G. Reform of International Arrangements




G1. Assurance of Support Scheme - Improved Operation


Implementation


1 July 2004 and ongoing.
 

What's New


The Government will streamline, simplify and strengthen the Assurance of Support scheme. Both 'assurers' and new migrants will benefit from a simplified process with easy access to clear information about their obligations under the scheme.

Assurers will receive comprehensive advice in their preferred language about their commitment to provide financial support to the new migrant and the implications of this commitment.
Improved administration of the scheme will result in fewer migrants claiming income support during their Assurance of Support period and improved recovery of any income support debts from the assurers.
 

Background


An Assurance of Support is a form of legal guarantee given by the 'assurer', who is an Australian resident, that they will repay to the Commonwealth for any Australian income support payment made to the migrant during the specified period of that assurance. The scheme allows migrants who are at higher risk of needing to claim social security to come to Australia, while protecting the Commonwealth from financial risk.

Parts of the scheme were previously administered by the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) and the former Department of Family and Community Services (the former FaCS). The fragmentation of responsibilities resulted in more complex administration and the opportunity for assurers to claim that their responsibilities were not understood.

From 1 July 2004 on, DIMIA will continue to determine whether a prospective migrant should be subject to an Assurance of Support. Centrelink will administer the assurance proposal under social security law and will administer the scheme, on behalf of FaCS.

Total Government Funding: Net save of $11.5 million over four years

[ top ]
 




G2. Temporary Overseas Absence Provisions - Reduction to 13 Weeks


Implementation


1 July 2004 and ongoing.
 

What's New


The Government will reduce the allowable period of temporary overseas absence for most pensions and allowances to 13 weeks.

The measure will not affect the following groups:

  • People who are overseas at the time of implementation;
  • Age pensioners;
  • People receiving pensions that are granted under an international social security agreement with another country - they will continue to be paid under the conditions of that agreement;
  • Austudy Payment and Youth Allowance recipients undertaking approved overseas study.

In limited circumstances, recipients of Disability Support Pension may be granted a longer period of payment overseas, for example if suffering from a terminal illness and returning to their family for care and support.
 

Background


The measure is in line with the Government's overall welfare reform strategy and the targeting of assistance to people of workforce age in Australia.

Total Government Funding: Net save of $4.0 million over 4 years
 




G3. Social Security Agreement with Malta - Revised Agreement


Implementation


1 July 2004 and ongoing.
 

What's New


The revised social security agreement with Malta will limit the grant of Disability Support Pension (DSP) to only those persons who are severely disabled.
 

Background


The current social security agreement with Malta allows disability support pension to be paid to a person who is not severely disabled.

The Government's policy restricts overseas payment of DSP for non-severely disabled persons to periods of temporary absence only. The measure would bring the agreement with Malta into line with current domestic policy and the majority of Australia's other social security agreements, by limiting the grant of DSP only to claimants who are classified as severely disabled. The measure would not impact on existing recipients' entitlements.

Total Government Funding: Net save of $ 0.2 m over four years

Last updated: