Assurance of Support (AOS)

What it is and how to get it

The Assurance of Support (AoS) scheme is managed by the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)  only decides on which applications require an AoS. The DHS determines whether an AoS application is accepted or not.

AoS is a legal commitment to provide financial support to a migrant applicant so that the Australian government will not carry any financial liability. The assurer, who does not need to be the sponsor, is also bound to repay the Australian government for any welfare payments made to the assuree during the stipulated AoS period. There may be a need to provide a financial bond as well. Where one assurer cannot meet the income requirements, a joint AoS may be made where the sum of the involved assurers’ income satisfies the income requirement. In a joint AoS situation, each assurer must complete a separate application. Each AoS can cover 2 adults and all dependent children and each AoS can have a maximum of 3 joint assurers.

AoS is mandatory for:

  • Parent visa (subclass 103)
  • Aged Parent visa (subclass 804)
  • Contributory Parent visa (subclass 143)
  • Contributory Aged Parent visa (subclass 864)
  • Aged Dependent Relative visa (subclass 114 and 838)
  • Remaining Relative visa (subclass 115 and 835)

Bonds are only required for visa applicants aged 18 and over. Main applicants of Contributory Parents visas will have an AoS bond of $10,000 AUD applied with $4,000 AUD per secondary applicant. The bond period is 10 years. The other Parent visas, Aged Dependent Relative and Remaining Relative will require bond amounts of $5,000 AUD for the main applicant and $2,000 AUD per secondary applicant. The bond period is 2 years. The bond period begins on the date of visa grant, if the applicant is already in Australia, or the date the visa holder arrives in Australia should the application have been made offshore.

If you fall outside the above visas you may still be required to provide AoS. These are some types of visas where discretionary AoS may apply:

 

  • Adoption
  • Business
  • Child
  • Close ties
  • Former citizen
  • Orphaned relative under 18

Discretionary AoS applies where applicants appear to be a financial risk to the Australian welfare system. The need for AoS is assessed based on education, skills, employment history, English language capacity and age of both the visa applicant and sponsor. Bonds are not usually required for those who fall in these categories.

Where the assurer is an organisation, bonds will be $10,000 AUD for a 2 year assurance and $20,000 for a 10 year assurance, regardless of whether the AoS is mandatory or discretionary.

To be an assurer, one must :
  • Have an income greater than the income threshold for current and previous financial years
  • Be an Australian citizen, Australian Permanent Resident or eligible New Zealand citizen
  • Be over 18
  • Be able to get a bank guarantee, if required (mandatory AoS visa categories)

 

Income threshold 

The income threshold is affected by:
  • Number of people in the assurer’s immediate family
  • Number of adult assurees in the AoS
  • Number of assurers in the AoS

 

Assurer with no dependent children

The starting income threshold for a single assurer without children is based on the annual rate of Newstart Allowance (NSA rate)  for the category “single, with a dependent child or children” :

(taken from the Department of Human Services site)

This then gets multiplied with the number of people involved; assurers + adult assurees. If the assurer has a partner that is not acting as joint assurer, the partner is not considered in calculations, and vice versa.

Income threshold = NSA rate x (number of assurers + number of adult assurees)

As at 19 July 2016,

Income threshold = $14,840.80 x (number of assurers + number of adult assurees) 

Examples:

Situation (no children) Income threshold calculation
1 assurer for 1 adult assuree $14,840.80 x 2 = $29,681.60
1 assurer for 2 adult assurees $14,840.80 x 3 = $ 44,522.40
3 assurers for 2 adult assurees $14,840.80 x 5 = $74,204.00

 

Assurer with dependent children

If the assurer has dependent childrenFamily Tax Benefit Part A (FTB Part A Rate) and applicable supplement   is applied to each dependent child (under 18 years of age). Children of adults assurees are not calculated in the income threshold.

 

(taken from the Department of Human Services site)

Income threshold = 

(NSA rate x (number of assurers + number of adult assurees)) + ((FTB Part A rate + applicable supplement) x number of assurer’s dependent children)

As at 19 July 2016,

Income threshold = 

($14,840.80 x (number of assurers + number of adult assurees) +  (($1529.35 + $726.35 = $2255.70) x number of assurer’s dependent children)

Examples:

Situation (assurer(s) have children) Income threshold calculation
1 assurer for 1 adult assuree

Assurer has partner who is not a joint assurer and has 1 dependent child
($14,840.80 x 2) + ($2,255.70 x 1) = $31,937.30
2 assurers for 1 adult assuree

Assurer has a partner who is a joint assurer and has 2 dependent children
($14,840.80 x 3) + ($2,255.70 x 2) = $49,033.80
1 assurer for 2 adult assurees

Assurer has partner who is not a joint assurer and has 2 dependent children. Assurees have 2 dependent children as well
($14,840.80 x 3) + ($2,255.70 x 2) = $49,033.80

The government guide to income requirements can be found here  and in more detail for joint AoS here.

Be aware that the values in the linked document are at 1 July 2015. It is important to check the official Newstart allowance and Family Tax Benefit pages as they are updated once and twice yearly respectively.

The assurer will need to provide evidence of income for the current financial year and 2 years before through documents such as:

  • payslips or an employment contract (current financial year)
  • and/or financial statements (current financial year)
  • and ATO notice of assessments for the previous 2 financial years

The application is made by filling out a form which needs to be handed in personally at a Service Centre and signed in front of a Service Officer or Authorised Official. If AoS is not mandatory for you, please wait for the DIBP to sent you a request before looking for an assurer.It doesn’t end here. Assurers will need to have an interview with Centrelink. This interview may be face-to-face or via telephone. During this interview, the rights and responsibilities of becoming an assurer will be explained in full detail. This interview is compulsory and not engaging will result in a rejection of the AoS application.Once an AoS becomes effective, it may be cancelled only in the following situations:

  • an assuree having entered Australia on a visa which has an AoS and subsequently being granted refugee status by DIBP, (refugee visas do not have an AoS or a waiting period for income support payments), OR
  • cancellation of the visa of the person identified in the AoS as the assuree, OR
  • there is only one assuree and the assuree dies, OR
  • there is only one assurer and the assurer dies, OR
  • where an accident or disability to the assurer has critically affected the assurer’s ability to provide adequate support.

An AoS does not come into force when an assuree has not travelled to Australia. The assuree may be unable to travel to to extenuating reasons such as major illness. Supporting evidence will need to be furnished for the cancellation of the AoS.

Outside the circumstances listed above, it is not possible to recoup your bond.

Taking on the role of assurer is not to be taken lightly. It is important to be aware of all that this entails, especially if you have others who are financially dependent on you. Remember it is very rare that an AOS obligation actually gets called upon. If the person being assured draws on a Centrelink benefit, then the bond will be forfeited to the amount owed and if the amount culminates to exceed the bond, the assurers of the AoS will be personally liable. However these are sponsored family visas and people do not hesitate to take on such liabilities. Just be cautious though if you are going to ask a friend to help you out with an AoS.

30517-AILS

Karl Konrad
Managing Director & Migration Agent, Australian Immigration Law Services
MARN 0850073

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