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Migration Legislation Amendment (2016 Measures No. 4) Regulation 2016 will take affect on 19 November 2016. This article aims to provide details on a few of the key changes to Australian Immigration Law. 


Changes to the Member of the Family Unit (MOFU) definition will take place on 19 November 2016. The new definition will affect all applications lodged on or after 19 November 2016. Applicants lodged prior to this date will be assessed against the existing requirements.

The two key differences are: 

  • Only partners and children can meet the definition of Member of a Family Unit. Other relatives are no longer permitted. 
  • Children are limited to individuals aged: under 18, or between 18 - 23 only if they are dependent, or 23 or older only if they are physically or mentally incapacitated for work. 


The subclass 457 provisions which allow for children between the ages of 18 and 21 who were dependant/s on a previous 457 but who are no longer financially dependent, to be granted a visa until the day before their 21st birthday (regulations 1.12(10) and 457.511(d)), will also change on 19 November 2016.

As a result of these changes, applicants who do not satisfy the general MOFU requirement explained above may still be regarded as a MOFU if at the time the subclass 457 application was made, they were the holder of a secondary subclass 457 visa.

Note: Family members granted a visa on this basis (i.e. being an existing secondary visa holder) will only have their visas granted to the day before the applicant’s 23rd birthday or the date granted to the 457 primary visa holder, whichever occurs first. This restricted grant period will not apply to those who satisfy the general definition of MOFU.


Changes to when associated bridging visas (BVs) cease Changes to the regulations come into effect on 19 November 2016.

These changes will impact when BVs will cease, particularly BVs granted in association with the lodgement of a substantive visa application. The amendments affect visa subclasses 010, 020, 030, 050 and 051.

As per the current legislative framework, associated BVs will cease once a certain period of time has passed after notification of a ‘trigger event’, however from 19 November 2016:

  • BV cessation is being ‘de-linked’ from notification, so that the date the BV ceases depends on the date of decision, rather than when or whether a client was notified of a particular decision; and  
  • in the majority of cases, the relevant period of time is changing to 35 calendar days, from the current 28 days.
  • These changes are being implemented to give the Department and the visa holder greater certainty in terms of when BVs cease.
  • These changes will affect clients who are granted BVs on or after 19 November 2016.

Among other things, they will change the period after which a client’s BV ceases if a decision is made by the:

Department of Immigration and Border Protection:

  • to refuse a substantive visa application (where the BV is associated to that application); or
  • that a substantive visa application is invalid.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal:

  • on an application for merits review (other than a decision to remit the application). Note: these changes do not have any impact on BV ceasing provisions where the client is at the judicial review stage – as these are remaining at 28 days in line with current arrangements. 



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