November 2nd, 2016

Change to which family can be included in your visa application

Definition of Family Unit will become harder from now on for permanent and certain temporary visa applications :

In short :

– Children can no longer be included in YOUR visa application if they are over 23 (unless incapacitated)
– Other relatives such as siblings or single parents will no longer be able to be added to YOUR visa application

The full explanatory amendment is below :

Schedule 4 – Member of the family unit – direct family
The measures in Schedule 4 will amend the definition of member of the family unit in regulation 1.12 of the Migration Regulations. The definition sets out which family members a primary visa applicant is eligible to include in an application for a permanent or certain temporary visa applications.

The amendments made by this Schedule simplify and limit the definition of member of the family unit. The members of the family unit definition is limited to the spouse or de facto partner of a primary applicant, and children of the primary applicant or their partner, who are dependent. It will provide an age limit for eligible children of 23 years, or of any age if that child is incapacitated to work.

Prior to these amendments, the definition operated to provide a more generous migration pathway for family members of new entrants to Australia than is available to family members of Australian citizens and existing permanent residents. This resulted from the definition permitting extended family members to be included on a visa application. These family members also often benefitted from differential visa pricing and processing timeframes attributable to the primary applicant’s claims for migration.

The amendments will not be applied to refugee, humanitarian and protection visas. The previous definition of member of the same family unit will continue to apply to these visas.

The amendments also simplify and clarify existing provisions in the definition. These allow a visa applicant’s previous status as a member of the family unit to apply in a specific way for specified visa subclasses. This will continue to ensure family members are not disadvantaged, due to the passage of time. For example, this will allow a child to remain onshore with their parents in certain circumstances where they would otherwise no longer be eligible to be included in their parent’s subsequent related visa application, having attained an age over 23 years