The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), has recently announced its plans to increase the measures already in place regarding the children in family class dependant applications.
Set out by the department’s Family and Health Policy Branch as an addition to the Migration Regulations 1994 that address Partner and Child category visas, a further police check will now be enforced to give extra protection to the children involved in the prospective marriage, partner or spouse visa application.
The national police check is expected to primarily target those potential Australian sponsors that have had some criminal convictions in the past, most notably those with convictions for offences that were of a violent, child abuse or sexual nature. This comes in addition to the requirement that all child and partner visa application sponsors in Australia are required to disclose any convictions or outstanding charges related to crimes of a sexual, child abuse or violent nature. This particular rule was introduced in July 2007.
The Australian Government is focusing on its policies that strengthen the processes around the sponsorship of minors. Clearly, the purpose of this additional police check is to be able to refuse the dependant visa application if there is any compelling reason that the granting of the visa would not be in the benefits of the child.
The police check itself is a national process that extends to any sponsor applying for a dependant Child Class AH and BT, Partner Class UF, BC, UK and BS or the Prospective Marriage Class TO visas.
The new requirement came into affect on Wednesday 16th September 2009 and there are no exemptions from the above categories. Australian citizens and lawful permanent residents sponsoring dependent children under the age of 18 are now required to submit a police clearance certificate from Australia in addition to meeting the basic eligibility requirements for sponsorship.
Application for police clearance certificates must be submitted to the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Canberra. Current processing time for the AFP clearances is 15 working days.