Updates

Encouraging Self-Sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants - Extension (2018-19 Budget)

This measure was announced to commence from 1 July 2018. However, it did not commence on this date as the legislation has not yet passed the Parliament. This measure remains current Government policy. Updates will be provided as and when a revised commencement date is confirmed.

In the 2018-19 Budget, the Government announced that the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP) will be further extended. Pending the passage of legislation, the NARWP will be extended to four years for a number of welfare payments, including Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Family Tax Benefit and the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

The current Assurance of Support period that applies to some family visas will also increase to four years, in line with the NARWP for welfare payments.

This measure builds on the changes announced in the 2017-18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) to extend the existing NARWP from two years to three years and apply it consistently across income support and family payments.

This measure will only apply to people granted permanent residency, and some temporary visas, on or after the date of commencement.

Migrants already granted permanent residency before commencement will not be affected by this measure. That is, they will be subject to the current rules of a two year NARWP for certain payments.

A range of existing exemptions will be maintained to ensure appropriate protections for potentially vulnerable migrants.

More information on these changes is provided in the Encouraging Self Sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants Fact Sheet.

For further information on the 2018-19 Budget, visit the Department of Social Services 2018‑19 Budget page.

Changes to Assurance of Support (AoS) from 1 April 2018

An amended Determination was registered on the Federal Register of Legislation on 23 May 2018 that returns the Assurance of Support requirements, including the income threshold for assurers, to the settings that were in place prior to 1 April 2018. The changes will apply from 1 April 2018, so as not to disadvantage a person or body who has given an Assurance of Support since this date.

To be eligible to be an AoS assurer, an individual must be an Australian resident, aged over 18, and meet the following income requirements:

  • The income threshold for the assurer is based on the maximum
    basic rate of Newstart Allowance (NSA, single with dependent children rate) as at 1 July in each financial year ($15,061.80 per annum as at
    1 July 2017) for each adult involved in the AoS, and the base rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A and FTB Part A supplement ($2,266.65 per annum as at 1 July 2017) for each dependent child of the assurer.
  • The income requirement for the assurer depends on the number of assurers, assurees and assurer’s dependent children involved in an AoS arrangement.
  • The income requirement applies to the current and previous financial year, or if not available the current year and financial year before the last.

In some cases, an Assurance of Support will include a requirement to provide a financial security via a bond. For example, visas under the parent migration program.
For an individual assurer, the bond amounts are:

  • for contributory parent visas (10-year AoS): $10,000 for the primary visa applicant and $4,000 for any adult secondary visa applicant
  • for other visas such as non-contributory parent visas (2-year AoS): $5,000 for the primary visa applicant and $2,000 for any adult secondary visa applicant.

For corporations and unincorporated bodies providing an AoS, the bond amounts are:

  • for contributory parent visas (10-year AoS): $20,000 (to cover a maximum of 2 adult assurees)
  • for other visas such as non-contributory parent visas (2-year AoS): $10,000 (to cover a maximum of 2 adult assurees).

A discretionary Assurance of Support does not require a bond.

Depending on the visa type granted, a migrant may require an AoS of either one year, two years or 10 years:

  • A one-year discretionary AoS applies to humanitarian entrants under the Community Support Program.
  • A two-year mandatory AoS applies to Non-Contributory Parent Visa holders.
  • A 10-year mandatory AoS applies to Contributory Parent Visa holders.

Note: the current two year AoS period may be increased to four years, pending the passage of NARWP legislation. Encouraging Self Sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants Fact Sheet.

Community Support Program

The Community Support Program (CSP) was announced as part of the 2017-18 Budget and commenced on 1 July 2017. The CSP allows humanitarian entrants (i.e. applicants for a subclass 202 Global Special Humanitarian visa) to be sponsored by individuals, community organisations and business groups through Approved Proposing Organisations. Sponsors are responsible for providing adequate support to CSP entrants for the first 12 months in Australia.

CSP entrants are subject to a discretionary AoS with an assurance period of 12 months. The AoS does not prevent a CSP entrant from accessing income support payments and family assistance payments on arrival as humanitarian entrants are exempt from all waiting periods for social security payments. The AoS provides the mechanism to require the assurer to repay any recoverable social security payments made to the CSP entrant during the assurance period.

More information about the AoS scheme is available on the DHS website.

Encouraging Self Sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants (2017-18 MYEFO)

In the 2017-18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) the Government announced that the existing NARWP would be increased from two years to three years for working age payments, such as Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance and would be applied to new payments including Carer Allowance, Family Tax Benefit and payments under the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.

The Government subsequently announced changes to further extend the NARWP to four years in the 2018‑19 Budget. For further information on the 2018-19 Budget, visit the Department of Social Services 2018‑19 Budget page.

Enhanced Residency Requirements for Pensioners (2017-18 Budget)

From 1 July 2018, pending the passage of legislation, to qualify for Age Pension or Disability Support Pension a person will be required to have 10 years continuous Australian residence, with either:

  • five years of this residence being during their working life (16 years of age to Age Pension age); or
  • not have been in receipt of an activity tested income support payment for a cumulative period of greater than five years.

In circumstances where the person does not meet the requirements set out above, they will be required to have 15 years continuous Australian residence before being eligible to receive the Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.

Stopping the Pension Supplement (2016-17 Budget)

Subject to the passage of legislation, the Pension Supplement Basic Amount will stop after six weeks overseas, or immediately if the recipient has permanently departed Australia from the next possible start date after royal ascent.

Currently, the Pension Supplement is reduced to the Basic Amount after six weeks temporary absence from Australia, or immediately for permanent departures.

This measure will affect income support recipients who travel outside Australia temporarily for more than six weeks or immediately if the recipient has permanently departed Australia.

This measure will reinforce and strengthen the residence based nature of Australia’s social security system.

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