30 June 2009
DIAC makes amendments to immigration legislation
The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship has made a number of changes to immigration rules, which will come into effect tomorrow.
The changes include:
- Closing a loophole that allows one parent to apply for a Contributory Parent visa then sponsor the other parent for a spouse visa
- Making the balance of family test of time application requirement for all parent visas
- Allowing changes in sponsors for parent visas and remaining relative visas
DIAC released in a statement that there have been a number of instances in which couples seeking to migrate under the Contributory Parent visa provisions have resorted to the split application strategy by only one member of a parent couple applies for and is granted a permanent Contributory Parent visa and once eligible (usually after two years of being lawfully resident in Australia), this parent subsequently sponsors their spouse (the other parent) under the partner visa category which has a much smaller Visa Application Charge (VAC).
This strategy has been used to reduce the costs by applicants associated with migration under Contributory Parent visa, however the government believes this is undermines the Government poly intent to reduce the cost of migration to the broader community.
The new amendment will prevent persons who are granted a permanent Contributory Parent visa (subclasses 143 and 864) from sponsoring their partner or fiancé for a Partner or Prospective Marriage visa for five years from the day of their visa grant from July 1 although this limitation may not apply in compelling circumstances which are not financially related.
Other legislative changes include the allowance of Parent and Remaining Relative visa applicants to change sponsors at any time prior to visa decision, as long as the new sponsor meets the sponsorship requirements. This will ensure that in cases where a change of sponsor is desired or essential, the visa applicant will no longer be disadvantaged.
The balance of family test has also been changed so that all six parent visa subclasses are consistent in relation to the balance of family test requirement.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship has made transitional arrangement provisions to ensure that applicants who have applications that are not finally determined will also benefit from this change.
The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrating to Australia.