AMVL Migrations – Brisbane Migration Agency
One of the most significant changes in migration legislation in 2017 will most likely be the change to the concept of sponsorship for family visas. While it has been a requirement for there to be a sponsor when applying for a partner, parent, child or other family visa, the process has been part of the visa application. The sponsorship form is included with the visa application and it is assessed as part of the visa assessment. This will change soon with the first change occurring on 1 July 2017 with applications for partner visas.
From this date, sponsors of partner visas will be required to apply for and be approved as a sponsor before the visa application is lodged. If the sponsor is found to not be of good character for example (it is not clear what the character test will involve as yet), then the sponsorship will be refused and the visa application will not be able to be made.
There will also be obligations on the sponsor to notify of any changes in circumstances and failure to do this will most likely result in penalties.
Given that the new arrangement will mean a delay in applying for a partner visa, we suggest that if you are considering applying for a partner visa and you are eligible now, you might like to get the process going before 1 July 2017. Contact Kara Williams, our registered agent who specialises in partner visas, if you want to start the process firstname.lastname@example.org
On a more positive note, a new permanent visa for NZ citizens in Australia is also expected to be introduced on 1 July 2017. The details of the requirements are still not available but it has been announced that there is no age restriction. The NZ citizen must have been residing in Australia for at least 5 years and earning an income above the temporary resident threshold (currently $53900) for those 5 years.
Another positive change will be the introduction of a 5 year temporary stay visa for parents of Australian citizens and permanent residents. There will be no balance of family test which is great news for parents who have been unable to stay in Australia for extended periods if the majority of their children do not live here. The parents will be required to meet the health requirement and have private health insurance throughout their stay.
What is not known is what the requirements will be when it comes time to renew the 5 year visa and if health will still need to be met. It would be difficult for an elderly person who has lived in Australia for say 10 years to be told that they cannot get another visa due to a health condition and that they must return to their home country. It is also not known what will happen to the current options for parents to apply for a permanent visa. These may well be omitted from the legislation or perhaps made even more expensive. If you are thinking that you would like to have your parents come to Australia on a permanent basis, then maybe consider applying for the permanent visa soon.
Are you a working holiday maker in Australia? You should read this.
If you are in Australia on a subclass 417 or 462 visa, then new tax rates apply on the income that you earn from 1 January 2017. From this date you will be taxed at 15 cents for every dollar that you earn up to $37000 (after that foreign resident tax rates apply). Importantly though, your employer must register with the ATO as an employer of working holiday makers by 31 January 2017 so that they can withhold the correct amount.
Employers may face penalties and you may be taxed at the higher rate of 32.5 cents in the dollar, if your employer does not register so maybe check with your employer as soon as possible. More information is on the ATO website – https://www.ato.gov.au/newsroom/smallbusiness/employers/changes-to-the–backpacker-tax-/
Other changes in store for working holiday makers:
From 1 July 2017, departing working holiday makers who wish to access their superannuation, will have their superannuation payments taxed at 65 cents in the dollar (this applies to all superannuation, even payments made while holding another visa). Tax is currently 38 cents in the dollar. Note that you can only access these payments after you have left Australia and your visa is either cancelled or expired, but you can start the process before you depart. For more information, check the DIBP website – https://www.border.gov.au/Lega/Lega/Form/Immi-FAQs/how-can-i-get-my-superannuation-benefits
If you are interested in applying for another temporary or permanent visa while in Australia, please contact our office.