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The Migration Regulations have been amended to redefine who can be included in a visa application as a dependent family member, reducing the upper age limit from 25 to 23 years for dependent children or step-children.

The Department of Immigration has also announced changes to the eligibility criteria for Accredited Sponsor status.

Changes to dependents

Previously, family members over the age of 23 were included in visa applications as long as they could show they are financially dependent on the main visa applicant.

On November 19, 2016, dependents who could be included on 457 or permanent residence visa applications changed.

For a 457 visa, the age of dependent children (including step-children) reduced from 25 to 23 years, unless the child is incapacitated and cannot work. Further, no other family relatives (including parents) can be included in the visa application.

For a permanent residence visa application (subclass 186 – the Employer Nomination Scheme), the child can be included on the application as long as they hold a 457 visa. Again, no other family members (including parents) can be included in the visa application.

Changes to accredited sponsorship

The Department of Immigration has announced that it will be taking a more flexible approach to assessing the eligibility of accredited sponsors.

One of the requirements that accredited sponsors must meet is to “have sponsored at least ten primary 457 visa holders in the 24 months prior to the application for accreditation.” This was originally interpreted as requiring sponsors to have had at least ten primary visas granted, not including nomination transfers.

The current visa grant threshold will be replaced by a “Sponsorship Volume Threshold” and the sponsor will be required to have had nominations for at least ten primary 457 visa holders approved in the 24 months prior to their sponsorship application being made.

This change in interpretation will allow more companies to qualify as accredited sponsors under the program and benefit from priority streamlined processing for their foreign employees’ visa applications.

This summary was prepared using information obtained from Peregrine Immigration Management.

Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC: dbeynon@crownww.com.

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