Minister Dutton announces changes to sponsorship for Family Visas
The Immigration Minister has recently announced potential changes to partner visas which could include far greater scrutiny of the Australian citizen or permanent resident sponsors as follows:
Minister Dutton has outlined changes to sponsorship for Family Visas in his Second Reading Speech for the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, in Federal Parliament this week.
The Government 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.
The Government’s concerns are that:
Some sponsors are vulnerable to being targeted by visa applicants who are motivated solely on a permanent visa outcome;
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 meant 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.
The changes have not been made as yet but watch this space.