Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016

Friday 1 April 2016 @ 10.00 a.m. | Immigration

The Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was introduced into Parliament by the Honourable Peter Dutton on the 16 March 2016. The bill will amend the Migration Act 1958 to introduce a sponsorship framework for the sponsored family visa program.


The current family sponsorship visa system has little focus on the character of the sponsor or the responsibility that attaches to their sponsorship. In all instances under the existing arrangements, sponsors are required to give undertakings. However, these are considered to be 'unenforceable', because there is no consequence for noncompliance with these undertakings. Furthermore, an applicant is required to undergo a full character check whereas a sponsor will only be required to submit to a police check where a minor child is included in the application. This raises significant concerns where an Australian with a history of violence is able to sponsor a noncitizen without having to disclose details of their past.

As Peter Dutton said in his second reading speech to the bill:

“Currently, all visas in the family stream have a sponsorship requirement as part of the criteria for grant of the visa. However, claims of family violence in the program and the lack of sponsorship enforcement mechanisms mean that government is moving to improve program integrity and to provide more suitable visa options for victims of family violence.”

The Bill

The current Bill will address these shortcomings in the current system. The Bill will address issues of integrity currently experienced in the sponsored family visa program by implementing procedures to:

  • Separate sponsorship assessment from the visa application process for family sponsors;
  • Require that a person be approved as a family sponsor before any relevant visa applications are made;
  • Impose statutory obligations with real consequences on approved sponsors; and
  • Improve the management of family violence in the delivery of the program by allowing the refusal, cancellation, or barring of a sponsorship application where inappropriate use of the program is detected. 

The Bill is currently awaiting Second Reading Debate in the House of Representatives.

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 Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016, Bill, Second reading speech and Explanatory Memorandum as published on LawOne

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