Proposed Changes In Legislation To Make It Harder For Family Sponsorships
If passed, the proposed changes to the Migration Act 1958 may make it harder for Australian citizens, Australian Permanent Residents and/or Eligible New Zealand Citizens to sponsor family members for migration purposes.
The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was read before the House of Representatives on the 1st of September 2016.
If this proposed legislation is to be passed, it could lead to some huge changes for people looking to sponsor their family members for migration to Australia.
What are the proposed changes?
Approval of Sponsorship Required Prior to Visa Applications
At this stage, its not clear how this legislation would be implemented, but it potentially could mean that the family sponsor will need to lodge their sponsorship application prior to the visa application being approved. This could have a large impact on people seeking to apply from within Australia if their visa expiry is near.
Character Requirements for Sponsors
At the moment, police clearances are only required for sponsors if there is a child under the age of 18 included in the application. The proposed changes will mean that sponsors will need to undertake thorough police and criminal background checks prior to being able to sponsor a family member.
Currently, family sponsors are required to undertake that they will provide accomodation if needed, notify the Department of Immigration if they withdraw their sponsorship or attend an interview with the Department of Immigration if required.
The changes if introduced will mean that strict sponsorship obligations will apply and if sponsors are found to be in breach of these obligations, it could result in cancellation of the sponsorship and further penalties.
Which visas will these new changes apply to?
According to the proposed legislation, the changes will initially apply only to the Partner Visa programme however will be rolled out to all family sponsored visas in the coming years.