Parent Visas – Understand your visa options to reunite your family in Australia

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Migrating to Australia is an exciting prospect for many young people. Perhaps you studied in Australia and decided you wanted to stay. You may have developed your skills overseas and then moved to Australia for the job opportunities and lifestyle. Maybe you married an Australian and left your own family to start a new life. Now that you are settled, you may have started a family of your own.

You have realised that there is something else that would make your life complete; you miss the familiarity, love and support that only your parents can provide. You would like your parents to share in the freedoms and opportunities you have and see your children grow up in Australia.

Many people are aware that parent visas exist, but think they are too expensive for you or your parents to afford. There are a number of options for parents to migrate to Australia and some of those options are quite affordable. Depending on your circumstances, your parents may be able to apply for a parent visa from inside (onshore) or outside (offshore) Australia. There are six parent visa subclasses that allow parents to migrate to Australia.

Additionally, there are also a number of Visitor Visas that may allow your parents to be granted visas with validity periods of up to 12 months, 3 years or 5 years. These long-stay visitor visas can be useful for parents who have applied for parent visas with longer waiting periods or just visit Australia regularly.

In this article, I will provide you an overview of the Offshore Parent Visa subclasses and basic criteria. In the next few articles, I will explain Onshore Parent Visa subclasses and expand on important requirements, including Sponsorship, Balance of Family Test, Assurance of Support and the “Settled” requirement. I will also explain long-stay visitor visas to help you fully understand your options for your parents to join you in Australia.

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).

If your parents meet the basic criteria, they may wish to make an application for a parent visa.

Offshore Parent Visa – Contributory Permanent (Subclass 143)

The Contributory Parent Visa is the fastest way for your parents to migrate to Australia. Whilst this is the most expensive option, waiting times are generally less than 2 years.

This visa allows your parents to migrate to Australia permanently. They will be able to work and have access to Medicare and welfare (after a lengthy waiting period).

There is no age limit to apply for this visa.

Real-life scenario: A client had sent both children to study at University in Australia. The children had become skilled and are now permanent residents of Australia. Whilst the children are still relatively young, their parents apply for a parent visa and can live and work in Australia with their children for the rest of their lives if they choose.

Offshore Parent Visa – Contributory Temporary (Subclass 173)

The Contributory (Temporary) Parent visa is also a fast way for your parents to move to 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 143 visa (the permanent stage).

The benefits of applying for a temporary subclass 173 rather than directly for the subclass 143 are three-fold:

  • Approximately half the application fee is required before the visa is decided.
  • Parents can then apply for the permanent stage (subclass 143) 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 intended to apply for the subclass 143; however, his savings had been depleted as a result of the Global Financial Crisis and he no longer had the money he needed to pay his secondary (contributory) application fee. He thought he would not be able to come to Australia to join his children. We swapped him over to the subclass 173 and he came to Australia, worked and saved the required fee. He is now living in Australia permanently and eligible for Australian citizenship.

Offshore Parent Visa – Non-Contributory (Subclass 103)

This is a long term but relatively affordable way for your parents to migrate to Australia. The waiting times are long, approximately 14 years at present. However, once the initial visa application fee is paid, no additional contributions are required (other than a refundable Assurance of Support). 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 or have a longer term plan for their parents to join them in Australia.

Real-life scenario: A client had two children in Australia who had studied, became skilled and then got employed in Australia. The parents applied for the subclass 103 visa. After a period, the children left Australia for a few years to spend some time in their country of origin with their parents and other family members. The children will return to Australia (to meet the “settled” requirement at time of decision also), continue their lives in Australia, and later once the subclass 103 visa has been granted, their parents will join them.

Whilst the parents are waiting for their subclass 103 visa to be granted, they may want to apply for a long-stay visitor visa to visit their children.

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 the above has given you an insight into your offshore parent visa options. Ensure you save my blog as a favourite and stay tuned for my next article, which will provide you an overview of onshore parent visa options. It is possible in some “onshore” cases to exploit visa loopholes and get the best of both worlds. Stay tuned!

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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