Including Family Members - Changes from 19 November 2016

webster By Mark Webster
Thursday, 17 November 2016

When applying for an Australian visa, it is generally possible to include members of your family unit. When your application is granted, all included family members would receive visas.

From 19 November, changes will be made to which relatives can be included in your visa application.

Spouse and Children Only

Currently, it is possible to include dependent relatives in visa applications, even if they are not spouses and children. For instance, it is common for 457 applicants to include a dependent parent in their applications.

From 19 November, this will no longer possible with only spouses (including defacto spouses) and children being considered members of the family unit.

Maximum Age for Children

Children under 18 are considered members of the family unit by default.

Children over 18 can currently be included in visa applications, providing they are financially dependent on their parent. Generally, it is sufficient to provide evidence that they are still studying and have not started working full time.

From 19 November, children can only be included if they are under 23 years old and this is likely to affect many potential applicants with adult children.

To include a child over 23, you would need to show that the child is incapacitated for work. This would generally result in issues in meeting the health criteria for the visa.

Including Adult Children in Subsequent Visa Applications

It is relatively common for people to apply for a temporary visa, then after a few years in Australia apply for further stay in Australia. One issue that can arise is showing that children and other family members are still dependent when applying for the subsequent visa.

From 19 November, family members will be taken to be members of the family unit when applying for subsequent visas, even if they are no longer dependent. This only applies in the following scenarios:

Conclusion

If you wish to include dependent family members, and in particular adult children 23 years or over, you may wish to apply prior to 19 November to avoid the changes.

The changes will be beneficial to certain temporary and provisional visa holders who wish to include family members in subsequent visa applications.

Please book a consultation with one of our advisors if you would like advice on including family members in your visa application.

References

Migration Legislation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 4) Regulation 2016

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