21 March-2016

Sponsors For Family Visas To Be Scrutinised More Closely

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Honourable Mr. Peter Dutton MP, recently announced in Federal Parliament that his Department proposes to enhance and tighten sponsorship undertakings before a sponsor is allowed to sponsor a foreign visa applicant for residence in Australia. He believes that under current settings there is little focus on the character of the sponsor or the responsibility that attaches to the sponsorship. Family sponsorship undertakings are “unenforceable” because there are no consequences for non-compliance unlike those of employer sponsored applications.

His main concerns are that:

  • Some sponsors are vulnerable to being targeted by visa applicants who are motivated solely on a permanent visa outcome; and
  • Australians with a violent history are able to sponsor without disclosing details of their past.

The proposed amendments would address these issues by extending the sponsorship framework that currently applies to the temporary work sponsored visa program to the family sponsored visa program as well. This would mean that there would be:

  • A sponsorship assessment separate from the visa application;
  • Statutory obligations on sponsors;
  • Civil penalties and administrative sanctions for breaches of sponsorship;
  • Information sharing between parties identified in the sponsorship application;
  • An improvement in the management of family violence where it occurs in the family visa program.

To read the Minister’s full text of his speech click

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