inTouch, along with many of our colleagues in the services sector, are concerned about the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018. The Commonwealth Government has stated that these amendments seek to strengthen the integrity of the migration program as well as deter family violence. However, there are possible negative effects that need to be considered.
As a specialist service that works with migrant and refugee communities experiencing family violence, we have concerns about the way in which these new laws may affect women and in particular, women who have experienced family violence. We believe these changes may further disadvantage women by no longer giving them the option of being sponsored, of accessing the family violence provisions, and may discourage women from disclosing family violence perpetrated by their partner. Furthermore, the separation of the sponsor’s application from the partner visa – without any mitigating actions being implemented – will extend the processing times and place women in uncertain and vulnerable positions for extended periods of time.