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Proposed Legislation to Tighten Family Sponsorship

Proposed Legislation to Tighten Family Sponsorship

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 if passed, may lead to some significant changes for people seeking to sponsor family members.

Overview

Approval of Sponsorship Required Prior to Visa Application

  • Lodgement of a visa application could be delayed until a family sponsorship is approved. Currently, the sponsorship documentation is provided at the same time or after lodgement of the visa application.
  • The proposed legislation would also allow for refusal of sponsorship status where there has been a history of family violence of abuse of the family sponsorship program.

Character Requirements for Sponsors

  • The proposed changes mean that sponsors will need to undertake full character checking and any criminal record could be shared with the visa applicant.
  • Currently, police clearances are required for sponsors only where a child under 18 years is included in the sponsorship.

Sponsorship Obligations

  • The proposed changes mean that formal sponsorship obligations will apply. If breached, this could result in cancellation of the sponsorship and possible penalties for the sponsor.

MIGRATION AMENDMENT (FAMILY VIOLENCE AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2016

To address the integrity issues currently experienced in the sponsored family visa program (the program), the Bill will extend relevant aspects of this sponsorship framework to apply to family sponsored visas with a view to:

  •  separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process for family sponsored visas;
  •  require the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made;
  •  impose statutory obligations on persons who are or were approved as family sponsors;
  •  provide for sanctions if such obligations are not satisfied;
  •  facilitate the sharing of personal information between a range of parties associatedwith the program; and
  •  improve the management of family violence in the delivery of the program byallowing the refusal of a sponsorship application; and cancellation and / or barring of a family sponsor where inappropriate use of the program or serious offences are detected – especially those involving family violence.
  • Links to legislation:
    • http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/Bills_Search_Results/Result?bId=r5688
    • http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/ems/r5688_ems_5d16012a-632e-4774-bf7e-c97b4e6032d9/upload_pdf/489817.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf