9.4.1.40 AoS scheme from 1 January 2008

Summary

Improvements to the operation of the AoS scheme were introduced with effect from 1 January 2008, under the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Further 2007 Budget Measures) Act 2007.

The Department of Home Affairs continues to decide whether a potential migrant requires an AoS while DSS continues to manage and have policy responsibility for the AoS scheme and deliver the scheme through Centrelink. Centrelink also continues to administer the debt recovery and waiver provisions and the assurer's rights of review under the SSAct.

Some key changes to the AoS scheme effective from 1 January 2008 are:

  • removal of mandatory and discretionary AoS from all skilled visa subclasses and carer visa subclasses 116 and 836
  • for mandatory AoS cases where security is required, a bank guarantee from the CBA is to be obtained and evidence of this bank guarantee is to be provided to Centrelink before the AoS can be approved
  • a simpler formula for income thresholds and changes to allowable income to include fringe benefits, foreign income, tax free pensions or benefits etc.
  • organisations exempt from the income test, and
  • security for the 2 year AoS increased to $5,000 for primary applicant and $2,000 for secondary applicant.

The Social Security (Assurances of Support) (FaHCSIA) Determination 2007 gave effect to these changes from 1 January 2008.

With effect from 1 January 2012, amendments to SSAct and the Social Security (Class of Visas - Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period for Special Benefit) Determination 2011 have changed access to SpB for temporary visa subclass holders 309, 820, 310 and 826.

As a result of the SSAct changes, since 1 January 2012 the discretionary requirement for an AoS has been removed from the Migration Regulations for temporary visa subclasses 309 and 820; temporary visa subclass 300 (prospective marriage); and the permanent visa subclasses 100 and 801.

Any AoS that has been accepted for a Spouse/Partner category visa that was granted on or before 31 December 2011 remains in place.

From 1 January 2019, there were also changes to the AoS period for certain visas. Refer to 9.4.1.60.

Note: Prior to 1 July 2009, the Spouse/Partner visa category included Interdependency visas (subclasses 310, 110, 826, and 814). The Interdependency visas were repealed subsequent to the introduction of the Same Sex Relationships Act 2008, and they and Spouse visas are no longer available to new applicants, who are now given Partner visas. The Department of Home Affairs advised in late 2011 that there were no outstanding 310 Interdependency visa applications yet to be decided, but there were some 110, 826 and 814 Interdependency visa applications yet to be decided. As it was unlikely that the Department of Home Affairs would be able to amend the Migration Regulations to remove the AoS requirement on repealed visas, the Department of Home Affairs advised that this caseload would be managed through policy, and the Department of Home Affairs case officers would be advised to not request an AoS for the repealed visas.

Act reference: SSAct section 739A(8) Neither subsection (1) nor (2) applies to a person if …

Last reviewed: 12 August 2019