Introducing a temporary visa for parents

Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on Friday announced the process of public consultations for the new five-year temporary parent visa. Here are the highlights of this proposed visa.

Who can apply? - Parents of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens will be able to apply. A concurrent migration application is not necessary.  

Sponsorship - The parents must be sponsored and the sponsor must have been living in and contributing to Australia for a number of years. A longer period of contribution in Australia would provide a higher priority in eligibility. The sponsor will be required to show they can support their parents, if necessary. This will include income and asset assessments. The sponsorship assessment will be a separate process, and will be completed before a visa application can be submitted. Sponsors will need to undergo a criminal history check, and agree to a range of enforceable obligations.

How long can the parents stay in Australia? - The new visa proposes to allow the parents to stay for up to five years. Which means the granted stay period may be one, three or five years. It will be determined on the basis of a number of factors including the needs of the applicant or their sponsoring child—these may change over time, for example as grandchildren get older, the capacity of the applicant and/or their sponsoring child to support their stay in Australia The health and age of the visa applicant, their previous immigration history. Unlike in the current visa, parents will not have to spend at least six months outside Australia in any 18 month period, though at the end of their time in Australia parents would generally need to apply for a new visa while they are overseas.

Health Insurance - In order to maintain an adequate health care cover, applicant parents will be required to have a private health insurance with an Australian insurance provider.

Bond - The visa will require a Bond to be paid the amount of which will be determined on a case to case basis. sponsors will be required to provide either a financial bond as a debt security, or an equivalent legally binding commitment.

Visa application charge - The government hasn’t yet revealed it. But indications are that it could be quite a substantial amount. “The VAC will need to be set in consideration of the potential budget impact of temporary parent visa holders who will not be in the workforce. This would include their impact on all services and infrastructure that are in day-to-day use,” reads the department’s discussion paper.