Proposed legislation would require certain visa holders to undergo revalidation checks

21 Oct 16

AUSTRALIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Legislation that is pending before Parliament would require certain visa holders to complete and pass a revalidation check to make sure their information is up to date, that they still meet the criteria of their visas and that they do not pose a risk to Australia.

What does the change mean? Under the proposed law, an individual’s visa may be cancelled if the revalidation check reveals “adverse information related to the person holding the visa.”

  • Implementation timeframe: The legislation must be passed by Parliament and receive Royal Assent before taking effect. An implementation date has not been set.
  • Visas/permits affected: The legislation is primarily aimed at the proposed new longer-validity visitor visas. The bill gives the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection a discretionary power to require routine revalidation checks on prescribed visa classes, as well as a personal power to designate classes of persons in certain visa categories to undergo revalidation checks if it is in the public interest.
  • Who is affected: Holders of long-term visitor visas, such as the proposed new 10-year multiple-entry visitor visa that will  initially be available to eligible Chinese nationals.
  • Business impact: Visa holderswho are requested to complete a revalidation check will need to update information in their secure online account, which will include their contact information and employment details as well as health and character declarations.

Background: The bill sets out a framework for reassessment and revalidation of foreign nationals holding certain types of visas, following implementation of the new 10-year validity visitor visas. In exchange for granting longer validity, Australia will require visa holders to pass a revalidation check by logging onto their secure online accounts and answering questions. The overall purpose is to ensure that visitors’ personal information, health and character declarations are up to date and that they continue to meet visa requirements.

Routine revalidation checks will be required for certain visa types and, in rare instances, the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection may require revalidation checks for certain individuals to protect the public interest, such as health or security concerns. Under the bill, a visa holder will be deemed to have passed the revalidation check if there is no adverse information related to the individual, or if there is, that it is reasonable to disregard such information.

If a visa holder fails to complete or pass the revalidation check, the visa will cease to be valid for entry into Australia. (Visa holders already onshore who fail the check will not be considered unlawful while they remain onshore.) The visa holder may subsequently pass the revalidation check, which would put  the visa back into effect, allowing the holder to travel to Australia again.

BAL Analysis: The bill has not become law yet, but indicates that Australia is balancing the favourable economic benefits that longer-validity visas will attract more visitors against the need to track individuals holding these longer-validity, multiple-entry visas in case of changes to their individual circumstances.

This alert has been provided by BAL Australia. For additional information, please contact australia@balglobal.com

MARN: 0850984

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