Mainstream family visas have always included parents, children and partners who can be sponsored by Australian citizens or permanent residents in certain circumstances. There have also been visas to cater for compassionate circumstances, such as where a relative was required to come to Australia to care for an elderly family member. But family and parent options are now set to shrink even further.
Once these changes take effect, the only options for sponsoring parents in the future will be the Contributory Parent subclasses, affectionately known to us as the “fast, expensive” Parent visa. Contributory Parents pay visa application charges of close to $50,000 per person and there is also a 10 year Bond of $10,000 for the main applicants.
Contributory Parents will still need to meet the ‘Balance of Family’ test which requires them to show that at least half of their children are permanent residents or citizens of Australia, as well as meeting the health and character requirements that apply to most permanent visas. However it appears that the current options for a ‘non-contributory’ parent visa (what we call the “cheap, slow” Parent visa because it takes 15 years or more to process) will no longer be available. Even with the extraordinarily slow processing, this has been an attractive option for parents of more modest means who could not afford the contributory option.
“Remaining Relative” has also been a great compassionate option where a relative finds themselves the last family member not in Australia. It avoided the situation where a whole family had migrated, but one family member was effectively ‘orphaned’ overseas, unable to meet the requirements of any other visa. That visa subclass will also be closed to new applicants following the changes.
Partners and children will still be able to join their families in Australia, as long as they meet the strict requirements. But for other family members, things are about to get a whole lot harder. It remains to be seen as to whether any of these visa subclasses will be replaced and we can only hope to see new alternatives for families who wish to join their loved ones to live in Australia.
Applicants who have already lodged their visa applications (and those who are able to lodge before the cutoff) will apparently have their applications processed. But other families will be out of luck.
If you wish to lodge a visa from one of these ceasing categories, we recommend that you do so immediately. We have a great team of Registered Migration Agents who can provide you with prompt, professional assistance. Contact us for more information.