Amendments to the commencement day and family sponsors’ obligations
On 14 September 2018, we published an article on the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill. The Bill is about family and work sponsorship and its explanatory memorandum includes the following passage:
12. [Item 10 of the Bill] inserts new subsections (2) and (3) into section 140AA [of the Migration Act] to set out the purposes of Division 3A, to the extent it applies in relation to the sponsored family visa program and to identify how these purposes are to be achieved.
13. New subsection (2) provides that the purposes are:
(a) to strengthen the integrity of the program; and
(b) to place greater emphasis on the assessment of persons as family sponsors; and
(c) to improve the management of family violence in the delivery of the program.
14. New subsection (3) provides that the purposes referred to in subsection (2) are to be achieved by establishing a framework that:
(a) requires the approval of persons as family sponsors before any relevant visa applications are made; and
(b) imposes obligations on persons who are or were approved family sponsors; and
(c) provides for sanctions if such obligations are not satisfied; and
(d) facilitates the sharing of personal information in accordance with this Division.
On 27 November 2018, the Bill passed the Senate with the following amendments:
- A further obligation on family sponsors has been added, namely ‘paying prescribed medical, hospital, aged care or other health-related expenses incurred by a visa holder or a former visa holder’;
- Commencement day changed from ‘1 July 2017’ to ‘A single day to be fixed by Proclamation. However, if the provisions do not commence within the period of 6 months beginning on the day this Act receives the Royal Assent, they commence on the day after the end of that period’.
The Bill will return to the House of Representatives for a vote. If the Bill passes the House without any amendments, it should receive the Royal Assent and become law, after which the drafting of prescribed regulations will be necessary to give it practical effect. For instance, it is expected that regulations will specify what visa classes will be subject to family sponsorship.
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