AUSTRALIA: Amendments to Migration Bill 2015

The Bill has received its second reading in the Australian Parliament. The intention of the Bill is to “introduce a new criminal and civil penalty regime that will make it unlawful for a person to ask for, receive, offer or provide payment or other benefits in return for a range of sponsorship-related events”. Furthermore the Bill allows visa cancellation to be considered where the visa holder has engaged in such conduct, referred to as “Payment for Visas” conduct”.

The implication of the Bill is that a criminal offence will be introduced for a sponsor or third party to ask for or receive a benefit from a sponsorship related event and will carry the following legal sanctions:

  • Maximum of 2 years imprisonment;

  • A fine equal to $64,000 for an individual person; or

  • $324,000 for a body corporate.

The Civil penalty regime applicable to the sponsor, visa applicant or any third party who has received or provided or offers a benefit related to a sponsorship related offence will amount to:

  • $43,200 for an individual; or

  • $216,000 for a body corporate.

There is reservation of a discretionary power to cancel visas where any person engages in contravening conduct.

If you have any questions concerning the Bill or the impact this may have from an Australian perspective please contact us.

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