Changes to Member of Family Unit

Changes to Member of Family Unit

At the end of last year, a new legislation altering the definition of ‘member of family unit‘ came into effect.

Effective 19 November 2016, a person will be a MoFU of another person (the family head) if the person:
  1. is a spouse or de facto partner of the family head, OR
  2. is a child or step child of the family head or of a spouse or de facto partner of the family head (other than a child or step child who is engaged to be married or has a spouse or de facto partner) and:
    • has not turned 18, OR
    • has turned 18, but has not turned 23, and is dependent on the family head or on the spouse or de facto partner of the family head, OR
    • has turned 23 and is under paragraph 1.05A(1)(b) dependent on the family head or on the spouse or de facto partner of the family head
  3. is a dependent child of a person who meets the conditions in paragraph 2.

In the above, 1.05A(1)(b) is defined as a person who is “wholly or substantially reliant on the other person for financial support because the first person is incapacitated for work due to the total or partial loss of the first person’s bodily or mental functions”

Prior to the change, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) considered dependent parents to be eligible members of the family unit – given of course that dependency could be established. Children who were past 23 and still financially dependent (students) on their parents were also eligible to be included in the applications. The new definition is much more restrictive and as you might expect, the new change definitely caused some pain.