Some applicants for Australian visas must provide the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) with an Assurance of Support for their visa to be granted. An Assurance of Support is an agreement by someone (who will often be the visa applicant’s sponsor, but can also be another individual, up to 3 people acting together, or even a company) to provide financial support for the visa applicant and/or pay for any welfare payment costs the visa applicant might accrue in Australia within a certain time period.
This means that if the applicant obtains a visa, comes to Australia and ends up needing to access welfare payments within the agreed period, then the person who gave the assurance of support will need to repay whatever the payment amounts were.
Giving an Assurance of Support is somewhat similar to becoming guarantor when a relative takes out a loan or contracts to pay rent or some similar obligation. The person giving the Assurance of Support (the Assurer) will need to cover costs if the visa applicant does access welfare payments. The payments become the debt of the Assurer. The debt is owed to the Commonwealth Government of Australia (also known as Australia’s Federal Government).
Assurances of Support are in effect for:
•10 years for Contributory Parent visas
•2 years for all other visas where an Assurance of Support is requested
This time period begins from:
•the date the visa is granted, where applicants are already in Australia
•the date the visa applicant arrives in Australia on the visa that the Assurance of Support was requested for, where applicants are outside Australia
Bonds for Parent Visas:
For permanent Contributory Parent visa applicants, a bond of $10,000 to cover the Assurance of Support, applies for the main applicant and of $4000 for any secondary applicant over 18 years. The bond is held by the government for the 10 years that the Assurance of Support applies.
For other Parent visa applicants, a bond of $5,000 applies for the main applicant and $2000 for any secondary applicant over 18 years. The bond is held by the government for the 2 years that the Assurance of Support.
Required Assurance of Support:
An Assurance of Support is compulsory for the following family stream visa categories, in all cases where the visa applicant is 18 yeas or older:
•Contributory Aged Parent
•Aged Dependent Relative
DIBP must request the Assurance of Support in relation to these visa applications. It does not matter how clear it is that the visa applicant will be able to support themselves; the law requires that the Assurance of Support be obtained. The Assurance of Support in these categories where DIBP has no discretion about whether to request it, is known as a “Required” Assurance of Support.
Discretionary Assurance of Support:
An Assurance of Support may also sometimes be requested in other visa categories. This is known as a Discretionary Assurance of Support, because whether or not it is requested is at DIBP’s discretion. Whether or not DIBP do request it in a particular case will depend on whether the visa applicant is assessed as being likely to fall onto welfare benefits when they come to Australia. Various characteristics of both the visa applicant and their sponsor, that affect the applicant’s likely capacity to support themselves or be supported, will be considered by DIBP in reaching a decision.
If you wish to avoid having a discretionary Assurance of Support required by DIBP, you should ensure that you, or your Migration Agent, provide adequate evidence of the applicant and/or sponsor’s capacity to provide support, when making the visa application.
The Assurance of Support scheme is operated by Centrelink, Australia’s welfare agency. After you have applied for your visa, DIBP will send you a letter to tell you, if you need to obtain an Assurance of Support. You must give this letter to the person who will be your Assurer.
Your Assurer must then give this letter to Centrelink to initiate the Assurance of Support assessment. Centrelink will talk to your Assurer about how to make an Assurance of Support application and tell them what their responsibilities will be. Centrelink will tell DIBP and your Assurer, when the Assurance of Support has been approved.
Michele Clayton Migration Agents Registration Number 0957773
Legal Practitioner NSW 55486