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Amendments to the definition of "Member of the Family Unit"

2 April 2005 - Legislation change

Client summary

The definition of 'member of the family unit" at regulation 1.12 in the Migration Regulations 1994 is used across a broad range of visa subclasses, both permanent and temporary, to determine which family members may be included in a person's visa application. A spouse, dependent child, dependent child of a dependent child and certain other relatives may be a member of the family unit. The Regulations specifically set out in paragraphs 1.12(1)(d) and 1.12(1)(e), the requirements which must be met for a relative to be a member of the family unit.

Long standing policy intention has been that members of the family unit who are dependent relatives, must be single (ie never married, or widowed, divorced or separated) in order to meet this definition. However, paragraph 1.12(1)(d) was ambiguous and could be interpreted to include couples as members of the family unit.

To avoid ambiguity, paragraph 1.12(1)(d) has been omitted. Consequentially, a relative wishing to be included as a member of the family unit will be required to be considered against paragraph 1.12(1)(e). This paragraph provides that a relative of the family head or spouse of the family head is a person who:

  • has never married or is widowed, divorced or separated
  • is usually resident in the family head's household
  • is dependent on the family head.

Consequential amendments have also been made to subregulations 1.12(6) and (7) which set out the criteria for distinguished talent visas for relatives to be members of the family unit."

Technical details

Paragraph 1.12(1)(d) has been repealed from Part 1 of the Migration Regulations 1994. Consequential amendments have been made to paragraphs 1.12(6)(b)(vii) and (viii) and 1.12(7)(vii) and (viii).

Additional information: Nil.

Transitional arrangements: The changes apply to all applications lodged on or after 2 April 2005.

Forms: No changes to current forms.

Instructions: PAM3 guidelines have been forwarded to Instructions and Legend Section.

Effect on delegations: Nil.

Effect on systems: Nil.