Australia’s new ‘parent visa’ and how migrants see it

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New visa subclass 870 allows parents of Australian permanent residents or citizens to live in Australia for a continuous period of 3 or 5 years. After this 5 year period, there will be a single opportunity to renew the visa for a further 5 years.  The application process for sponsoring children opened in April 2019 and parents may lodge applications from the beginning of July.

However, while the uninterrupted period of the visit is longer than previously permitted, the visa is more restrictive in other ways.

Basic outline

The cost per person of this new parent visa is $5,000 for a 3 year visa, $10,000 for the 5 year visa and a further $10,000 for the 5 year extension.

There will be 15,000 places available each year under this visa category. When the cap is reached, no further subclass 870 visas will be granted until the next year beginning on 1 July. The waiting time is generally shorter than that for the existing subclasses of parent visas. Furthermore, parents do not have to meet the traditional balance of family test in order to be eligible.

This is a temporary visa. It does not lead toward permanent residency; it carries no work privileges, and it may be renewed only once. At the end of the 5 year extension, the sponsored parent must depart from Australia unless eligible for another kind of visa.

Sponsorship requirements

The two-step application process begins with the child’s application to be a sponsor. Sponsors must be Australian citizens, permanent residents or eligible New Zealand citizens who have been primarily a resident in Australia for a minimum of 4 years prior to lodgment of the sponsorship application. The sponsor must be the biological or adoptive child or the stepchild of the parent to be sponsored.

Furthermore, the sponsor must be prepared to act as the financial guarantor for the time their parents remain in Australia. In 2019, the minimum household income to meet this requirement is $83,454.80. The sponsoring child will be legally responsible for any debts to taxpayers as a result of any medical emergencies. They must also provide accommodation.

Children may sponsor only two parents per household at a time. The sponsorship application fee is an additional $420.

Parent requirements

Apart from the relationship requirement, parents must provide evidence that they have access to funds and that they have Australian health insurance. They must be outside Australia at the time they apply for the visa. The parent, like the sponsoring child, must also have no outstanding public health debt and generally provide evidence of good character, health and must pass police and national security clearances.

Other options

Parents may still be able to apply for permanent parent visas or visitor visas if those options would be more appropriate.  The most important step is to work with an expert immigration attorney, who can evaluate all available choices.

If you have questions about Australia’s new “parent visa,” the migration attorneys at Owen Hodge Lawyers would be happy to speak with you. Please call us at 1800 770 780 to schedule a consultation.

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