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New Bill forcing migrants to wait four years to access welfare

Legislation is currently under review that would see changes to the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period (NARWP) for some visa holders. This legislation would force migrants to wait longer to access income support payments from one year to four years.


The Morrison government wants to introduce a uniform four-year waiting period for migrants to access welfare, in a policy expected to save the federal budget some $670 million over the forward estimates. According to the government this change will encourage prospective permanent residents to seek work.


Under the new regime, which would start from January next year, pending the passage of legislation through parliament, new permanent residents would need to wait four years rather than one year before accessing carer allowances, parental leave and payments and family tax benefits. The changes will affect:


• Carer Payment

• Carer Allowance

• Family Tax Benefit Part A

• Family Tax Benefit Part B

• Parental Leave Pay

• Dad and Partner Pay.


The changes would only affect future permanent residents if granted a relevant permanent visa or temporary visa after 1 January 2022.


Migrants who come to Australia on humanitarian visas will not be affected. All existing exemptions will remain in place for vulnerable migrants, including those who have experienced substantial changes in their circumstances, or who are in financial hardship.

These changes may cause substantial difficulties in some instances, and it has been suggested these would be particularly for migrant women and children given the types of payments that would be subject to longer wait times.


“Anyone who expects to be disadvantaged by these proposed changes should immediately contact a migration lawyer for advice,” said Dessie Hristova principal of Assent Migration. “Likewise, if there are any questions it is best to seek advice from a professional.”

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