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The rules for the new Subclass 870 (Sponsored Parent (Temporary)) visa are contained in the Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa and Other Measures) Regulations 2019, to commence on 17 April 2019

The new Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa and Other Measures) Regulations 2019 will commence on 17 April 2019 and its explanatory statement includes the following passages and much more:

 

The Migration Amendment (Temporary Sponsored Parent Visa and Other Measures) Regulations 2019 (the Regulations) amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to:

  • establish a new family sponsorship framework, as provided for by the Migration Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2018, and create a new class of family sponsor called a ‘parent sponsor’;
  • create a new Subclass 870 (Sponsored Parent (Temporary)) visa (a Temporary Sponsored Parent visa) for the parents of Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and eligible New Zealand citizens;
  • create a new defined term, ‘outstanding public health debt’, which relates to debts for medical and aged care expenses, which have been appropriately notified to the Department of Home Affairs:
    • the parent sponsor, their spouse or de facto partner, and their sponsored parent(s) must not have an outstanding public health debt, or they must have made appropriate arrangements to pay any such debt; and
  • clarify requirements for certain temporary visa holders to maintain adequate health insurance in Australia.

 

New family sponsorship framework

The Regulations set up the ‘family sponsorship’ framework and create a new class of sponsor called a ‘parent sponsor’. In particular:

  • A parent sponsor applicant needs to be at least 18 and meet requirements relating to identity, residence, maximum number of persons who can be sponsored, income, character and conduct, debts to the Commonwealth and outstanding public health debts.
  • In order to facilitate the disclosure of information about family violence, the person applying to be a parent sponsor is required to agree that certain information may be disclosed to the sponsored person. 
  • A parent sponsor is required to satisfy obligations relating to the provision of support to the parent, payment of the parent’s outstanding public health debts, and providing relevant information to the Department of Home Affairs (the Department).
  • A sponsorship may be cancelled or barred for a failure to satisfy a sponsorship obligation, where adverse information or a threat to the Australian community becomes known, where the sponsor is liable for an outstanding public health debt and does not pay the debt in full as soon as practicable, where false or misleading information has been provided or where there has been a material change in circumstances. These requirements and obligations aim to protect both the parent and the Australian community while the parent is in Australia.

 

New Temporary Sponsored Parent visa

Key requirements for the Temporary Sponsored Parent visa are that the parent has an approved sponsor, has access to sufficient funds to cover their stay in Australia, has adequate arrangements for health insurance, does not have any outstanding public health debts without appropriate arrangements to pay those debts and meets public interest criteria.

The total visa application charge is $5,000 for a visa of up to three years or $10,000 for a visa of up to five years. The majority of this charge is only payable if the visa is to be granted. A person cannot be granted a Temporary Sponsored Parent visa if they have previously held Temporary Sponsored Parent visas for a total period of 10 years.

 

Adequate arrangements for health insurance

Prior to these amendments, there was no definition of ‘adequate arrangements for health insurance’ in the Act or Regulations.  However, the term ‘adequate arrangements for health insurance’, and variations of that term, are used regularly throughout some parts of the Regulations, as both a visa criterion (meaning the applicant needs to demonstrate that they have adequate arrangements for health insurance before they can be granted the visa) and a visa condition (meaning the person must continue to maintain adequate health insurance while they hold the visa subject to that condition). 

The Regulations create a new definition of ‘adequate arrangements for health insurance’.  In particular:

  • The new definition provides that adequate arrangements for health insurance means health insurance that meets the requirements specified in a legislative instrument or, if no such requirements are specified, that are adequate in the circumstances.
  • Affected visa holders are required to maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia, helping to offset any public health costs which may otherwise be incurred.