Australian Parent visa

Joining Your Children In Australia

“Tailored Solutions Exclusively For Parents”

The Australian Government has announced major changes to how Parents can join their children in Australia . We assess your eligibility & options based on the new rules.

At Sterling Migration we know, as parents, we miss our children and grandchildren when they leave us and we all want to be close to help them and remain a part of their life.  With a variety of parent visas available for Australia, it is possible for parents to emigrate who meet the qualifying criteria as laid out in Australian law. 

We advocate for parents who wish to emigrate daily and have assisted thousands of families to be reunited so far. Our endeavours are focused on building successful cases and for our clients to mitigate any potential risks posed by the immigration system to our clients short and long-term plans.

Timeframes & Alternatives

Currently, Contributory Parent visas take up to 4 years to be processed, while non-contributory parent visas are taking 30-years plus. The Australian Govt. are not motivated in granting these visas any faster in the current political climate.

That said, there is another option which significantly reduces the waiting time. However, there is an additional cost to consider. View our Australian Retirement Visa page to discover more. 

Take advantage of our free assessment today

Whatever route you would like to explore further, complete our enquiry form and one of our senior Australian migration managers will be happy to provide personal advice on your options and send you our brochure on how Parents can emigrate Australia via email.

Children in Australia solutions

Meeting the balance of family test for Permanent Residency

All applicants must meet the balance of family test before a Parent visa will be granted. This test means that an applicant must have:

  • at least half of their children lawfully and permanently resident in Australia (this includes eligible New Zealand citizens who are usually resident in Australia); or
  • more children permanently resident in Australia (this includes eligible New Zealand citizens who are usually resident in Australia) than in any other single country.

To determine whether an applicant meets the balance of family test the Department of Immigration (“the Department”) policy indicates that the Department will count all-natural, adopted and step-children of:

  • the applicant
  • the applicant’s current partner (including de-facto partner)

Also, the Department will not count:

  • children who have been removed from their parent’s legal custody;
  • children resident in a refugee camp operated by the UNHCR;
  • children who suffer persecution or human rights abuses and cannot be reunited with their parents in another country.

Children whose whereabouts are unknown are presumed to be in the child’s last known usual country of residence.  Children who are not Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen will be taken to be resident overseas, either in the child’s current or last overseas resident country, or the child’s country of nationality if the child no longer has a right of return to that overseas country of usual residence.

 

Temporary Parent Visas

You must have one child who has held Permanent Residency in Austalia for longer than 4-years.

The following children can sponsor their parents

Any person seeking a Parent Visa will be required to have a sponsor. The sponsor will usually be either:

  • the applicant’s child (including natural, adopted or step-children) – unless the child is under 18 (see below), or
  • the spouse of an applicant’s child who is living with the applicant’s child.

Generally, the sponsor must:

  • be an Australian Citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen,
  • be over 18 years of age; and
  • be settled in Australia – generally, this means that the sponsor will need to have been lawfully resident in Australia for a period of 2 years (including temporary residence period) unless there are compelling and compassionate reasons to waive this requirement.

If an applicant’s child is under 18 years, another person who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident, or eligible New Zealand citizen and is connected to that child, maybe the sponsor. In such cases, the following individuals will be considered appropriate sponsors:

  • a child’s spouse;
  • a relative (ie a spouse, de-facto spouse, child, adopted child, step-child, parent, step-parent, sibling, step-sibling, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, or a step-grandparent, stepgrandchild, step-aunt, step-uncle, step-niece or step-nephew) or guardian of a child;
  • a relative or guardian of a child’s spouse; or
  • a community organisation.

Parent Visas Assurance of support (‘AOS’)

All Parent visa applicants must obtain an AOS before the visa can be granted.

An AOS is a legal commitment by a person (‘assurer”) to provide financial support to the applicant and repay to the government any welfare payments made to the applicant within either:

  • the first 2 years after the applicant enters Australia if they have applied for one of the Parent Category visas; or
  • the first 10 years after the applicant enters Australia if they have applied for one of the Contributory Parent Category visas (temporary or permanent residence).

An eligible assurer must:

  • be an adult (i.e. over 18 years of age) or an organisation with prescribed ties to Australia;
  • be usually resident in Australia (prescribed rules apply to organisations);
  • meet prescribed income requirements;
  • and be able to provide a notice of assessment issued by the Australian Taxation Commissioner for the most recent fiscal year.

The assurer must also lodge a security bond with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

For a Contributory Parent visa, the bond payable by a person is $15,000 for the primary applicant and $6,000 for each secondary applicant.

If any claimable payments are made to the visa holders during the two or ten year period (as applicable) it may be deducted from the bond or claimed back from the AOS.

