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Important Changes for Families

Legislative changes will come into effect from 19 November 2016 which change the definition of a “Member of the Family Unit” and will impact eligibility to include family members as secondary applicants to a visa application.

These changes will apply to most visas except protection, refugee and humanitarian visas.

Two of the key changes are:

Reducing the definition to only include the spouse/de-facto partner of a primary applicant and the dependent children/step children of the primary applicant or their partner.

Extended family members such as parents, brothers or sisters of the main applicant can no longer be included as a secondary applicant.


The introduction to an upper age limit of 23 for dependent children.

To be considered “dependent” the child must meet the following conditions:

  • be wholly or substantially reliant on the main applicant (or the spouse/de-facto partner of the main applicant) for financial assistance to meet their basic needs for food, shelter and clothing.

  • Cannot be engaged, married or in a de-facto relationship

  • Aged under 18 or

  • Aged Between 18 but not yet 23

This provision will not apply to children over the age of 23 but incapacitated for work due to the total or partial loss of bodily or mental functions.

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