REMAINING RELATIVE VISA
(Reflects law as at 1 July 2011)
This is a visa for the last remaining relative of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. In order to apply you must be sponsored by an Australian relative or the spouse of an Australian relative.
You can apply either from within or outside Australia.
In order to eligible for the visa you must:
- be the sister, brother, half-brother, half-sister, step-brother, step-sister, child or step-child of an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, who is usually resident in Australia
- be a “remaining relative” of that Australian resident (see below)
- be sponsored by that Australian relative or the Australian relative’s spouse, and
- meet health, character, public interest and special return criteria.
To be a remaining relative the applicant must show that the applicant and their spouse have no ‘near relatives’ (see below) other than those who are ‘usually resident’ in Australia as Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens.
If the applicant is under 18 years of age and has been adopted by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen (ie an ‘adoptive parent’) while they were overseas, the adoptive parent must have, at the time of application, been residing overseas for at least 12 months. The terms “adoption”, “adopted” and “adoptive” are specifically defined under the regulations. It is important that you seek advice from a registered migration agent in relation to this.
A ‘near relative’ is defined as a:
- parent, brother, sister or step equivalent of the applicant or applicant’s spouse; or
- child (including step-child) of the applicant or the applicant’s spouse, being a child who has turned 18 and is not dependent on the applicant or the applicant’s spouse; or
- child (including step-child) of the applicant or the applicant’s spouse) who is under 18 and is not in the daily care and control of the applicant. (ie., if the applicant’s child is under 18 and is under the daily care and control of the applicant’s former partner, this child is a “near relative” of the applicant.)
In considering whether a relative is “usually resident” the Department of Immigration will look at where the person is physically present, the length of that residence, where they eat, sleep and have their settled home, whether the residence is lawful or unlawful and the person’s intention to make a particular country their usual home.
The sponsor must:
- be approved as a sponsor
- not be subject to a restriction on sponsoring (e.g., if the Australian relative has either been granted or previously successfully sponsored someone for a remaining relative visa, they will not be able to be a sponsor for a remaining relative visa)
- be 18 or more years of age
- be the Australian relative or eligible New Zealand citizen of the applicant or the spouse of the Australian relative
- be usually resident in Australia – generally if they are living outside Australia on a permanent or long-term basis then they will not be “usually resident” in Australia even if they are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. The Department of Immigration will consider all the sponsor’s circumstances including the amount of time spent in a particular country in the last 2 years, the nature and strength of their ties with that country, ownership of home or business, presence of family/friends etc.
- be settled in Australia – generally the sponsor will need to have been lawfully resident in Australia for a period of two years unless there are compelling and compassionate circumstances • arrange an assurance of support (see below), and • arrange payment of a refundable bond of $5,000 for the principal applicant plus $2,000 for any other person over 18.
It is possible to change the sponsor at any time prior to a decision being made on the application. However, the new sponsor must meet the above criteria.
Your sponsor must provide a written undertaking to provide support for you for the first two years from the grant of you visa, or from the time you arrive in Australia if you are applying outside Australia. This includes providing accommodation and financial assistance as required to meet you and your family’s reasonable living needs.
Assurance of support (“AOS”)
An AOS is a legal commitment by a person or entity (‘assurer’) to repay to the government the amount of any welfare payments made to the applicant within the first two years after the applicant enters Australia or is granted their visa (as applicable). The assurer does not have to be the sponsor.
An AOS does not need to be provided at the time of application. It should only be provided when requested later by the Minister. It will be requested by the Minister and cannot be waived. When requested by the Minister, the applicant will be directed to Centrelink to organise the AOS. Centrelink processes and administers all AOSs. For further details please refer to IARC’s Assurance of support information sheet.
An eligible assurer must:
- be an adult (i.e. over 18 years of age) or an organisation with prescribed ties to Australia (see IARC’s Assurance of support information sheet);
- be usually resident in Australia (prescribed rules apply to organisations);
- meet prescribed income requirements (see IARC’s Assurance of support information sheet); and
- be able to provide a notice of assessment issued by the Australian Taxation Commissioner for the most recent financial year.
Generally an AOS will not be accepted from an assurer if they have received social security benefits in the last 12 months or if their income is low enough to qualify for a Health Care Card.
The assurer must also lodge a security bond with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The amount of the bond varies depending whether a person or an organisation is providing the AOS. The bond payable by a person is $5000 for the primary applicant and $2000 for each secondary applicant. If an organisation is providing the AOS, the bond is $10,000. This bond is refundable after 2 years. If any social security is claimed during the two year period it may be deducted from the bond.
- You will need to pay the fee of: – $2,960 at the time of lodgment of your application if lodged in Australia or $1,995 if lodged outside Australia and – $1,735 when the visa is to be granted.
- You can download an other family migration booklet free of charge from the Department of Immigration’s website (www.immi.gov.au) or buy it from a Department of Immigration office for $20
This general information is not a substitute for legal advice.
Nothwithstanding the information stated in the above article, it is still important to consult a registered migration agent to obtain specific advice regarding the applicant’s particular circumstances.
Felix Carao, of ALLKILLS MIGRATION CONSULTANCY AUSTRALIA, is giving FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION and FREE study program counselling and course enrollment for prospective international students. Felix Carao is a Registered Migration Consultant (MARN 1069354), a Qualified Education Counsellor (QEAC G028), and an Accredited Recruitment Professional (MRCSA 51889). For enquiries, you may call 04 1232 1187 or email him at [email protected] or visit www.allskills.com.au