Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does the Community Support Program (CSP) work?
The Department of Home Affairs (formerly the Department of Immigration & Border Protection) has appointed Approved Proposing Organisations (APOs) which are responsible for lodging humanitarian visa applications on behalf of Australian Supporters.
APOs select which Australian Supporters and Visa Applicants they wish to propose for humanitarian visas through their own application process. AMES Australia's selection process is through an Expression of Interest (EOI) to be lodged by the intended Australian Supporter.
The APOs ensure costs relating to the visa are paid by the organisations or individuals putting applicants forward. They are also responsible (in partnership with Humanitarian Settlement Program providers) for overseeing the delivery of settlement support for the successful Visa Applicants by their Australian Supporters for up to 12 months after arriving in Australia, and for monitoring and reporting on the settlement of entrants to the Department of Home Affairs.
More information on the CSP can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ website here.
What are Approved Proposing Organisations (APOs)?
Approved Proposing Organisations (APOs) are individuals, community groups, or businesses that have applied and been authorised under a Deed with the Department of Home Affairs to propose applicants who are in humanitarian situations overseas. A focus of APOs will be to link employers with prospective humanitarian applicants. APOs are also responsible for lodging visa applications and ensuring the provision and management of settlement services to these people following arrival in Australia.
To be authorised as an APO, you must be able to demonstrate that you have the capacity to:
- engage with the business community to source suitable employment opportunities from reputable employers for prospective humanitarian applicants
- ensure that CSP entrants receive essential settlement services.
The APO will also be responsible for assisting entrants to become financially independent within the first 12 months of arrival.
Community members (including individuals and families), businesses and community organisations can work with APOs and enter into arrangements to propose, and support CSP entrants. Such arrangements would be a matter for the individuals and the APOs involved.
Who are Australian Supporters?
Australian supporters are community members (including individuals and families), businesses and community organisations which work with APOs and enter into arrangements to propose, and support CSP entrants. Such arrangements would be a matter for the APOs and Australian supporters to determine.
Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for AMES Australia to propose Visa Applicants for CSP must be lodged by Australian Supporters.
Who are CSP visa applicants?
CSP visa applicants must align with the regional, global and settlement priorities of the Australian Government, and be able to satisfy all Class XB subclass 202 visa criteria. For more information on this subclass see here.
Only APOs may propose applicants under the CSP.
Potential CSP applicants are not required to have existing links to Australia, and can be identified by an individual (such as a family member in Australia), a community organisation or a business with an interest in supporting refugees (known as ‘Australian supporter’).
The APO will screen potential applicants and Australian supporters against the requirements of the CSP and ensure suitable support is available for the applicant before proposing the applicant(s) by lodging a Class XB subclass 202 visa application.
APOs can only propose applicants who are from The Department of Home Affairs CSP priority groups:
- Primary Visa Applicants aged between 18 and 50
- applicants which follow the Offshore Humanitarian Caseload Program priorities
- have an offer of employment (or a pathway that leads to employment)
- have personal attributes that would enable them to become financially self-sufficient within 12 months of arrival
- are willing to live and work in regional Australia.
What are the costs of the CSP with AMES Australia?
AMES Australia collects these costs at five different stages throughout the process.
The costs consist of:
- Administration fees and APO bond – payable to AMES Australia;
- Visa Application Charges – payable to the Department of Home Affairs;
- Humanitarian Settlement Program fees – payable to AMES Australia;
- Assurance of Support (AOS)' - an agreement between an Assurer and the Department of Human Services, that they will cover the cost of any recoverable benefits paid by Centrelink to the visa applicants. An Assurer can only assure a maximum of 2 adults, and is subject to an income test;
- Medical checks – payable to the health service provider in the applicant’s country of residence;
- Airfares – payable to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) or airline of choice;
- Miscellaneous costs dependent on country of residence (e.g. cost to courier Immicards, or cost of pre-departure accommodation if required);
- Costs associated with accommodation and settlement in Australia, until such time these can be covered by the visa applicants.
The cost of each stage of the CSP with AMES Australia are outlined in our Process Description below, under 'What is the AMES Australia Process for the CSP?'
AMES Australia will assess the financial capacity of Australian Supporters when selecting applicants to propose. Australian Supporters and Assurers should also consider other settlement costs for visa applicants such as accommodation (to be arranged by the Supporter) and general living expenses until such time as the visa applicants are financially self-sufficient.
As an Assurance of Support is reqiuired, Visa Applicants are not expected to access income support from Centrelink as this will result in a debt to the Assurer.
What other support is available to CSP arrivals?
Successful applicants under the CSP are entitled to government-funded Medicare, and Adult Migrant English Program classes.
How do I lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) to AMES Australia for the CSP?Expressions of interest for Supporters in Victoria are open for a three week period until 5:00 pm AEST on Friday 13 April 2018.
If you are interested in applying for the CSP and in another state, please register your information here.
The payment must be paid online when lodging the EOI form.
AMES Australia reserves the right to open further EOI periods, extend or close EOI periods at our discretion
How will I find out the result of my EOI to AMES Australia?
Supporters who have lodged EOIs will be contacted by email within 8 weeks after the EOI period has closed to advise whether:
- Their EOI has progressed and they have been invited to a Stage B case meeting; or
- Their EOI has been unsuccessful
Please note that progression to a Stage B case meeting does not guarantee that AMES Australia will lodge a CSP application.
AMES Australia will not discuss, or provide feedback regarding unsuccessful EOIs.
What is the AMES Australia process for the CSP?
The below process flow chart shows AMES Australia’s process for the CSP.
How does AMES Australia select applicants for the CSP?
AMES Australia selects applicants for the CSP according to the following criteria:
- The strength of the humanitarian claim of the Primary Visa Applicant
- The financial and settlement capacity of the Australian Supporter
AMES Australia will then prioritise CSP applications according to:
- Primary visa applicants who can provide evidence of a position of full time employment to commence on arrival
- Primary visa applicants who can provide evidence of an offer of employment
- Primary visa applicants who can show they have skills or experience which could lead to employment
What happens after a visa application is lodged?
The Department of Home Affairs will advise the person or people being proposed and the APO that the application has been received and it may request more information if it is required.
More information will be provided at key stages in the processing to clarify details and advise when a decision is made. Applicants may supply more information relating to their application in writing at any time during the process.
How long does it take to process an application under the CSP?
Processing times for visas will vary depending on a range of factors determined by the Department of Home Affairs and their respective overseas offices which process the visa applications.
Applicants will be required to meet the normal criteria for a humanitarian visa, including health, character and security requirements.
Who approves or rejects visa applications?
Visa applications are considered and decided upon by the Department of Home Affairs.
What if a visa application is unsuccessful?
Fees and associated costs paid to AMES Australia and the Department of Home Affairs up to the time of the refusal of the visa application will not be refunded.
What happens if a group or person putting forward an applicant is not able to support them?
The group or individual will forfeit all or part of the AMES APO bond ($5000), which will be used by the AMES Australia to help provide the settlement support needed by the applicant(s). If a visa applicant receives income support (working age payments) from Centrelink this will incur a debt to their Assurer.
What if the Primary Visa Applicant doesn't have employment arranged after they arrive?
AMES Australia will try to arrange employment for successful visa applicants where required. We may use all or part of the AMES APO bond ($5000) to engage our Employment service if necessary.