Parent Visas – Understand your visa options so your family can remain in Australia

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It is true that Australia is a lucky country. With a wealth of opportunity, security, natural beauty and a comfortable lifestyle, it is no wonder so many people want to migrate to Australia. Whether you travelled the world and met an Australian partner with whom to settle down, studied here and decided to stay permanently, or sought out skilled pathways to Australia, you may now be missing a piece of home.

Perhaps your parents have just paid you a visit or may even be in Australia with you now. Did you know that many parents can make an Onshore Parent Visa Application (the expression “onshore” means to be able to apply in Australia). That means your parents could stay in Australia while the visa is processing, even if that takes years. So if you are looking for a way to avoid the queue (in a sense), this could possibly be an option.

In my last article, I discussed offshore parent visas (that is, visas for which you apply while you are outside Australia). In this article, I will explain the Onshore Parent Visa subclasses and basic criteria.

Basic Criteria for all Parent Visas

There are a number of criteria that apply to all parent visas. They are:

  • Parents must have an Australian citizen, Permanent Resident or Eligible New Zealand citizen child “settled” in Australia willing to sponsor them
  • Must meet the “Balance of Family Test”
  • Must be over 18 (there are rare exceptions to this requirement)

Additional Requirements for Parent Visa applications – inside Australia

  • You must be inside Australia at time of application
  • Hold an eligible visa – without a No Further Stay condition (there are rare exceptions to this requirement)
  • The onshore parent visas are also referred to as “Aged” Parent visas. This is a reference to the fact that the main applicant must be 65 years of age or older at the time of application

If your parents meet the basic criteria and additional requirements, they may wish to make an application for a parent visa while they are inside Australia.

Onshore “Aged” Parent – Contributory (Subclass 864)

The Contributory Parent Visa is the fastest way for your parents to stay permanently in Australia. Whilst this is the most expensive option, waiting times are generally less than 2 years. This may sound like a long time, but in parent visa categories, this is actually far quicker than some of the other visas.

Your parents may have the right to work in Australia (in certain circumstances) while they are waiting for their visa to be granted.

This visa allows your parents to stay to Australia permanently. They will be able to work and have access to Medicare and welfare (after a lengthy waiting period). They can stay in Australia while the visa is processing (that is, this visa enables them to have a bridging visa).

Real-life scenario: Clients had made regular visits to their only child and his young family in Australia for many years. Now retired, the couple decided during their most recent visit they would like to stay in Australia. Keen to gain permanent residence as soon as possible, the couple decided to apply for a contributory parent visa. Within 2 years, their visa was granted and in another 2 years they intend to apply for Australian citizenship.

Onshore “Aged” Parent – Temporary (Subclass 884)

The Contributory (Temporary) Parent visa is also a fast way for your parents to stay in Australia. Waiting times are generally less than 2 years. This visa allows parents to stay in Australia for 2 years with the ability to work and access Medicare. Within 2 years, the parents can then apply for the subclass 864 visa (the permanent stage).

The benefits of applying for a temporary subclass 884 rather than directly for the subclass 864 are three-fold.

  • The “contributory” fee is split in two parts, rather than having to pay it all at once
  • Parents can then apply for the permanent stage (subclass 864) at any time within the 2 years and pay the remainder of the fee at that time
  • Parents can test the waters and see if they would actually like to live in Australia without committing to a permanent move

Real-life scenario: A client wanted to stay in Australia with her two children and also wished to gain permanent residence as soon as possible. The client, however, had limited access to retirement investments at the time of application. We lodged a subclass 884 which was granted in 18 months. Within a year, the client’s retirement investments had matured and she had access to additional funds. We then applied for the subclass 864 straight away and she was granted her permanent residence visa within 3 months.

Onshore “Aged” Parent – Non Contributory (Subclass 804)

Whilst this visa has a longer waiting time, most people do not realise that waiting times are much shorter than offshore non-contributory visas. Waiting times are approximately 6 years at present.

The main advantage of applying for this visa is the fact that there is no “contributory” fee. Once the initial visa application fee is paid, no additional contributions are required other than a refundable Assurance of Support. Whilst your parents are waiting for their visa to be approved in Australia, they have work rights (in certain circumstances). Once approved, your parents will have permanent residence as well as access to Medicare and welfare (after a waiting period).

This visa is for people who do not have considerable savings, do not consider permanent residence an urgent need, or would like to save their funds for retirement.

Real-life scenario: A client had one child who had lived most of their life in Australia. While the client was still in good health, she wanted to move to Australia to be with her son and his family. The parents intended to apply for the subclass 864. After an initial assessment, we determined they would be eligible for the subclass 804. The client had no desire to work and decided to apply for the subclass 804, spend the waiting period in Australia, and save the funds that would have been used for the subclass 864 application for her retirement.

Other Parent Visas – Long stay visitor visa (subclass 600)

Another option for parents who wish to visit their family in Australia is a long stay visitor visa. This might be useful for parents who do not wish to migrate or have an offshore non-contributory visa in the queue in Australia. Depending on their circumstances, parents may be eligible for visitor visas which are granted for periods of 5 years, 3 years, 18 months or 12 months. It is important to note that these visas have a condition which restricts the holder of the visa to being in Australia for no more than 12 months out of every 18 months. These visas are granted with multiple entry facilities.

Would you like to know if you qualify for a Parent Visa?

For more information or to check your eligibility to apply for a Parent Visa, you can start the process by taking a free online assessment.

I hope this article has provided you some useful information about your Onshore Parent Visa and Long Stay Visitor Visa options. Ensure you save my blog as a favourite and stay tuned for my next article where I will expand on important Parent Visa requirements, including Sponsorship, Balance of Family Test, Assurance of Support and the “settled” requirement.

I look forward to an opportunity to assist you with your visa application in the future.

Nicole Kirkwood
Migration Advisor
MARN 0962323

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John Bell

Migration Advisor at National Visas
John Bell has been involved in the immigration industry since 2000 and has practiced in Australia as an Australian Registered Migration Agent since 2003. John also worked in the UK as a UK immigration adviser between 2000 and 2002.

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