3.1.2.40 Newly arrived resident's waiting period (NARWP)

Summary

Most migrants do not have immediate access to income support payments when they first arrive in Australia. However, the provisions restricting migrants' access to payments are not identical across payment types. Most allowances have a NARWP. Some pensions have qualifying residence periods and some pensions and allowances (e.g. PP) have qualifying residence requirements as well as a NARWP. A NARWP operates differently from qualifying residence requirements. In addition, the length of a NARWP, how it is calculated and who it applies to can vary from payment to payment.

Note: This means it is very important to check the specific legislation for the payment being claimed, and not to assume that the provisions of one payment will apply to another.

Payments with a NARWP

A NARWP applies to the following social security payments and benefits:

  • newstart allowance
  • youth allowance
  • austudy payment
  • partner allowance
  • carer payment
  • carer allowance
  • sickness allowance
  • mobility allowance
  • pensioner education supplement
  • bereavement allowance
  • parenting payment
  • special benefit
  • health care card (low income), AND
  • Commonwealth seniors health card.

Note: The NARWP also applies to the farm household allowance (FHA). FHA is paid under the Farm Household Support Act 2014 on behalf of the Department of Agriculture. The NARWP for FHA operates similarly to the NARWP for NSA. Please refer to NSA for policy guidance.

The NARWP for CA, PP and BVA only applies to people granted a permanent visa on or after 1 January 2019. People granted a relevant visa on or after 1 January 2019 are also subject to a NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP. More information is in FA Guide 2.2.1.10 and PPL Guide 2.2.4.30.

Visas subject to a NARWP

The following visa types may be subject to a NARWP:

  • a permanent visa
  • a temporary partner visa
    • subclass 309 Partner (Provisional), or
    • subclass 820 Partner
  • a Special Category visa (subclass 444).

Note: Holders of some visas are only eligible for certain payments and therefore are only subject to a NARWP for those payments.

Exemption from the NARWP

There are a number of general and payment specific exemptions from the NARWP, and situations where a NARWP does not apply. Details of general exemptions from the NARWP are listed in 3.1.2.70. Payment specific exemptions from the NARWP are listed in the relevant payment topic in Part 3.

Duration of NARWP

From 1 January 2019, the NARWP was extended to 208 weeks for various working age payments and concession cards; and new waiting periods of 208 weeks, 104 weeks and 52 weeks were introduced for a range of other payments. Prior to 1 January 2019, the NARWP was 104 weeks and only applied to certain working age payments. The length of a NARWP, how it is calculated and who it applies to depends on the date of a person's arrival in Australia and the benefit they apply for. Only time a visa holder is physically present in Australia will count towards the NARWP.

Example: Andie is granted a permanent Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa (subclass 187) on 1 August 2019 after being nominated by an Australian employer for a job in regional Australia. She is subject to the 208 week NARWP for working age payments and must wait 4 years before she can receive these payments. After 2 years, on 2 August 2021, Andie returns to her home country for 4 months to visit family. Andie will not complete her NARWP until December 2023 because time out of Australia does not count towards the NARWP period.

Note: People who were granted a relevant permanent or temporary visa before 1 January 2019 remain subject to a 104 week NARWP and will not serve a NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP, DAPP or CA.

Transitional arrangements - 1 January 2019

People who were granted permanent or applicable temporary visas before 1 January 2019 remain subject to the 104 week NARWP for working age payments (such as NSA). They are also not subject to a NARWP for CA, FTB Part A, PLP, DAPP, BVA, or PP. BVA and PP continue to have a 104 week qualifying residence period.

Example: Sam was granted a permanent Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa on 1 May 2018. He is subject to a 104 week NARWP for working age payments and will have immediate access (no NARWP) to CA, FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP, if eligible.

Example: Sam was granted a permanent Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa on 1 February 2019. He is subject to a 208 week NARWP for most working age payments, for example NSA, a 104 week NARWP for PLP, DAPP and CP and a 52 week NARWP CA and FTB Part A.

For more information on application provisions for FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP refer to FA Guide 2.2.1.10 and PPL Guide 2.2.4.30.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.2.10 Application of Waiting Periods

SCV holders

Protected SCV holders are subject to a 104 week NARWP for working age payments (such as NSA), CP, LIC and CSHC. They are not subject to a NARWP for CA, FTB Part A, PLP, DAPP, BVA or PP.

Non-protected SCV holders are subject to a 104 week NARWP for the LIC and CSHC. They are not subject to a NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP.

Former SCV holders, regardless of what visa they currently hold, are not subject to a NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP or DAPP.

Note: In limited circumstances, non-protected SCV holders can access NSA, YA or SA for up to 6 months. In these instances a NARWP does not apply. For more information refer to 9.1.2.40.

