Immigration Update - November 2017


parent visa Immigration Update - November 2017

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 07 November 2017

Immigration has made some important changes in November. These include:

  • Postponing the introduction of the new sponsored parent visas;
  • Changes to the 4020 fraud public interest criterion
  • New requirements for health insurance and not having a health care debt
  • New conditions requiring temporary residents to use a single identity in dealing with Government departments and not to engage in criminal conduct in Australia

This article explains how these changes will affect visa applicants.

Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa Update

The Government previously announced the introduction of temporary sponsored parent visas in November 2017.

The relevant legislation - the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 - has not yet passed the Senate and has been referred to a Senate Committee for Consideration.

We will update readers when we have further information about this matter.

Changes to 4020 Fraud Public Interest Criteria

Significant changes have been introduced to the 4020 Public Interest Criteria.

4020 can result in refusal of a visa application if false or misleading information is provided. Previously, Immigration would look at information provided in either:

  1. the current application being processed; or
  2. a visa which has been held by the applicant within the last 12 months; or
  3. an application which has been refused in the last 3 years (or 5 years in some cases).
The changes will mean that an application can be refused if false or misleading information is provided for:
  • Visas held; or
  • Visas applied for

Within the last 10 years.

In other words, if false or misleading information is provided in a visa application, it could affect future applications for up to 10 years.

Previously, it was possible to withdraw a visa application if false or misleading information had been provided and this would not necessarily result in 4020 refusals for future applications. This will no longer work as 4020 will apply for any visa applications made within the last 10 years, whether the application is granted, refused or withdrawn.

One of the commonly encountered issues with 4020 is the failure to declare past criminal records when making a visa application. Generally, a declaration about previous offences is included in the visa application form. If this is not correctly completed, it can trigger 4020 issues. This would affect both the current application, and potentially any future applications for the next 10 years.

Public Health Care Debts

Australian Governments have expressed concern about health care costs which have been incurred by temporary visa holders in Australia but not repaid.

As a result, a new visa condition 8602 which requires applicants for temporary visas not to have an outstanding public health debt. This would apply to medical costs owing to either Australian state, territory or federal governments. If a temporary visa holder incurs a public health debt, this could result in cancellation of their current visa and also make it more difficult to obtain subsequent visas.

Health Insurance Requirements Clarified

Many temporary visas have a requirement that the applicant hold suitable health insurance for grant and that they continue to do so whilst in Australia on their visa.

A definition of "Adequate arrangements for health insurance" has been added to the Migration Regulations. This allow the Minister to specify what kind of health insurance will meet visa requirements.

Single Identity Condition 8304

A new visa condition 8304 has been created which requires temporary visa holders to:
  • Use a single identity when dealing with Australian State, Territory and Federal Governments; and
  • If the visa holder changes name, to notify the relevant Australian government agencies they deal with as soon as practicable and ensure that the change is given effect

The intention of this change is to reduce the risk of identity fraud, and the example is provided of the Martin Place Siege perpetrator (Man Haron Monis). He used multiple identities when dealing with Australian Government Agencies.

Criminal Conduct Condition 8564 and Violent/Disruptive Activities Condition 8303

Condition 8564 forbids the visa holder to engage in criminal activities in Australia. Previously it only applied to Bridging E visas. The condition will now apply to a wide range of temporary visas.

Condition 8303 has been broadened to prohibit activities which endanger or threaten individuals. Previously, it only applied to violent or disruptive activities affecting the Australian community more broadly.

As a result it will be easier for Immigration to cancel temporary visas of people engaging in criminal or other dangerous activities in Australia.

Conclusion

The changes to 4020 make it more important than ever to ensure that false or misleading information is not provided when making a visa application.

New health conditions apply to temporary visas - these could affect people needing medical treatment in Australia and so ensuring that you have suitable health insurance is very important.

If you would like assistance with a visa issue, please book a consultation with one of our advisors to get detailed advice.

References

Migration Legislation Amendment (2017 Measures No. 4) Regulations 2017

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