Assurance of Support
Information you need to know if you have been asked to provide an Assurance of Support as part of a visa application.
You need to know
An Assurance of Support may be required before someone (the assuree) can be issued a visa to live in Australia. The Assurance of Support is a legal agreement for someone to provide financial support (the assurer) to the assuree while they are in Australia. This is a legal agreement between the assurer and the Australian Government in case the assuree needs to access income support payments. An assurer can be an Australian resident or organisation, but is usually a relative of the assuree.
Each Assurance of Support can only cover 2 adults and their dependent children.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection decides which visa applications need an Assurance of Support. Once the visa application has been received, the visa applicant will be notified in writing whether an Assurance of Support is required.
We will asses your application and decide if you can be an assurer, based on criteria such as your financial ability to support the assuree. We will discuss your obligations and your capacity to be an assurer in an interview and then decide if you meet the criteria.
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 under the terms of the Assurance of Support. If the bank guarantee does not cover the entire Assurance of Support debt, you will need to repay the outstanding debt amount.
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, contributory aged parent, parent, aged parent
- remaining relative
These types require the lodgment 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:
- former resident, or
- orphaned relative under 18 at the time of application
These types do not require the lodgment of a bank guarantee, unless the assurer is an incorporated or unincorporated organisation.
To become an assurer, you must:
- meet the income test for both 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 test for assurers
The income you need will depend on:
- the number of people in your immediate family
- the number 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 income is based on the annual rate of Newstart Allowance. The income test increases according to the number of dependent children you have. For more information, phone us or visit a service centre.
Incorporated and unincorporated bodies
Incorporated and unincorporated bodies can also provide an Assurance of Support as an organisation assurer. We will require proof of company registration, and evidence of consistent trading activity for at least 24 months before the application date.
We also need to be satisfied the organisation has not been set up for the sole purpose of providing an Assurance of Support. This is to show the organisation has capacity to support the assuree.
Suitable evidence can be:
- tax returns
- correspondence from a registered accountant
- a statement from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
An application may not be accepted if the organisation:
- has been set up just prior to the application, or
- has not been trading or is not currently trading
An organisation 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, it must provide a guarantee of:
- $10,000 for a 2 year Assurance of Support, and
- $20,000 for a 10 year Assurance of Support
You may incur a recoverable debt if the assuree or their dependents receives an income support payment during the Assurance of Support period. Any debts not covered by the bank guarantee will be a debt that you owe. You 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 the assuree arrives in Australia or the date the visa is granted, whichever is the later date. You must notify us once the assuree arrives in the country or is granted a visa.
Generally, the assuree and any of their dependants won't claim payments from us during the Assurance of Support period. An Assurance of Support remains active until the end of the period even if the assuree becomes exempt from the 2 year waiting period for most income support payments.
There are no exemptions from the Assurance of Support provisions. Becoming an Australian citizen does not cancel the Assurance of Support period.
The Assurance of Support cannot be cancelled due to events such as financial hardship or a breakdown in relationship.
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. Return the completed form and any required documents to your nearest service centre.
We may provide financial support to an assuree during the Assurance of Support period if you can’t provide support, or the 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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