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AUSTRALIA – Changes to the Definition of Dependent Family Member and to Accredited Sponsor Eligibility

Effective 19 November 2016, the Migration Regulations have been amended to redefine who can be included in a visa application as a dependent family member, reducing the upper age limit from 25 to 23 years for dependent children or step-children.

The Department of Immigration has also announced changes to the eligibility criteria for Accredited Sponsor status.

Changes to Dependents

At the moment family members over the age of 23 can be included in visa applications as long as they can show they are financially dependent on the main visa applicant.

As of 19 November 2016, the dependents who can be included on 457 or permanent residence visa applications will change.

For a 457 visa, the age of dependent children (including step children) will be reduced from 25 to 23 years, unless the child is incapacitated and cannot work.  Further, no other family relatives (including parents) will be eligible to be included in the visa application.

For a permanent residence visa application (subclass 186 - the Employer Nomination Scheme), as long as the child holds a 457 visa, they can be included on the application. Again, no other family members (including parents) will be eligible to be included in the visa application.

Changes to Accredited Sponsorship.

The Department of Immigration has announced that it will be taking a more flexible approach to assessing the eligibility of accredited sponsors.

One of the requirements that accredited sponsors must meet is to ‘have sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to the application for accreditation’. This was originally interpreted as requiring sponsors to have had at least ten primary visas granted with nomination transfers not counted.

The current visa grant threshold will be replaced by a ‘Sponsorship Volume Threshold’ and the sponsor will be required to have had nominations for at least ten primary 457 visa holders approved in the 24 months prior to their sponsorship application being made.

This change in interpretation will allow more companies to qualify as accredited sponsors under the program and benefit from priority streamlined processing for their foreign employees’ visa applications.

Action Items

  • Employers in Australia sponsoring foreign nationals for temporary work and permanent residence visas should take these changes into account, and consult an Australian immigration agent for further details.

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Visa Executive and Newland Chase.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.