Can a visa be cancelled for involvement in ‘paying for visa sponsorship’ conduct?

Yes. A new discretionary power will be introduced to allow cancellation of a temporary or permanent visa to be considered where the visa holder has engaged in 'paying for visa sponsorship' conduct.

Visa cancellation can be discretionary, mandatory or by operation of law.  Discretionary cancellation allows the decision maker to examine not only whether grounds for cancellation exist, but also whether there are reasons not to cancel, that is, mitigating factors. If you are found to be engaging in 'paying for visa sponsorship' conduct, you will be invited to put forward reasons why your visa should not be cancelled.

In considering whether to exercise the discretion to cancel, the Minister or delegate would consider a range of factors such as the person's complicity in the 'paying for visa sponsorship' conduct, the strength of their ties to Australia and their contribution to the Australian community.  Where a decision to cancel a visa is made, consequential cancellation of the same visas held by family members would automatically apply. 

Additionally, the Department will include requirements under policy that it is not appropriate to pursue visa cancellation where payments have been extracted under force of threats or other forms of exploitation such as human trafficking or slavery that related to 'paying for visa sponsorship' conduct and as such:

  • will only pursue cases where the visa applicant or holder, or other third party, has initiated or is complicit in the 'paying for visa sponsorship' arrangement; and
  • will not pursue a civil penalty against a visa applicant or holder where payments have been extracted under force or threats or other forms of exploitation, such as those who have been coerced into making payments or have been subject to human trafficking or slavery; and
  • will consider the circumstances in which the 'paying for visa sponsorship' arrangement occurred and the intent of the person in coming forward (eg where a visa holder has acted as a whistle-blower to provide information about 'paying for visa sponsorship' conduct).