Parent visas: Sponsorship rules reset as government completes backflip


The Turnbull government has fully reversed a regulation that effectively doubled the income requirements for visa sponsors.

The Coalition has officially scrapped its changes to so-called Assurance of Support visa sponsorship rules, weeks after SBS News revealed a government backdown was negotiated to prevent a Senate defeat.

Social services minister Dan Tehan tabled the documents in parliament on Wednesday to complete the reversal, less than two months after the changes were introduced.

The government struck a deal with the Greens to restore the old rules when it became apparent the party had enough support from Labor and the crossbench to defeat the changes on the floor of the parliament.

The new requirements were brought in at the beginning of April and meant residents needed much higher salaries to bring their parents to Australia on a visa.

An individual trying to sponsor their two parents would need to prove they earn an annual income of $86,607, up from around $45,000 under the previous rules.

While the rules were in place for a number of weeks, the minister agreed that anyone who applied in that window would be reassessed under the old rules.

Greens senator Nick McKim thanked the minister for “engaging” on the issue and welcomed the “change of heart”.

“No doubt the government could see the writing on the wall, in terms of the Senate being prepared to support our motion,” he told SBS News earlier this month.

The reversal came following weeks of backlash from migrant communities, with the Chinese community in particular launching a sophisticated petition campaign.

Reporting from SBS News demonstrated the changes would have impacted tens of thousands of migrants on Australia’s long waiting list for visas who were still being vetted by the Home Affairs department.

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