Government Approves Amendment to Family Sponsorship Regulations

Earlier this week new legislation was passed by the Australian government instituting several changes to The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016.

The bill is now awaiting royal assent, and once it is officially passed into law it will introduce a raft of new spousal visa sponsorship regulations.

Most notably, Australian sponsors will now require prior approval from the Department of Immigration before a valid spousal or family visa application can be lodged.

According to the department, the purpose of the bill is to introduce a more robust sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program.

Once the proposed amendments are enacted into law, the following changes will occur:

  • A new requirement will be introduced necessitating the approval of an individual as a family visa sponsor before any visa applications can be made;
  • Sponsorship assessment will be officially separated from the visa application process;
  • Statutory obligations will be imposed on any individuals who are or were approved as family visa sponsors;
  • Enforceable sanctions will be applied if these obligations are not met.

The Minister of Immigration, David Coleman, will now also have the right to refuse sponsorship applications—or even ban family sponsors where appropriate—if misuse of the program or serious criminal offences are detected by the department.

As sponsorship approval is now required before a visa application can be made, applicants should be advised that this new regulation may lead to an increase in overall processing times.

The additional time delay may even make it difficult for some onshore applicants to successfully lodge their application before their current visa expires.

If you have any questions or would like us to assist with your global immigration queries, simply click this link to schedule a call with one of our Registered Migration Agents OR call 1300 ABSOLUTE (1300 227 658).