 

How many Sponsors for the Assurance of Support can I have?

The maximum number is 2 and your sponsor does not have to be the person providing the Assurance of Support.

 

Becoming an Investor is often an easier option:

Under the residency by investment route, a person could make an investment for four-years. At which time they could de-invest and in return could secure permanent residency on arrival.  CLICK TO READ MORE

Australian Immigration Parent Visa Sub-classes

Within the Parent category there are two visa subclasses:

  • Parent (Migrant) – Subclass 103, and
  • Aged Parent (Residence) - Subclass 804.

(for Contributory Parent category see below)

 

Parent (Migrant) Subclass 103

Subclass 103 may be lodged while the applicant is still in Australia (if the applicant does not have a condition 8503 on their last visa and is not otherwise prohibited from applying), however, the applicant will not be entitled to a Bridging visa while the application is processed, and must be outside Australia at the time the visa is granted.

 

Aged Parent (Residence) Subclass 804

Subclass 804 visas are for applicants in Australia. In order to qualify you must be:

65 years of age if you are a male applicant, and of an age eligible to receive the age pension in Australia if you are a female applicant. This will depend on your date of birth (see table below) and ranges between 60 and 65 years of age.

Date of birth of womenQualifying age for women
1 Jan 1946 – 30 Jun 194764
1 Jul 1947 – 31 Dec 194864.5
1 Jan 1949 onwards65

What is a Contributory Parent visa? 

A Contributory Parent visa is a visa which requires a large financial contribution on behalf of the applicant (this includes large application fees as well as the provision of assurance of support requiring payment of a large bond)?

 

What are the types of the Contributory Parent visa?

 Where are four different types of Contributory Parent visas:

  • Contributory Parent (Migrant) Subclass 143 (permanent visa)
  • Contributory Parent (Temporary) Subclass 173 (temporary visa)
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Residence) Subclass 864 (permanent visa)
  • Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Subclass 884 (temporary visa)

The difference between these subclasses is essential that some are temporary and some are permanent, some are for ‘aged’ parents, and some are for parents who are not aged. The benefit of the temporary visas is that payment of the large visa application charges, AOS and bond can be staggered between the time of application for the temporary visa, to the time just prior to the grant of the permanent visa.

 

WARNING: A person who holds or held a temporary Contributory Parent / Contributory Aged Parent visa since last entering Australia is restricted by law from applying for any other visa other than the corresponding permanent Contributory Parent visa, a Medical Treatment visa or a Protection visa while they remain in Australia.

 

Contributory Parent (Migrant) Subclass 143

Subclass 143 visa applications may be lodged while the applicant is still in Australia (if the applicant does not have a condition 8503 on their last visa and is not otherwise prohibited from applying), however, unless the applicant is the holder of a subclass 173 visa they will not be entitled to a Bridging visa while the application is processed, and must be outside Australia at the time the visa is granted.

This visa will be granted if you choose to pay the entire second instalment in one payment. Once granted the visa, the visa holder becomes a permanent resident.

 

Contributory Parent (Temporary) Subclass 173  

Subclass 173 visa applications may be lodged while the applicant is still in Australia (if the applicant does not have a condition 8503 on their last visa and is not otherwise prohibited from applying), however, the applicant will not be entitled to a Bridging visa while the application is processed, and must be outside Australia at the time the visa is granted.

This is a temporary two-year visa. It will be granted to you if you choose to pay 60% of the second instalment as a first payment, followed by the remaining 40% after two years (at which time you will be granted a Subclass 143 visa which gives you permanent residence).

 

Contributory Aged Parent (Residence) Subclass 864

Subclass 864 visas are for applicants in Australia

  • 65 years of age, in the case of male applicants, and
  • of an age who is eligible to receive the age pension in Australia, in the case of female applicants – this will depend on the date of birth of the woman and ranges between 60 and 65 years of age (see table above).

This visa will be granted if you choose to pay the entire second instalment in one payment. Once granted the visa, the visa holder becomes a permanent resident.

 

Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary) Subclass 884  

Subclass 884 visas are for applicants in Australia. In order to qualify you must be:

  • 65 years of age, in the case of male applicants, and
  • of an age who is eligible to receive the age pension in Australia, in the case of female applicants – this will depend on the date of birth of the woman and ranges between 60 and 65 years of age (see table above).

This is a temporary two-year visa. It will be granted to you if you choose to pay 60% of the second instalment as a first payment, followed by the remaining 40% after two years (at which time you will be granted a Subclass 864 visa which gives you permanent residence).

