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NEW LEGISLATION DRAMATICALLY AFFECTS SPOUSAL & PARENT VISAS

4 Dec 2018

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016

On Wednesday, 28 November the Australian Senate passed a bill which has been sent to the Governor General for approval. Once this bill becomes law it will affect family sponsored visas in the following ways:

  • The visa application will be broken up into two distinct parts separating the sponsorship assessment from the visa application process. Expect further delays.
  • The initial sponsorship application needs to be approved before the visa application can be lodged. Failure of the sponsorship means a visa application cannot be lodged.
  • Approved sponsors will be subject to legally enforceable obligations. Previously not.
  • Approval of the sponsorship application is at the Minister’s discretion, and
  • Inappropriate use of the legislation can result in cancellation or barring of a family sponsor in the event of serious offences such as violence.

This could dramatically affect applications made onshore (in Australia) where the applicant has a limited time span to lodge the visa application i.e. a three-month tourist visa.

With Family visa applications will be broken up into two distinct parts separating the sponsorship assessment from the visa application process.  The sponsorship application needs to be approved before the visa application can be lodged. This includes character checks where sexual offences and violence amongst others could result in the sponsorship application being refused. Failure of the sponsorship means a visa application cannot be lodged. Fraudulent misuse of the legislation could result in the sponsor being barred from future sponsorship and could also result in visa cancellation.

We encourage clients who are able to lodge the visa application under the current regulations to do so as soon as possible to avoid the hassles and delays caused by this new legislation.

NEW TEMPORARY PARENT VISA ANNOUNCEMENT

This new bill also announces the temporary parent visa which was mooted approximately two years ago. As the details have not yet been announced we are unable to provide specific advice at this stage. However, the initial intentions were to provide two options: a three-year visa; and a five-year visa which would be renewable for a further five years. We understand that this visa will not require applicants to meet the balance of family test, will probably not have unrestricted work rights, and will probably need the applicant to hold health cover.

It is not clear whether this new legislation will have any effect of the existing parent visa subclasses. However, the current tendency is to make decisions of this nature without any prior notice as evidenced by the sudden cancellation of the Investor Retirement Visa recently. Please call or email us if you are contemplating a parent visa application or would like to discuss your options with a knowledgeable registered migration agent.