Act reference: Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Promoting Sustainable Welfare) Act 2018 Schedule 1 item 21 Application provisions, Schedule 1 item 32 Application provision

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.2.10 Application of Waiting Periods, 3.1.2.46 NARWP Saving Provisions for New Zealand Citizens, 9.1.2.40 New Zealand citizens

Orphan relative & remaining relative visas

People are not subject to a NARWP for CA, FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP if they hold an Orphan Relative (subclass 117 or 837) or a Remaining Relative (subclass 115 or 835) visa, irrespective of when the visa is granted. These visa holders are subject to a 104 week NARWP for certain working age payments such as NSA.

Act reference: Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Promoting Sustainable Welfare) Act 2018 Schedule 1 item 21 Application provisions, Schedule 1 item 32 Application provision

Interaction with QRE

Payments with a 104 week qualifying residence requirement are:

  • bereavement allowance
  • widow allowance, and
  • parenting payment.

This qualifying residence period is served concurrently with the NARWP where both apply. Generally, the same exemptions apply to the 104 week qualifying residence period and the NARWP.

Example:
  • Refugees, or former refugees, and family members of a refugee are exempt from both the 104 week qualifying residence period and the 208 week NARWP for PP and BVA.
  • People who become a lone parent after becoming an Australian resident are exempt from both the 104 week qualifying residence period and 208 week NARWP for PP.

In limited circumstances, people may be subject to the 208 week NARWP for BVA even if they are exempt from the 104 week qualifying residence period.

Example: People who are exempt from the 104 week qualifying residence period for BVA because both they and their partner were Australian residents when the partner died are subject to the 208 week NARWP.

Date of commencement & completion of the NARWP

A NARWP generally commences on the LATEST of the following dates:

  • the date the person arrived in Australia, OR
  • the date the person was granted permanent residence.

Generally the NARWP ends when a person has been an Australian resident and in Australia for the relevant number of weeks (except for SpB). Previous periods of Australian residence can count towards the NARWP.

The NARWP for SpB does not require the person to be an Australian resident. If the person is a temporary partner visa holder, the NARWP commences on the date the person applied for the visa and ends when the person has been in Australia for 208 weeks. In all other cases, the NARWP for SpB commences on the later of the date the person arrived in Australia or the date the person became the holder of a permanent visa and ends when they have been in Australia for 208 weeks.

People who are granted a temporary partner visa are subject to a NARWP for SpB (and from 1 January 2019, for FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP). However, if they subsequently move to a permanent partner visa, the period on the temporary visa will count towards the NARWP for these payments. The NARWP for other payments commences once the permanent visa is granted.

People who hold a temporary partner visa before 1 January 2019 will continue to not serve a NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP or DAPP.

Example: On 6 March 2019, Andrew applies for temporary and permanent Partner visas (subclasses 820 and 801). On 14 June 2020 he is granted the temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) so he can continue to live with his partner Alice in Australia. Andrew will remain on the temporary Partner visa (subclass 820) while his application for the permanent Partner visa (subclass 801) is processed. While on the temporary visa, Andrew is not residentially qualified for most welfare payments, except SpB and family payments (including FTB, PLP and DAPP); however, he must serve a 52 week NARWP for FTB Part A, a 104 week NARWP for PLP and DAPP and a 208 week NARWP for SpB before he can access these payments. The temporary Partner visa subclass 820 is a specified visa under paragraph 739A(3)(b) of the SSAct. This means the NARWP for these payments begins from the date Andrew applied for the temporary Partner visa. The period Andrew spends in Australia following his application counts towards the NARWP for SpB and family payments, which will end on 6 March 2023. On 24 March 2022 Andrew is granted a permanent Partner visa (subclass 801). A 208 week NARWP will apply for most other welfare payments (e.g. NSA) from the day he is granted the permanent visa. However, he will have already fully served the NARWP for FTB Part A, PLP and DAPP, and will have less than a year left to serve of the NARWP for SpB. He can then access these payments if eligible during the NARWP for other payments.

Date of commencement of NARWP pursuant to the operation of SSAct section 7(4B)

The 'day on which a permanent visa is granted to a person or a person becomes the holder of a permanent visa' for the purpose of calculating the NAWRP, SSAct section 7(4B), will be:

  • the date the initial decision maker (Department of Home Affairs) decides to grant a visa to the person, OR
  • if the Department of Home Affairs decides not to grant a visa and on a review of the decision, that original decision is set aside (however described) by a tribunal and a visa is granted to the person: the date on which the Department of Home Affairs originally decided not to grant the visa to the person.

The above situation could occur when a person applies for a permanent residence visa in Australia and the application is rejected by the Department of Home Affairs, and the applicant lodges an appeal with the AAT.

Act reference: SSAct section 7(4B) For the purposes of a newly arrived resident's waiting period …

Farm Household Support Act 2014 section 43 Duration of newly arrived resident's waiting period

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.4.50 Verifying Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period

FA Guide 2.2.1.10 NARWP for FTB Part A

PPL Guide 2.2.4.30 NARWP for PLP & DAPP

Last reviewed: 6 May 2019