Reuniting Families – A New (Not So New) Temporary Sponsored Parent visa for Parents and Grandparents
Following the Senate passing the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Bill 2016 which includes provisions to introduce the new visa that will allow parents to visit their families in Australia for a continuous period of up to five years. The Bill was originally presented to Parliament in 2017 but it is just now that it has moved though both Houses of Parliament.
However, the new Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the new visa demonstrates the Government’s commitment to migrant communities.
“This new visa will help families reunite and spend time together,” Mr Coleman said. “It will provide a new pathway for parents and grandparents to visit their families in Australia, which will deliver great social benefits to the Australian community.
The positive aspect of the Temporary Sponsored Parent visa will be that it seeks to assist families to reunite while ensuring that taxpayers are not required to cover additional costs.
Measures have been put in place to strengthen the visa framework requiring Australian sponsors to act as a financial guarantor for any outstanding public health costs incurred by the visa holder whilst in Australia.
“This new visa will ensure family reunions are possible for many migrant families across Australia, while protecting taxpayers with strict guidelines to ensure all public health debts including hospital and aged care fees are recovered by the Australian Government,” Mr Coleman said.
The Minister has indicated the start day for applications will be some time in the ‘the first half of 2019’. Hopefully the Department can deliver on the Minister’s expectation and we will be in a position to help applicants reunite with family in Australia.
On 5th of May 2017 the then Minister for Home Affairs/Migration announced a new visa under family migration programme – a temporary sponsored visa of 5 years for parents. This new visa was to be included in family migration programme for the migration year 2017-2018 but that didn’t happen.
This is viewed as a smart decision by the industry experts as it lets the parents of the migrants stay for a considerably long time with their children in Australia sans mounting the health care expenses on Australian government’s healthcare system.
This new visa lets the parents be with their Australian migrated children and their families for up to 5 years. This visa does not replace the old parent visas that are already in function. Since the waiting time for parents’ visas for permanent residency in Australia takes lots of time, this new long-stay visa helps address this concern. It is also seen as a programme that strengthens the cultural and familial ties and contributes to overall community benefit.
To sponsor this visa the applicant parents’ children must be either an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen. The English language eligibility test is not mandatory for this visa nor the Balance of Family test (check with our immigration experts for the details).
How is new temporary sponsored parent visa is different from the current parent visa?
The differing points are: The sponsor and the applicant parents must go through an array of assessment criteria. And both must get assessed separately to be able to apply for temporary sponsored parent visa and get approved. The new visa requires the pre-approval of the sponsor.
The applicant parents can stay for 3 or 5 years in Australia depending on their visa validity once approved. However, the maximum years of stay the applicants get are 10 years even if they are allowed to apply for the new visa multiple times.
Eligibility Criteria for Applicants:
- The child who is sponsoring the parents must get approved as a sponsor.
- The parents applying for this visa must be either biological, adoptive or step-parents.
- If a stepparent is applying for this long-stay parents visa, he/she should be either married or in a de-facto relationship with the biological parent of the sponsoring child.
- Only 2 people / one set of parents can be sponsored at a time from a household to this visa.
- The applicant parents must meet health and character requirements.
- The applicant parents must not have any debt on the public health system in Australia.
- They must have a health insurance covered for their stay during Australia provided by an Australian insurance provider – NOTE: This is going to run somewhere around $2500-$3500 a year as an estimate as the visa is going to fall under the ‘visitor scheme’ for insurance purposes rather than a work stream.
Charges and bonds:
- There is no requirement of a financial bond for this new visa.
- The visa application charges are AUD 5,000 for 3 years visa and AUD 10,000 for 5 years visa.
What this visa provides the parents with:
The parents of the Australian migrant child who are on this visa cannot undertake professional employment in Australia. However, they can undertake voluntary community services. They can also study short-term course that is informal in nature. But for long term full-time courses, they must get a student visa.
Since the child sponsoring his/her parents must be approved first to be able to sponsor, let’s see what are the assessment criteria for being a sponsor.
- Be an eligible New Zealand citizen, or an Australian citizen, or an Australian permanent resident.
- The sponsor must be 18 and above years of age.
- The sponsor must have lived in Australia for at least 4 years.
- Must meet the character and household income requirements.
- The sponsor must be either a biological, adopted or stepchild of any one the applicant parents.
- The sponsor must provide valid identity proofs of the applicant parents.
- As a sponsor, you should agree to be legally liable for the debts incurred for the purpose of accessing public health services.
- The sponsor must agree by signing any other relevant documents stating personal responsibility of the applicants.
- If you are planning to bring your parents to Australia to stay with you and enjoy the company of their children and grandchildren for a considerable time,
P.S: This visa is not yet implemented. It requires being passed through Migration Amendment Bill 2016 in the Parliament. This new long-stay parent visa will be discussed by the Senate in the winter sessions and likely to be implemented at the end of 2017.