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Some visa applicants need to provide an Assurance of Support (AoS) before their visa application can be granted.
What is an Assurance of Support?
The AoS scheme allows welfare costs for certain migrants to be met by an Australian permanent resident or citizen, rather than the Australian community.
An AoS is a legal commitment by a person (the assurer), not necessarily the sponsor, to provide financial support to a person applying to migrate (the assuree) so that they will not have to rely on social welfare payments.
It is also a commitment to repay to the Australian Government certain welfare payments if payments are paid to the assuree during their AoS period.
In some circumstances, an assurer will also need to provide a financial bond.
An AoS lasts for:
- 10 years for contributory parent visa holders
- two years for all other visa types where an AoS is needed.
The AoS period begins on:
- the date of visa grant, if the applicant is in Australia
- the date the visa holder arrives in Australia, if the applicant was outside Australia when the visa was granted.
Note: The AoS (including the AoS bond component) remains in place for the duration of the AoS period, regardless of whether or not the person applying to migrate has become an Australian citizen or obtained a different visa (except where that visa is a humanitarian visa). When the relevant visa has been granted, the AoS can only be cancelled (and the AoS bond refunded) in very limited circumstances as determined by the Department of Human Services (DHS).
Types of Assurance of Support
Mandatory Assurance of Support
The mandatory AoS must be provided before a visa can be granted. A financial bond must be lodged by the assurer in cases where an AoS is mandatory. The mandatory AoS cannot be waived in any circumstances and applies to the following permanent visas:
- Aged Parent
- Contributory Parent
- Contributory Aged Parent
- Aged Dependent Relative
- Remaining Relative.
While all applicants for the visa categories listed above require an AoS, a bond is only required for applicants aged 18 years and over.
For permanent Contributory Parent (including Contributory Aged Parent) visa applicants, an AoS bond of AUD10 000 is required for the main applicant. This bond will be held for the 10-year AoS period. The AoS bond sum for any adult secondary applicant is AUD4000.
For permanent Parent (including Aged Parent), Aged Dependent Relative and Remaining Relative visa applicants, an AoS bond of AUD5000 is required for the main applicant. This bond will be held for two years. The AoS bond amount for any adult secondary applicant is AUD2000.
Note: An AUD10 000 financial bond is required for each application if the assurer is an organisation.
Discretionary Assurance of Support
In some other family stream visas (including child visas), a discretionary AoS may be requested where applicants are assessed as being at risk of becoming a charge on Australia's welfare system. This request is based on consideration of the education, skills, employment history, English language capacity and age of both the visa applicant and sponsor.
Under normal circumstances, an AoS bond is not required for visas with a discretionary AoS. Exceptions apply to cases where the AoS is provided by an organisation other than a state agency.
Note: From 1 January 2012, the discretionary Assurance of Support (AoS) requirement was removed from partner visas.
Roles and responsibilities
The Department of Social Services
The Department of Social Services has overall policy responsibility for the AoS scheme, which is based on the Social Security Act 1991. The Department of Social Services determines the duration of all AoS periods, the required bond amounts and eligibility requirements for social welfare payments.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection (the department) determines which visa applications require an AoS.
The department does not assess AoS applications. Where an AoS is required the department will decide a visa application based on advice from DHS whether an AoS has been accepted or not.
The Department of Human Services
The AoS scheme is managed by the DHS, which is responsible for:
- providing AoS application forms
- assessing an Australian resident's capacity to provide an AoS
- counselling assurers about the implications of the AoS undertaking
- advising the requirements to be met by assurers, including joint assurers
- advising about the bond lodgement as well as the procedures for bond release
- informing the assurer about the recoverable social security payments affected by an AoS
- considering any requests for cancellation of an AoS.
More information about the AoS scheme can be obtained from DHS website or by telephone.
See: Assurance of Support
132 850 (English)
131 202 (languages other than English)
What steps do I need to take to obtain an Assurance of Support?
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will send you a letter advising that you need to obtain an AoS. You must forward this letter to your potential assurer. Your potential assurer needs to provide this letter to DHS to initiate the AoS assessment. DHS will advise your assurer how to make an application as well as the responsibilities that accompany an AoS commitment.
How will I find out about the outcome of the Assurance of Support assessment?
DHS will advise the department and the assurer of the results of the AoS assessment process.
Fact Sheet 34. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last reviewed December 2013.