 

WARNING: A person granted a Contributory Parent visa cannot sponsor their partner or fiancé who was their partner before the grant of their Contributory Parent visa for 5 years from the time of the grant of their Contributory Parent visa.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

The VAC now includes an extra charge for each applicant and/or dependent included in your application. The cost is different depending on the number of dependents included in the application, and whether your dependants are over or under 18 years of age at the time of lodgement.

 

What evidence do I need?

You will need to include the following types of evidence in support of your application:

  • child/parent relationship – for example, birth certificates of the child and parents, marriage certificate of the parents
  • evidence of the sponsor’s permanent residence, Australian citizenship or status as an eligible New Zealand citizen
  • a certified copy of each applicant’s passport or travel document
  • 4 passport photographs of each applicant
  • certified copies of all birth certificates of all the applicant’s children
  • certified copies of the birth certificates of all applicants
  • the marriage certificate of anyone included in the application who is married
  • the divorce certificate or death certificate of anyone included in the application who is divorced or widowed
  • if anyone included in the application has changed their name, a certified copy of the evidence of a name change
  • evidence of where all your children reside (e.g. a passport, residence or citizenship certificate)
  • certified copies of the adoption papers for any child included in the application who is adopted
  • if you have served in the armed forces, certified copies of military service record or discharge papers, and
  • certified copies of documents to verify custody and access arrangements for children under 18 years old unless both parents of the child are included in the application.

Certified copies, statutory declarations and translations

Any photocopies of documents to be included with the application must be certified by Haskew Law. People who make a statutory declaration for you must attach a certified copy of the front page of their passport, permanent resident’s visa, Australian citizenship certificate or birth certificate if the person making the statutory declaration was born in Australia. The statutory declaration must be signed in front of a solicitor, Justice of the Peace or bank manager.

Any documents which are not in English should be translated by an accredited translator. Both the translation and a certified copy of the un-translated original should be submitted with the application.

 

Substituted 676 visa holders

A ‘Substituted 676 visa’ is a Tourist subclass 676 visa that has been granted by the Minister as a result of a request for Ministerial intervention. Substituted 676 visa holders may apply for any visa, but are assessed against special eligibility criteria for the following visas only:

  • Contributory Parent subclass 143;
  • Aged Parent subclass 804;
  • Contributory Aged Parent subclass 884; and
  • Contributory Aged Parent subclass 864.

Substituted 676 visa holders who apply for any of these visas must satisfy the same eligibility criteria as any other applicant, with the following exceptions:

  • they have access to reduced visa application charges;
  • they do not have to be ‘aged’ to qualify for an ‘aged’ Parent visa;
  • they do not have to satisfy the ‘balance of family’ test;
  • instead of PIC 4005 (non-waivable health) they have to satisfy PIC 4007 (waivable health), as do members of their family unit; and
  • they do not have to meet PIC 4004 (debts to the Commonwealth), meaning that they can be granted the visa even if payment or reasonable arrangements to pay any debts to the Commonwealth have not been made.

Substituted 676 visa holders must, however, meet all other criteria, including having an appropriate sponsor over the age of 18 and providing an AOS.

 

Distinguishing a Substituted 676 visa from a Tourist subclass 676 visa

 The visa label for a substituted 676 visa is indistinguishable from an ordinary Tourist subclass 676, although a Substituted 676 will never have a no further stay condition 8503 on it. Accordingly, if a subclass 676 visa has a condition 8503 on it, it is not a Substituted 676. However, an ordinary Tourist subclass 676 visas may also be issued without an 8503 condition. Therefore it is important for Haskew Law to view any correspondence between the visa holder and the Department, and to identify the visa holder’s immigration history, in order to ascertain whether the visa is a Substituted 676 and therefore whether the visa holder can access the special eligibility criteria for the visas listed above.

As is often the case with Australian immigration, the devil is in the detail – This visa class has several drawbacks and may not be right for some parents.

Nevertheless, for many, the opportunity to spend an extended period in Australia with children and grandchildren will be very welcome, particularly if a permanent residency visa outcome is available within the period of stay in Australia permitted by the new visa.

 

Overview

Once your child's sponsorship has been approved, you will be able to apply for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa, subclass 870.

The visa will provide parents with a pathway to reunite with their children and grandchildren in Australia for up to 10 years.

The visa is intended to address concerns about the limited number of places available to parents in the migration program and the associated lengthy waiting periods.

 

More Details

  • A parent must be the biological, adoptive, or step-parent of the sponsor.
  • The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, an Australian permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen.
  • Sponsorship applications can be lodged from the 17th of April 2019.
  • Visa applications must be lodged within six months of sponsorship approval and cannot be lodged until a sponsor has been approved.
  • Up to 15,000 Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visas may be granted each program year, which runs from 1 July to 30 June.   If the cap is reached in a program year, no further visas will be issued until the next program year commences on 1 July.

