The parent migration program enables settled Australian citizens, permanent residents and eligible NZ citizens to sponsor their parents to migrate to Australia. There are two main categories and apart from the contributory parent (temporary) visa, all parent visas are permanent visas.
Importantly, applications lodged in Australia for both the non-contributory and contributory parent visas requires the main applicant to be 65 years of age or older.
Firstly, is the lower cost “non-contributory” parent visa subclasses which have very long processing queues and the “contributory” parent visa categories, which require the payment of a high application fee to cover medical expenses.
The Contributory Parent visa category has the option of either a one or two-visa pathway to permanent residence. By choosing the two-step visa pathway it enables applicants to split the contributory fee into 2 instalments. This contributory fee is payable before your visa will be granted.
All Parent Visas have specific eligibility requirements including:
Any person seeking a Parent Visa will be required by their Australian child who must be “settled” in Australia; generally, the sponsor would have been lawfully resident in Australia for at least two years.
The applicant must pass the “balance of family test”. That is, the number of children who are lawfully and permanently resident in Australia must be:
• Greater than, or equal to, the total number of children who are resident overseas; or
• Greater than the greatest number of children who are resident in any single overseas country.
Any person seeking a parent visa will be required to have an assurance of support; this does not need to be the sponsor of the parent.
In addition all applicants must meet health and character requirements
Visitor Visas for Parents
For many people, a permanent parent visa may be out of reach financially as well as practicality when it comes to the lengthy processing times of non-contributory parent visas.
A visitor visa may be a fast and inexpensive alternative to bring parents to spend time with family in Australia. Longer validity visitor visas are available for parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens.
Parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens currently have the option of using the Visitor (Subclass 600) visa stream to spend time with their children, which enable longer stays in Australia of up to 12 months in any 18 month period.
The New Temporary Parent Visa
In 2018, the Australian Government will implement a new temporary sponsored parent visitor visa, with 15,000 visas to be made available annually. Valid for period of up to three or five years, this visa gives an extended stay for parents of Australian permanent residents and citizens as an alternative to the current permanent parent options.
The visa may be renewed from outside Australia to allow a total stay of up to ten years. The application fee for the 3-year option will be $5,000 whilst the 5-year option will cost $10,000.
Temporary sponsored parent visa holders will not be eligible to apply for a permanent parent visa whilst in Australia. The visa holder’s sponsor, their Australian child, will also have legal liability for any public health expenditure (including aged care arrangements) incurred by the visa holder in Australia.
Importantly, this visa will come with no work rights and will require the applicant to hold private health insurance.
Existing contributory and non-contributory parent visas will remain unchanged and open to new applications.