AUSTRALIA: Member of the Family Unit Definition Changes

November 23, 2016

The definition of Member of the Family Unit (MOFU) has been simplified and is now limited to only partners and dependent children of the main applicant. Other relatives can no longer be included.
These new arrangements impact all applications lodged on or after 19th November 2016. Applications that were lodged prior to this date will still be assessed against the previous definition.
To meet the new definition an individual must be one of the following:

  1. Spouse or de facto partner of the main applicant; or
  2. A child or step child of either the main applicant or the main applicant”s spouse or de facto partner who:
  1. has not turned 18; or
  2. has turned 18, but has not turned 23, and is dependent on the main applicant or on the spouse or de facto partner of the main applicant; or
  3. is 23 or older and unable to earn a living to support themselves due to physical or cognitive limitations (Note: The child will still need to meet Australia”s health requirement); or
  4. is a dependent child of a child who is eligible under i, ii or iii above.

For a child aged between 18 and 22 (inclusive) to be considered dependent the child must not be engaged to be married or have a spouse or de facto partner and must also provide evidence that they are wholly or substantially reliant on the primary applicant or the primary applicant”s partner for their basic needs (food, clothing and shelter).
The previous definition will continue to apply in the following instances:

  • for refugee, humanitarian and protection visa applications
  • where the individual is an existing secondary visa holder and is making a combined application as a member of the family for certain further temporary or permanent visas such as a subclass 457 visa or a permanent residence subclass 186 visa.

Please note that adult children granted a 457 visa on the basis of being an existing secondary visa holder will only have their visas granted to the day before their 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 Member of the Family Unit.
View Immigration”s publication on including family members in a visa application (Form 1496i) here.

If you would like to discuss the changes to the Member of the Family Unit definition and how they may affect your current and prospective employees and their families, please contact us at [email protected].