The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

9.4.3.40 Assurer eligibility requirements - unincorporated bodies

Requirements for unincorporated bodies

Unincorporated bodies (such as community organisations, which have not been registered with the Registrar-General) are able to provide an AoS for a migrant.

Unincorporated associations must have an address in Australia, and intend to maintain an address in Australia while an AoS given by the body remains in force.

The unincorporated body must prove that it is based in Australia, through provision of an address, tax returns lodged by the body, bank account statements and the like.

When assessing the AoS, the Secretary must be satisfied that the unincorporated body has not been set up for the sole purpose of providing an AoS. For example, if the unincorporated body is set up immediately prior to the AoS application and/or the unincorporated body has not been trading or is not trading, the AoS should not be accepted.

A partner in the unincorporated body may act on behalf of the body and the other partners in the body. An AoS that is given by an unincorporated body must be signed on behalf of the body by a person who is duly authorised in writing to sign the AoS.

If a member of the unincorporated body has applied to provide an AoS on the body's behalf, Services Australia may ask to see a copy of the rules of the association in order to establish the member's authority to sign on behalf of the association. If someone provides an AoS on behalf of an unincorporated body while knowing that they were not authorised to do so, it is possible that the person may be guilty of an offence (under either social security legislation or the criminal code).

An unincorporated body cannot give an AoS jointly with another body, State agency or person.

Act reference: SSAct Chapter 2C Assurances of support, Part 2C.4 Determinations, Part 2C.5 Assurances by unincorporated bodies

Social Security (Assurances of Support) Determination 2018

Financial capacity

Unincorporated bodies must meet the financial capacity test before the Secretary may accept an AoS. In order for unincorporated bodies to meet the financial capacity test, they must have at least $5,000 in readily available funds per adult assuree as at the date of the AoS application.

For the purposes of the financial capacity test, readily available funds means the following:

  • money in an account, or on deposit, with an authorised deposit taking institution within the meaning of the Banking Act 1959
  • bank bills accepted, or endorsed, by such an institution
  • marketable securities (within the meaning of section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001).

If an unincorporated body is an existing assurer and applies to provide a further AoS, they will need to show sufficient profit or readily available funds to cover both the existing assuree/s and new assuree/s as part of the new AoS application.

An unincorporated body can also meet the financial capacity test if the Secretary (or their delegate) is otherwise satisfied that the body has the capacity to support the assurees receiving assurance under the AoS. The Secretary (or their delegate) may use their discretion on a case-by-case basis and this is not binding on subsequent decisions. Generally, a body should attempt to meet the above financial capacity test.

Evidence of readily available funds

Evidence of readily available funds can include any one or a combination of the following:

  • tax return
  • bank statement
  • letter from a registered accountant, bank or similar entity
  • proof of marketable securities.

Example: A community organisation has applied to provide an AoS for Farouk and his family. Farouk’s family consists of himself, 4 children under 18 years of age, and his eldest son who is 19 years old. As there are 2 adult assurees, the organisation can satisfy the financial capacity test by providing Services Australia with evidence of readily available funds amounting to $10,000. The community organisation forwards bank statements showing readily available funds totalling $20,000. The organisation meets the financial capacity test.

Limit on assurees for an unincorporated body

Unincorporated bodies can only be an assurer for a maximum of 2 adult assurees at any one time (there is no limit on the number of child assurees). An unincorporated body may not give an AoS for an adult if:

  • the unincorporated body has previously given an assurance 2 adults (whether in a single assurance or separate assurances), and
  • each assurance either remains in force or the assessment of the application for the assurance is still pending, acceptance or rejection.

Note: Different limits apply to corporations providing an assurance for a Community Support Program entrant – see 9.4.3.50.

Securities provided by an unincorporated body

For visas that require a mandatory AoS requirement, a security in the form of a bank guarantee is required. For visas that are discretionary, there is no requirement for any security. The value of the security will depend on the length of the assurance period. The security will be deposited in the name of the unincorporated body.

Policy reference: SS Guide 9.4.4 AoS securities

Debts incurred by an unincorporated body

If a debt occurs, Services Australia will recover the debt from all members of the body or an individual who is acting on behalf of the body. If a security was provided, this will be used in the first instance to recover the debt. The body's funds will be used to repay any remaining debt. If this does not occur, the signatory/s of the AoS will be liable for any debt.

Example: A local women's association wishes to provide an AoS for Nadia. Nadia has applied for a visa, which has an AoS for a period of 4 years but no security requirement.

To provide proof of their address the association has to provide their bank statements, tenancy agreement and any other relevant documents. The association will also need to provide evidence of readily available funds amounting $5,000.

If Nadia makes a claim for and is granted a recoverable social security payment, Services Australia will recover the resulting debt from the association.

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