The Parent visa is for parents who wish to migrate to Australia to be with their children. The application must be sponsored by one of their children and the child must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident who is settled in Australia. To be deemed 'settled' an Australian permanent resident must have been residing in Australia for at least 2 years prior to lodgement of the Parent visa application. An Australian citizen must have been residing in Australia for at least 3 months prior to lodgement.
To be eligible to apply for any of the parent visas the applicants must meet what is called the 'Balance of Family' (BOF) test. This means the applicants must have:
- at least half of their children living in Australia as permanent residents or Australian Citizens, or
- more children living in Australia as permanent residents or Australian Citizens than in any other single country overseas
Children of both parents are counted in the test, including any children of previous relationships of either parent.
Parents may apply for an Aged Parent visa in Australia (onshore) only if one parent is old enough to be granted an Australian age pension. This is 64.5 years of age for women (depending on date of birth) and 65 for men. If neither parent is old enough, the application must be lodged offshore.
All applicants applying for parent visas require an Assurance of Support (AoS). An AoS is a legal commitment by the assurer to repay the Commonwealth of Australia any benefits paid to those applicants covered by the assurance. This is for a set period after the applicants migrate from overseas or are granted permanent residence in Australia. However, an AoS bond is only payable for adult applicants.
There is also a second Visa Application Charge (VAC) payable for all Parent visa applications. This is in addition to the initial lodgement fee and is paid before grant of a visa.
The Parent visa classes are subject to capping, which means that a limited number of them can be approved per financial year. Once all the legal requirements for the grant of a Parent visa are met, if there are no places available for grant then applications are placed in a queue.
There are two different pathways for parent migration. The "slow, cheap" visa and the "fast, expensive" one.
STANDARD PARENT VISA CATEGORY
This is this “slow cheap” visa and incurs a lower second VAC. As of 1 July 2013, the second VAC is AU$1,795 (each), payable before the visa is granted.
Currently, applications for a Standard Parent visa take around 10-15 years to process from lodgement to queue entry to reaching the top of the queue to decision.
While waiting for an Offshore Parent visa to be processed, the parents can apply for a Visitor visa to visit their children in Australia.
Only onshore applicants are given a Bridging Visa to remain in Australia during processing. Onshore Parent Visa applicants are not eligible for Medicare until grant of the visa (unless reciprocal arrangements apply).
CONTRIBUTORY PARENT VISA CATEGORY
The Contributory Parent visa category has the additional advantage of the ability to apply for a temporary visa first, helping to 'split up' the significant second Visa Application Charge (VAC) fees.
The two payment options for the second VAC are as follows;
- Permanent Visa: - pay an AU$42,220 second Visa Application Charge per person (AU$1,825 for dependents under 18); or
- Temporary Visa: - pay an AU$25,330 second Visa Application Charge per person (AU$1,825 for dependents under 18) which would entitle parents to a two-year temporary residence visa including Medicare access and work rights.
The Assurance of Support bond must be paid before approval of the PERMANENT visa application. This means that if you apply for the temporary visa first you will have more time before you have to pay the bond.
Currently, the applications for a Contributory Parent visa take around 6 to 18 months to process from lodgement to decision (depending on onshore or offshore lodgement).