Charges payable to the Department of Home Affairs will be:

  • A$420 when the sponsorship application is submitted
  • A$5,000 for a 3-year visa, or A$10,000 for a 5-year visa.   This is a per person charge and will be payable as to one half when the visa application is lodged/one half immediately before the visa is granted.

Conditions of the visa

  • A parent will be able to stay in Australia on a subclass 870 visa for a maximum of 10 years.
  • A “no work” condition will generally attach to subclass 870 visas.
  • Standard Visitor visa arrangements remain unchanged.  However, the Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa replaces the Visitor visa concession that allows parents of Australian citizens/permanent residents to stay in Australia for longer periods – typically for 12 months in every 18 months.

Requirements of the Sponsoring Child

In addition to meeting the sponsor/parent relationship requirement the sponsor must:

  • Be an Australian citizen/permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen who has been usually resident in Australia for four years.
  • Have no debts to the Commonwealth (e.g. tax debts) or public health debts unless appropriate arrangements have been made for payment.
  • Sponsors can only sponsor two parents at any one time and have a minimum household taxable income threshold of $83,454.80 (based on the income of the sponsor, or the combined income of the sponsor and their spouse/partner and/or another child of the parent).
  • Provide police clearances for any country they have spent more than 12 months cumulatively in during the past 10 years.

Further Obligations of the Sponsor

  • The sponsor obligations are relatively onerous, and include:
  • Paying outstanding public health debts – ie Medicare – incurred by their parent in Australia. The obligation ceases if the relevant health authority advises the debt has been repaid, or acceptable repayment arrangements have been made.   This obligation will continue if there are outstanding health debts, even after the parent who incurred them has departed Australia. It remains to be seen whether this obligation extends to parents who are from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA), such as the UK.
  • Keeping records and providing them to the Department if asked. For example evidence of income. This obligation ends two years after the day the person ceases to be a sponsor.
  • Advising the Department when certain events occur. For example, if the sponsor is charged with a crime. This obligation ends the day after the person ceases to be a sponsor.
  • Providing financial support and accommodation for the parent/s in Australia, if needed.
  • Visa applicants will need to meet health and character requirements, and maintain suitable private health insurance for the duration of the stay in Australia.
  • The balance of family test that pertains to the other parent visas does not apply for this new temporary sponsored parent visa, opening up opportunities for an extended period of stay in Australia for parents who have been limited to visitor visas in the past.

Devil in the Detail

We highlight the following:

  • The sponsor requires a minimum household taxable income threshold of $83,454.80.   This requirement could disqualify many families from this visa pathway.
  • The requirement for the sponsor to have been usually resident in Australia for at least 4 years.   This should be compared with the “settled sponsor” requirement that attaches to the generality of parent visa pathways.
  • The open commitment on the part of the sponsor to reimburse Medicare costs incurred by a parent. Clearly, this could be a significant burden financially and emotionally on a family, at a time when a parent might be very unwell.

Our Comments

With the processing time for even the quickest parent visa applications now extending towards 5 years or more, this new visa pathway will be of interest to many, particularly applicants for the subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa.

 

We know of many applicants for 143 visas who are experiencing practical and emotional difficulty with the present 12 months in 18 months limitation attaching to visitor visas, which is not helped because actual processing times are significantly longer than was published on the Department’s website at the time the visa application was lodged.

 

This visa will also be of interest to parents/families who are not yet in a position to apply for a permanent residency visa – e.g because the balance of family test is not yet satisfied, but a child of the intending temporary parent visa applicant has an application for permanent residency in the system.

 

For example, consider a parent with three children: one is in Australia as a permanent resident, the second is in Australia with a provisional partner visa, and the third is overseas.

 

The second child can reasonably anticipate permanent residency within the next year or two, at which time a permanent parent visa pathway will be available for the parent.

 

Some parents who are within a year or two of being “aged” (as defined) might choose to apply for this new visa rather than a subclass 143 Contributory Parent visa and then apply for an onshore parent visa under subclass 804 or 864 at which point they will be granted a Bridging Visa.

 

Such a strategy should allow for costs to be mitigated, as only one temporary sponsored parent visa with a 3-year validity might be needed, rather than a 5 year or repeat temporary visa applications being required if a subclass 143 visa application is submitted that takes 5 or more years to process to a decision.

 

Caution is required for parents who do not have a permanent residency visa in prospect, given the stated 10 year limit on staying in Australia using subclass 870 visas – we foresee family heartache in years to come for those in this situation.

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