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Changes affecting 457 visa holders with adult children

Written By Shannon Dutt
Tue, Dec 20, 2016
Shannon Dutt

If you have HR responsibilities for 457 visa holders, you may have caught up with our article on recent changes to the immigration regulations - Migration amendments 19 November. This included mention of the immigration rules affecting family members of visa applicants.  Given the implications of this change, it bears looking into in more depth.

Changes to the definition of Member of the Family Unit

Let’s take a case of sponsoring a 457 visa for a skilled worker who wants to include their family members in their application.  Let’s say the person has a 19 year old son and a 23 year old daughter, both of whom are studying at university. 

In the past, adult children under 25 years old could be considered a ‘member of the family unit’ as long as financial dependency on the head of the family unit could be shown.  In our example, both of the children could have be included in the family’s 457 visa application given their enrolment in university studies and assuming neither was earning outside income apart from some fairly small amount through a part-time job.

On 19 November 2016, however, new rules introduced an upper age limit of 22 years old.  In our example, the 19 year old son could be included in the family’s 457 visa application, but not the 23 year old daughter.  Under the new rules, the only situation in which children 23 years or older who can be included are where the child is incapacitated to work.

This change may affect your ability as an employer to attract overseas workers where adult children are involved.  It makes sense to confirm family composition at an early stage in the recruitment process.

How to advise your current 457 visa holders?

As news of this change gains wider circulation, it may cause some concern to existing 457 visa holders that you sponsor.  However, certain provisions were included in the regulations to benefit current 457 visa holders. 

Returning to our example, say you had sponsored the employee and his family in April 2013, and they had been granted 4 year visas (i.e. due to expire in April 2017).  Their daughter is now 27 years old and is now married.  Their son is 23, and is still studying at university.  The family will need new visas shortly.  They approach you concerned that their son will be excluded.

The amended regulations provide that a visa application made for a fresh 457 visa in these circumstances cannot include the now 23 year old son. However, on the basis the child had been included in the previous 457 application, the amended regulations provide that the son can be included in a permanent residency 186 application.


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