Assurance of Support
A commitment to support a person who is applying to migrate to Australia, so they will not have to rely on payments from us once they have arrived.
You need to know
An Assurance of Support is a legal agreement between an assurer (an Australian resident or organisation) and the Australian Government. You (as the assurer) must agree to support the assuree in Australia so they don’t need to rely on income support payments.
You may have to get an Assurance of Support before your assuree can be issued with a visa to live in Australia. Each Assurance of Support can cover no more than 2 adults and all of their dependant children.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection decides which visas need an Assurance of Support. It is important to note that the person who lodges the visa application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is viewed as the visa applicant. The visa applicant can also be the assurer, however in some cases they may be a third party.
You may be asked to provide a bank guarantee, which is lodged with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. This is to ensure the Australian Government can recover debts incurred by the assuree under the terms of the Assurance of Support.
We decide if you can be an assurer, based on criteria such as your financial capacity to support your assuree during the Assurance of Support period. We will need to interview you to decide if you meet the criteria to be an assurer.
There are 2 types of Assurance of Support:
Mandatory Assurance of Support
A visa applicant must have an Assurance of Support to apply for these visa categories:
- aged dependent relative
- contributory parent, parent, aged parent
- remaining relative
A mandatory Assurance of Support requires the lodgement of a bank guarantee.
Discretionary Assurance of Support
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection may ask a visa applicant to get an Assurance of Support for these visa categories:
- close ties
- former citizen, or
- orphaned relative under 18 at the time of application
A discretionary Assurance of Support does not require the lodgement of a bank guarantee, unless the assurer is an incorporated or unincorporated organisation.
To become an assurer, you must:
- have an income greater than the income threshold for assurers for the current and previous financial years
- be an Australian resident
- be 18 or older
- provide confirmation of identity, and
- be able to get a bank guarantee, if required
Income threshold for assurers
The level of income you need to become an assurer will depend on:
- the number of people in your immediate family
- the numbers of adults you are seeking to assure, and
- whether there are any other assurers. For example, if you are giving a joint Assurance of Support
The minimum amount of income you must show is based on the annual rate of Newstart Allowance. If you have dependent children, it will also be based on Family Tax Benefit Part A. The income threshold increases according to the number of dependent children you have and the number of adults (a maximum of 2) covered by the Assurance of Support.
If you have been asked to become an assurer for someone and you would like more information, contact us on 132 850 or visit your nearest service centre.
Incorporated and unincorporated bodies
Incorporated and unincorporated bodies (the body) can also provide an Assurance of Support if they have proof of company registration and we are satisfied the body has not been set up for the sole purpose of providing an Assurance of Support.
The body would generally be required to provide evidence of consistent trading activity for at least 24 months before the date of the application for Assurance of Support. This is to show that the body has the capacity to support the assuree.
Suitable evidence could be:
- tax returns
- correspondence from a registered accountant
- a statement from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
If the body has been set up immediately prior to the Assurance of Support application or the body has not been trading or is not currently trading, the Assurance of Support may not be accepted.
A body is not required to meet an income test but must always supply a bank guarantee.
For a 2 year Assurance of Support, the bank guarantee is:
- $5,000 for 1 adult visa applicant and
- $7,000 if there are 2 adult visa applicants
For a 10 year Assurance of Support, the bank guarantee is:
- $10,000 for 1 adult visa applicant and
- $14,000 if there are 2 adult visa applicants
Where the assurer is an organisation, the organisation must provide a guarantee of:
- $10,000 for a 2 year Assurance of Support and
- $20,000 for a 10 year Assurance of Support
If your assuree, or any of their dependants, receives a recoverable income support payment during the Assurance of Support period, a debt will occur. Any debts not covered by the bank guarantee will be a debt that you owe. Any assurer should be prepared to deposit money with the bank to cover the value of the bank guarantee.
Depending on the type of visa granted, an Assurance of Support can last for 2 or 10 years. The period starts from the date your assuree arrives in Australia or the date the visa is granted, whichever is the later date. You must notify us once your assuree has either arrived in the country or been granted the visa. Generally, your assuree and any of their dependants won’t be able to claim payments from us in this period.
An Assurance of Support remains active until the end of the Assurance of Support period (2 or 10 years), even if your assuree has become exempt from the 2 year waiting period that is required for most income support payments.
There are no exemptions from the Assurance of Support provisions, and becoming an Australian citizen does not cancel the Assurance of Support period. If your assuree, or any of their dependants, receives any of the income support payments that are recoverable under the Assurance of Support scheme during the Assurance of Support period, the assurer must repay this money.
The Assurance of Support can’t be cancelled due to events such as financial hardship, breakdown in relationships or if you become an Australian citizen.
If an assuree dies before arriving in Australia, or at any time during the Assurance of Support period, the Assurance of Support will be cancelled.
To become an assurer, you will need to fill in an Application to Provide an Assurance of Support form, then return the completed form and any required documents to your nearest service centre.
We may provide financial support to an assuree during the period of an Assurance of Support if you can’t provide support, or your assuree can’t accept support from you. We will usually speak to both the assurer and the assuree before providing financial support.
The assurer will have to repay the money to us if any of the following payments are paid to an assuree during the Assurance of Support period:
- Newstart Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance
- Youth Allowance
Any money to be repaid will be recovered from the assurer or from the assurer’s bank guarantee, if one is in place. If the debt amount exceeds the bank guarantee, we will raise a debt against the assurer for the remaining amount.
If the Assurance of Support period has ended and you have provided a bank guarantee, you can apply to have it released by completing the Assurance of Support Bank Guarantee Release form.
The bank guarantee cannot be released until the end of the Assurance of Support period.
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