an agency would come in?

 

Yes I have also heard of people having to pay it back..... However, as your employer offers it and has the payroll and systems all set up - I believe it is up to the employer to pay it back, but they will write a clause into your contract (as they did with mine) that states unless I keep them 100% up to date with my circumstances, they will pursue me for any back charges etc... But as long as you're honest and accurate - and your employer offers it - you're laughing.

 

Examples of any changes to your circumstances could be such things as selling your UK home, or applying for PR - both of which (but neither in isolation) could affect your eligibility.

 

There's every chance I'm wrong... Perhaps there are agencies doing LAFHA all over the place and everyone's happy - who knows - but it would be the first I've heard of it.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Ryski

 

ps Again, this is just what I think that I have learned - nothing more!

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