An Assurance of Support (AoS) enables welfare expenses for eligible migrants to be provided by an Australian permanent resident or citizen to the Australian Government. The nominated assurer (not necessarily the sponsor) legally commits to provide financial support to the person applying to migrate (the assuree), eliminating the need for government welfare payments.
It is also a commitment to compensate the Australian Government for certain welfare payments, if payments are paid to the assuree during their AoS period. A financial bond will be required from the Assurer.
An AoS lasts for:
- 10 years for contributory parent visa holders; or
- 2 years for all other visa types where an Assurance of Support is needed
The AoS period commences on:
- the date of the visa grant, if the applicant is in Australia; or
- the date the visa holder arrives in Australia, if the applicant was outside Australia when the visa was granted
Types of Assurance of Support
The Assurance of Support is a mandatory requirement for the family stream of Visas. The AoS must be provided prior to the following visas being granted:
- Aged Parent
- Contributory Parent
- Contributory Aged Parent
- Aged Dependent Relative
- Remaining Relative
For these visas an Assurance of Support must be provided before the visa can be granted and the AoS requirement cannot be waived.
Discretionary Assurance of Support
In most other visa subclasses, a discretionary Assurance of Support may be requested if an applicant is assessed as being at risk of becoming a charge on Australia’s welfare system. This request is based upon close consideration of the education, skills, employment history, English language capacity and age of the visa applicant and their sponsor.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection determines which visas should include an Assurance of Support requirement and in discretionary Assurance of Support cases, when an Assurance of Support is needed. The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) does not undertake assessments of Assurance of Support applications. The Assurance of Support scheme is based in the Social Security Act 1991 and is delivered by the Department of Human Services (DHS), which is responsible for:
- providing Assurance of Support application forms;
- assessing an Australian resident’s capacity to provide an Assurance of Support;
- counselling assurers about the implications of the Assurance of Support undertaking;
- advising the requirements that need to be met by assurers (including joint assurers) in order to provide an Assurance of Support;
- advising obligations of being an assurer, including the bond lodgement and procedures for bond release; and
- advising the recoverable social security payments affected by an Assurance of Support;
The AoS Process
Before your visa is granted, DOHA will send you a letter via your agent advising that you need to obtain an Assurance of Support. You must forward this letter to your potential assurer.
Your potential assurer is to provide this letter to Centrelink to initiate the Assurance of Support assessment. Centrelink will advise your assurer how to make an Assurance of Support application and the responsibilities that accompany an Assurance of Support commitment. The Assurance of Support can be lodged either online or in paper at the Centrelink offices.
Centrelink will advise the department and the assurer about the outcome of the Assurance of Support assessment when the Assurance of Support is finalised. If it is unsuccessful you are given the opportunity to contact another person to act as your assurer. It is possible to combine two people so that the financial obligations criteria are me